WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — An effort to connect a popular lake in Waterloo to the Cedar River appears to be sunk by Iowa officials who contend the move would hurt recreation opportunities and require costly maintenance.
The state Department of Natural Resources is opposing the proposed channel that would allow watercrafts to move freely between the river and Brinker Lake in George Wyth State Park, The Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier reported.
“Although a formal permit request has not been submitted to the department, they have recently indicated they are not in favor of the project due to potential lake fluctuations due to the connection with the river as well as maintenance and siltation concerns,” said Doug Schindel, an engineer working on the project on behalf of the city of Waterloo.
The city and Waterloo Development Corp., a private nonprofit working on downtown improvements, have been pushing for the lake connection for more than six years.
The department has a number of concerns about the connection, including its impact on the lake levels and channel maintenance, said Nate Hoogeveen, director of river programs for the DNR.
“It would cause the lake levels to fluctuate with the river, leaving the lake very low from mid-summer through fall,” Hoogeveen said. “This is a very popular lake. It is not sensible to ruin it.”
State officials are also concerned that the proposed channel would fill with sediment to the point of being unusable with a one- to two-year frequency, depending on wet or dry years.
“It is completely predictable that this would be a high-maintenance improvement,” Hoogeveen said. “In other words, the state should not focus limited amounts of public money on maintaining such a channel.”
Waterloo isn’t actively pursuing the connection due to the DNR’s concerns, said Noel Anderson, community planning and development director for the city
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com