Shoreline stabilization project underway at Silver Lake to improve water quality

Work is underway to stabilize the shoreline on the northwest section of Silver Lake, in Dickinson County.

The contractor will close segments of the Trappers Bay State Park roadway as work progresses. Road closures and signage will be adjusted to allow as much public access as possible. Access must be restricted when trees are being removed to ensure the safety of park users. The public is advised to not drive or walk past the road closure signs. 

Silver Lake’s water quality has declined in recent years, in part from an estimated 1,600 pounds of phosphorus that enters the lake each year from shoreline erosion.

“Stabilizing large sections of shoreline that is actively eroding is an important part of the overall restoration strategy for Silver Lake,” said Chris La Rue, wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

About 4,000 feet of Silver Lake’s shoreline was stabilized in 2022. This phase of the project will stabilize 3,500 feet of deteriorated shoreline and remove less desirable underbrush, like honeysuckle, Chinese elm and autumn olive, that do little to prevent erosion. Stable, quality trees, like bur oaks, will remain where possible. The area will be reseeded with native grasses and flowers and covered with a natural erosion netting until the vegetation is established. Riprap will be used to protect against wave-action erosion at the water level.

Protecting the shoreline is an important part of the overall plan to improve the health and water quality of the 1,032-acre natural lake. This plan, developed over the last few years, was largely driven by the community and other partners.

“A lot of credit goes to the Silver Lake Protective Association and the City of Lake Park for their efforts to partner with the Iowa Lake Restoration Program and local funding sources like the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission,” said Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist with Iowa DNR. “This project is only the first in a series of improvements for the lake and its watershed.”

This project will be constructed in two stages. The current stage of removing trees and brush will be completed in March. There will then be a short delay before work begins to repair and armor the shoreline. If the weather cooperates, work on the second phase of the shoreline project is expected to be completed this fall.

Lakeshore owners with erosion concerns on their own property are encouraged to contact the DNR to request a site visit and receive technical advice about protecting their shoreline.

This article is from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources: https://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-News-Releases/ArticleID/4893/Shoreline-stabilization-project-underway-at-Silver-Lake-to-improve-water-quality