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The Greenprint

News and updates on projects involving Story County Conservation, and currently focusing on the lake restoration at Hickory Grove Park. 

May 05

Efforts to remove carp continue at Hickory Grove Lake

Posted on May 5, 2020 at 3:38 PM by Erica Place

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Story County Conservation (SCC) plan to start drawing down Hickory Grove Lake near Colo in early May to remove common carp. The lake will remain drained until fall.

In 2019, SCC and the DNR partnered to remove carp from Hickory Grove Lake by draining as much of the lake as possible. “Post draw-down netting suggested that we had successfully eliminated the carp,” said Ben Dodd, Iowa DNR Fisheries biologist. “Unfortunately, we observed several adult fish last week as the lake was refilling. Complete eradication of an undesirable species from a lake and its watershed is a difficult task, but we’re developing a new plan to complete the job.”

Hickory Grove Lake is a popular outdoor recreation destination in Story County, boasting a variety of activities including swimming, paddling, boating, watching wildlife and angling. Water quality in the lake has declined since the early 2000’s, due to nutrient and sediment pollution and a large population of common carp. In recent years, carp have become so abundant in Hickory Grove Lake that they eliminated aquatic plants from the lake. 

Common Carp is an invasive fish species that negatively impacts water quality and sport fish populations in Iowa lakes. They uproot and destroy aquatic plants when they feed. Sediment and nutrients are also resuspended into the water column during this process, which can lead to increased undesirable algae blooms. 

SCC and DNR recently partnered to improve water quality and recreational opportunities at Hickory Grove Lake through a variety of lake restoration practices, including shoreline deepening and armoring, revamping the beach and campground area of the park, dredging the eastern portion of the lake, making improvements to the dam and lake outlet structure, and installing a variety of fish habitat structures in the lake.

All project partners are committed to a successful lake restoration and will continue to strive for the best possible result. We intend to maximize the lake’s social, physical, and economic benefits and know that Hickory Grove Lake will again be a popular recreation destination. We thank residents and visitors for their interest and excitement in this project.

Media Contacts: Ben Dodd, Fisheries Management Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources;; 641-891-3795, or Michael Cox, Director, Story County Conservation;; 515-232-2516.

Jul 08

Quick HGP Update

Posted on July 8, 2019 at 5:06 PM by Erica Place

  • Earthwork around campground continues for jetty construction, boat ramp expansion, and bridge to the island.
  • Fishing jetty construction has begun at the shop hillside. 
  • Sediment removal in East Game (portion of lake East of 680th) is underway. There is a total of 56,000 yards of sediment to be removed from this location. 
  • Lake dewatering is proceeding to lower lake. A 24” pipe has been installed through the dam and will be extended in to the lake bed. Once this is complete the dam will be rebuilt to pre-construction condition.  
  • Secondary Roads is working hard on reopening 680th at the tubes. Large rain events had caused undercutting beneath the road. The road is set to be opened in the next couple of weeks. 
The park (except the campgrounds and Snow Bunting Lodge) remains closed to the public during this active construction period. 

Hickory Grove Aerial
Photo by Nick Lennie 
May 14


Posted on May 14, 2019 at 1:46 PM by Erica Place

The lake restoration is in full swing. We again ask that you respect the construction process and only use the portions of the park that are open to the public: Breezy Bay and Primitive Camping open May 23rd at 5:30 am and Snow Bunting Lodge is available for rental that day as well. The archery range is also open. 

All areas outside of the above locations are CLOSED to the public. This includes the interior park road, lake access, boat ramps, beach area, and shore fishing.

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