Lower Gar Culverts Installed None Too Soon!

July 9th, 2011

Photo of the culverts under 230th Ave., Milford. Red arrows point to the two new culverts. Blue arrows indicate the old eliptical culverts. Green arrow indicates the old box culvert. Yellow arrow shows the DNR WEIR

With lake levels extremely high, flooding all over the Midwest and more rain projected for the summer, IGLA can claim a victory that the two additional box culverts are now installed under 230th Avenue east of Milford.

Over the course of the past few years a wide variety of local environmental groups and individuals have diligently advocated for a solution to the blockage of the natural water flow as it flows under 230th Avenue.  In 1993 – as part of a temporary fix – the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) installed one 5 X 12-foot box culvert under 230th avenue to increase the water flow under the road. In 1997 the COE released a study indicating that the existing culverts located under 230th avenue, which occur upstream from the DNR weir, were never meant as a permanent solution and it would not be probable to expect that those culverts would be able to manage water flow in a flood situation.

Last spring IGLA stepped up to the plate and began an extensive advertising campaign to educate the public about the facts concerning the Iowa Great Lakes watershed and it’s natural outlet at the Lower Gar Weir.  During the spring 2010 your association ran four full-page ads in the Dickinson County News and the Lakes News Shopper to explain the problem along with possible solutions and why adding additional culvert capacity under the County road would decrease the risk of flooding and would not drain the lakes.  IGLA also lobbyed at the state level to insure the installation of these culverts.  IGLA is a 501(c)4 Corporation which makes it unique in its ability to lobby at the state and federal government levels on behalf of local environmental issues.

The controversy about how to handle the blockage of water under the county road at the Lower Gar outlet was quickly and quietly resolved last fall.  The addition of these two culverts is now helping to control the high water levels that cause shoreline erosion and damage to docks and hoists.  If the culverts were not there, we may well have been looking at a no-wake ban over 4th of July weekend.  Lake levels are still high but docks and hoists are not underwater as they were in 1993. With the additional rain recieved this morning, July 10th, 2011, and the prediction for this week for more thunderstorms that will include additional rainfall, the completion of these two new box culverts continue to keep up with the Iowa Great Lakes outflow needs.