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Floodwaters damage Sweet Marsh Wildlife Area

This news story was published on July 29, 2017.
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Floodwaters caused a 60 foot by 40 foot breach in the dike at Martens Lake. Photo by the Iowa DNR.

TRIPOLI, IOWa – Heavy rainfall last weekend in the Wapsipinicon and Plum Creek watersheds in Chickasaw and Bremer counties has caused a 60 foot by 40 foot section of the dike on Martens Lake on the Sweet Marsh Wildlife Management Area to fail. The breach likely occurred during the night of July 23.

The water level on the 255-acre lake is dropping and is nearly two feet below crest. The water level is similar to that when the lake is lowered to manage for vegetation. Flooding caused by the 10-15 inches of rain has made Quail Avenue south of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Office inaccessible and has impacted boat ramps and other infrastructure on the area.

“We’ve lost a lot of water and the lake is currently not boatable,” said Jason Auel, wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR at Sweet Marsh. “We are working with our engineers to find a solution to fix the blowout and are assessing other damage on the area.”

There is no timeline yet for when repairs can be made. Sweet Marsh is a 3,150-acre public hunting area popular with waterfowl hunters.

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