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Big Creek Lake, located near Polk City, was created in 1972 and this year celebrates its 41st birthday. The second annual Big Creek Appreciation Day will be held Saturday, June 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. near the beach. The celebration is free and open to the public.
The watershed appreciation event will have several activities for attendees to visit, including presentations by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about the fishery at the lake, what species of fish live in the lake and how the fish survive, or die, in poor water conditions. Boat tours of the lake will be offered and a fishing clinic with the Central Iowa Anglers will be available, plus more! The Iowa Pork Producers Association will provide pork burgers as part of the free lunch. Visitors will also learn about the progress of the Big Creek Lake Watershed Improvement Project.
The Conservation Station will also be at the event. The Conservation Station is a mobile learning center that travels across the state teaching all Iowans how they can help to improve water quality and keep Iowa’s soils in place—building a Culture of Conservation. 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.
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 experiences 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 over 740,000 visitors each year to the lake. But it cannot sustain good water quality; in 2004 alone, 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 located 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 Sean McCoy, 515-432-2316 ext. 114, or Zach DeYoung, 515-964-1883 ext 3. McCoy and DeYoung are the coordinators of the watershed project. Visit the Big Creek Lake Watershed project website: http://www.bigcreeklake.org.
Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. A goal of Iowa Learning Farms is to build a Culture of Conservation, encouraging the adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Visit the Iowa Learning Farms website for more information: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.
Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.