A meeting is scheduled for this afternoon to discuss planned improvements to a lake that is described as having “some of the poorest water quality in the state.” That’s Iowa DNR wildlife biologist T.J. Herrick’s assessment of Elm Lake in Wright County.
“What we’re dealing with in Elm Lake is just consistent high water levels, high rough fish populations, and high algae blooms and algae concentrations in the water,” Herrick says. The “rough fish” are carp and they’re taking the blame for the lake’s condition.
“The carp keeps the desirable rooted aquatic vegetation out of the lake and the nutrients are then used by the algae, which leads to the very poor water quality,” Herrick says. Elm Lake, located five miles northeast of Clarion, covers 460 acres and has a maximum depth of just eight feet. Herrick believes removing a lot of the carp will improve its water quality. He cites a nearby water body, Rice Lake, as a successful example of a shallow lake restoration.
Herrick says Rice Lake, at one time, had water quality and clarity problems similar to those at Elm Lake. “Clarity, especially, was very poor in Rice Lake. We would measure that in inches every year…but, just a month or so ago, Rice Lake had water clarity of over seven feet,” Herrick says.
The Iowa DNR has been working to improve shallow lakes around the state for the past decade. Today’s “informal” meeting is scheduled 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Wright County Conservation Board shelter on the north end of Lake Cornelia.