NEW LONDON ? On Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1:30 p.m., the Dover Museum will host Caleb Waters as he presents the present the past and the future of the Lake Geode watershed project. Waters is the Lake Geode Watershed Coordinator and fits the role in a unique way. Waters graduated from Mt. Pleasant Community High School and has lived and farmed with his father in Henry County all his life. 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 greatly contributed to the success of the Watershed project. The goals of the project are to improve the overall water quality 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.
The DNR has estimated that Lake Geode State Park attracts approximately 180,000 visitors annually. Camping, hiking, fishing and boating in the lake are favorite pastimes. The lake and park was placed on the 303d impaired waters list. Without playing alphabet soup, the 303d impaired waters list is an Environmental Protection Agency requirement. This list determines the severity of the pollution of a body of water and a plan is then developed to return the water quality is restored. Swimming became unsafe and the aquatic life community declined severely. The size of the lake was even reduced significantly.
Caleb 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, recreational opportunities and new trail construction. Additionally the DNR rangers within Geode work with Caleb to help curb the severe gully erosion at the lakeside. The campground will be modernized to meet the standards of today?s campers. An exciting addition to the lake will be jetties built so more people to have the opportunity to fish. In the past the topology of the lake edges has made it difficult for people to fish from shore.
For fun, Caleb is bringing his water table. A little known part of his job is helping educate students about watersheds, pollution and appropriate conservation practices. Parents, grandparents and adults will be invited to participate (maybe even get a bit damp) as they learn what students do in science class these days.