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Big Creek Lake celebration set Saturday

By Staff | May 31, 2012

AMES – A 40th anniversary celebration of Big Creek State Park, near Polk City, and the wildlife management area, will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday.

The celebration includes learning stations, a complimentary lunch and the Conservation Station.

The watershed appreciation event has several stations for attendees to visit, including a Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist, who will talk about the status of the fishery at the lake and how fish survive, or die, in poor water conditions; a DNR wildlife bureau spokesman to discuss grassland and prairie management that has been taking place within the watershed over the last three years; and a DNR parks and recreation representative to answer questions.

Tentative events include a boat tour of the lake and a fishing clinic. Lunch is provided by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa Learning Farms.

The Conservation Station is a mobile learning center that travels across the state teaching Iowans how they can help to improve water quality and keep Iowa’s soils in place. Visitors to the Conservation Station can learn why Iowa’s water and soils are precious and how to help preserve these natural resources for future generations.

The Conservation Station’s rainfall simulator demonstrates the effects of rainfall on different land surfaces. Water runoff and subsurface drainage are collected in clear jars to show what is coming off the various soil scenarios including heavily tilled soil, minimum tillage and pervious pavement.

Also, the Big Creek Ducks Unlimited Green Wing Party will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be at the Cadet Shelter in Big Creek State Park. DU’s Green Wings are for children up to 17 years old who are interested in hunting and maintaining the duck population in Iowa and the U.S.

For more information about this event, contact Chad Sparks, 515-707-2565.

The Big Creek Lake Watershed Project is underway with the goal of improving water quality going into the lake and surrounding areas.

The lake has experienced high bacteria levels, algae blooms and high sedimentation.

The long-term project includes 20 years of improvement within the watershed. Big Creek Lake is an Iowa attraction, bringing an average of more than 740,000 visitors each year to the lake. But it cannot sustain good water quality since, in 2004, there were 11 separate beach warnings of high bacteria levels.

The project works with all who live within the watershed including home and landowners, farmers, beach-goers and lake users.

Big Creek State Park is at 8794 NW 125th Ave., Polk City.

The celebration will be near the beach area. For more information about the event or the Big Creek Lake Watershed, contact coordinators Sean McCoy at (515) 432-2316 ext. 114, or Zach DeYoung at (515) 964-1883, ext 3.

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