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Lake Ahquabi to undergo draining for a two-year renovation project

<i>KCCI</i><br/>While a set date hasn't been announced for when the draining will begin
While a set date hasn't been announced for when the draining will begin

By Kayla James

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    INDIANOLA, Iowa (KCCI) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is preparing to drain Lake Aqhuabi as part of a renovation project the state park will undergo.

While a set date hasn’t been announced for when the draining will begin, the Iowa DNR’s restoration coordinator George Antoniou says it will begin in the coming weeks. Draining the lake will take several weeks.

The plan is to start refilling the lake by spring of 2023.

“It’s going to be worth it. I can’t wait to see it,” said Chandal Bos, who lives in Des Moines but drives to Lake Aqhuabi every week during the summer.

Bos spends weekends kayaking on the lake with two of her good friends.

The trio have gone out on the lake so often, they know where to go and where to avoid.

“When we get back in the cove, it’s very shallow back there,” explained Bos.

Shallow areas are something that could be fixed by the Iowa DNR’s plan.

“We’re hoping to turn a lot of that 5-6 feet of water into more 10-12 feet of water,” explained George Antoniou.

It’s only one of several improvements the DNR says will come from draining the lake.

It could also help get a handle on algae blooms by deepening certain areas, limiting where some pondweed impacts algae growth.

“Hopefully that then will also play into decreasing those algae blooms,” said Antoniou.

The DNR also plans on getting rid of gizzard shad fish. Antoniou said they can impact the traditional kind of sport fisheries.

The plan is to restock the lake with bluegills, crappie and bass fish.

Fishers tell KCCI their only concern is it could take years to reel in big fish once the lake is refilled.

The $6 million to $8 million investment will also renovate some camping, lodging and shelter areas. The plan will also improve roadways throughout the state park to better handle recreational vehicles.

Antoniou said despite the lake being drained for a good amount of time, other areas of the park will remain open and will be ready for use.

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