Dredging Clear Lake - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Dredging Clear Lake

VENTURA, IA (FOX 47) -- It's the largest lake dredging project Iowa has ever seen, and it only took roughly 10 years to get to this point. Workers will finally begin dredging Clear Lake this week.

Many residents of Clear Lake and Ventura have wanted to see the west end of Clear Lake dredged for many years, 10 officially. This week, those people are finally seeing their long-time lobbying efforts realized.

"Oh, it feels great," exclaimed Randy Cram, the former President of the Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake. "I mean, you know, we had a lot of milestones that we never thought we would accomplish."

Like raising enough money for the project. Cram said the organization raised money and support to launch the state's largest dredging project.

"Within about a year, we raised over a million dollars privately to secure the property and get the project going," said Cram. "And I would say there were over 500 people that donated to the project."

Clear Lake donated $2 million, Ventura gave $200,000, and much more came from the state to end up with more than $9 million dollars for the project.

Supporters hope that they can turn these murky waters into a deeper and clearer lake. Right now, Clear Lake has a clarity of about 1 foot. But in a few years, because of the dredging, the project manager says, they hope to have 3 to 4 feet of clarity."

"The containing site where the sediment will be stored is 160 acres and it will have 10 to 12 foot worth of sediment on that 160 acres," explained the project coordinator, David Knoll.

Those who enjoy the lake are waiting to see the effects. Gary Whitehurst says he grew up here and he's never seen anything but a cloudy lake.

"Hopefully, we'll get better fishing over here because of the depth, you know. Because it's pretty shallow out here. I have an idea that you could probably walk across it now."

Project coordinator David Knoll says the barge will be out on the lake until the water freezes, then again in the spring. And supporters say that's just fine, as long the lake finally gets dredged.

David Knoll says residents shouldn't expect to see a clearer lake by next summer, though. It will take a couple of years before people will see the end result.

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