DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking boaters to use caution this summer in oxbow lakes adjacent to the Missouri River.
The DNR said that water levels in the lakes are lower than normal due to consecutive years of abnormally dry conditions as well as historic low flows in the Missouri River. Officials said that access to the lake could be compromised.
Affected lakes include Blue Lake in Monona County, DeSoto Bend in Harrison County, Snyder Bend and Browns Lake in Woodbury County, and many other smaller lakes along the Interstate 29 corridor.
Specifically, the DNR said that Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County is a popular boating lake, and it is three feet below crest. Lake Manawa is faring better since it can divert water from a nearby creek, but even its water level has been down between one and two feet all spring.
“These oxbow lakes have a hydrologic connection with the Missouri River,” explains Bryan Hayes, Iowa DNR fisheries biologist. “There is a lag time between when river levels are restored and water levels in these oxbow lakes.”
Hayes added that it will be difficult to predict when water levels will return to normal.