The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 3, 2009

Lake Wapello to be drained again

Reappearance of invasive gizzard shad leaves no choice

DRAKESVILLE — The state is starting over with Lake Wapello in another attempt to rid it of gizzard shad.

The shad, an invasive species, damage small to mid-sized lakes because they compete with native fish for food and resources. Mark Flammang, the fisheries biologist for Lake Wapello, said they disrupt the balance in lakes, leading to the collapse of the fisheries anglers depend on.

Ridding Lake Wapello of the shad was a major goal when engineers drained it in 2008, though dam repairs were also a high priority. The state began refilling the lake this spring and had it at about three-quarters full by early last month.

A sampling of the lake on July 7 put a stop to that when it found a new gizzard shad population. The shad were not yet big enough or numerous enough to start crowding out the restocked bass, catfish and crappies. Ignoring the problem would give them that chance, though.

Flammang and others spent most of July working on a new eradication plan. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that it was lowering the water level again.

When the level is low enough, the DNR plans to kill every fish in the lake by applying rotenone. Rotenone is a naturally occurring piscicide commonly used to control invasive species in lakes.

Flamming said there is no choice other than eliminating the gizzard shad if the 270-acre Lake Wapello is to thrive.

“For these smaller lakes to succeed, they have to have a balanced fish population, and at Lake Wapello, that balance does not include gizzard shad,” said Flammang. “It’s disappointing for anyone who enjoys Lake Wapello that we have to drain this lake again, but it is necessary if we want the lake to reach its potential.”

Officials remain unsure how the shad got back into Lake Wapello after the lake was drained and the remaining water treated last year. Surveys showed there were no shad in feeder streams entering the lake or in nearby farm ponds. An investigation into the recurrence of the shad is ongoing.

It is illegal to introduce any live fish to public waters in Iowa.

The DNR plans to restock the lake with channel catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, redear sunfish and crappies once the shad are eliminated.

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at

Text Only
Local News
  • The Art of Kong OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grant helps Hills keep students on track OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

  • Alternate juror could not have convicted Techel based on evidence DAVENPORT — An alternate juror who was dismissed before Seth Techel, 23, of Agency was convicted of killing his wife and the non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy says the verdict could have been different if she had been in deliberations.D

    July 25, 2014

  • Overcome testing fear, get a good job OTTUMWA — It's not who you know, it's what you know. That's what City leaders say about getting a good paying job in Ottumwa. "It seems like in the last year we've had a real reduction in the number of individuals who've applied," said Joni Keith, hu

    July 25, 2014

  • Water Pollution Control Facility gets OK to upgrade OTTUMWA — An emergency Ottumwa City Council meeting resulted in spending $140,583 for the Water Pollution Control Facility. Friday afternoon, council members listened intently as Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Kam Reeves told

    July 25, 2014

Photo reprints