Watershed coordinator presenting Lake Geode program

NEW LONDON ? Lake Geode Watershed Coordinator Caleb Waters will present the past, present and future of the watershed project at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Dover Museum in New London.

Waters has lived and farmed with his father in Henry County all his life and graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School. After majoring in agriculture and natural resources at Indian Hills Community College, he transferred to Upper Iowa University in Fayette where he completed a degree in conservation management. His practical experience in farming, plus his conservation studies, have contributed to the success of the watershed project.

The goals of the watershed project are: Improve the overall water quality and to restore the lake?s health to make it enjoyable for recreational purposes; and reduce the bacteria and phosphorus levels as well as remove the sediment.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Lake Geode State Park attracts approximately 180,000 visitors annually. Camping, hiking, fishing and boating in the lake are favorite pastimes. Swimming became unsafe, the aquatic life community declined severely, and the the lake size was reduced significantly. The lake and park were placed on the 303d impaired waters list. The list determines the severity of the pollution of a body of water and a plan is then developed to restore the water quality.

Waters will tell about his work with landowners to reduce nutrient and sediment input to the lake as well as the number of projects underway to improve wildlife and recreational opportunities. New trails will be constructed. The campground will be modernized to meet the standards of today?s campers. Jetties will be built so more people can fish; in the past, the topology of the lake edges has made it difficult for people to fish from shore. Additionally, DNR rangers within Geode will work with Waters to help curb the severe gully erosion at the lakeside.

Waters is bringing his water table, which helps educate students about watersheds, pollution and appropriate conservation practices. Parents, grandparents and adults will be invited to participate as they learn what students do in science class these days.