Environmental officials have labeled a lake shared by Iowa and Nebraska an “impaired” body of water, but the Carter Lake Environmental Assessment and Rehabilitation Water Council is hoping to change that. Council member Mark Eibes says they’ve been meeting with officials from both Iowa and Nebraska.
They’re coming up with a list of priorities important to people who use the lake, according to Eibes, plus they’ve trying to come up with remedies to fix the problems so the lake will become a “great recreational spot.” The lake, which sits near the Omaha airport, has high levels of bacteria and an overabundance of algae.
Eibes says runoff from the 2,000 acres that drain into the lake contains too many chemicals. Officials are also considering speed restrictions for boats on the lake. “Right now the lake is fully open to all kinds of skiing activities…and because it’s such a shallow lake, the propellers tend to stir up a lot of the sediment on the bottom of the lake…which makes it a very dirty lake and gets some of the chemicals going,” Eibes says.
In addition, Eibes says the predominant type of fish in the lake is mainly a bottom-feeder that stirs up sediment, too, so they hope to stock other kinds of fish, even game fish that would make the lake more attractive for fishing. “The whole idea is to try to make the lake as usable for as many people as possible,” Eibes says.
Tonight, Eibes and the rest of the council will hold an open house to discuss options for Carter Lake.
“It’s a unique lake because there aren’t really a lot of cities that have an urban lake that offers so many kinds of recreation,” Eibes says. “…We want to preserve as much of that as possible.” About 80% of Carter Lake, the lake, is in Nebraska. Twenty percent is in Iowa. The city of Carter Lake is the only town in Iowa located west of the Missouri River.