State officials have drafted a list of ways to improve the water quality in a north central Iowa lake plagued with high levels of algae and a meeting near Hampton next week will let the public react to the plan.

Jeff Berckes of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a previous plan for the area addressed high levels of e-coli in Beed’s Lake, but a group called “Friends of Beed’s Lake” asked the DNR to address the algae problem, too.

“We’ve been looking at that for the past couple of years and we’re ready to come out with our findings and help the group move forward,” Berckes says.

Beed’s Lake State Park, about three miles outside of the city of Hampton, opened in 1934. Some of its facilities were built during the Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps, but the lake was first created in the middle of the 19th century when a dam was built on Spring Creek to operate a sawmill. Beed’s Lake is currently on the list of “impaired waters” in Iowa.

“And so it’s serious enough for us to come in and spend our time figuring out how we can improve it,” Berckes says.

The DNR’s report indicates the high levels of algae in Beed’s Lake are caused by too much phosphorus.

“There’s always a real economic consequence of poor water quality,” Berckes says. “The people that want to go out and recreate — that fish or boat — you know algae problems can impact the enjoyment of recreation or sometimes make it impossible and so there’s a real economic interest to making sure that our water quality is good and gets people out on the lakes and enjoying the outdoors.”

Algae thrive on a diet of phosphorus and critics say the culprit is farm fertilizer and liquid manure spread on fields around the lake. Department of Natural Resources officials will unveil their plan to improve the watershed around Beed’s Lake at a public meeting the evening of August 29 at the Maynes Grove Lodge in a county conservation area south of Hampton. Public comments will be accepted in writing through September 16th, then a final draft of the DNR’s plan for Beed’s Lake will be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

(Reporting by KQWC’s Pat Powers; additional reporting & editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)