WEST OKOBOJI, Iowa (KCAU) – Because of Iowa’s ongoing drought, officials said the Iowa Great Lakes are experiencing low water levels. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said water levels are down by as much as two feet at the Iowa Great Lakes.
DNR officials said that low water levels have caused problems loading and unloading boats because folks have to back up farther on the boat ramps, which puts them in danger of dropping off the concrete ramp altogether.
Conservation officer Joe Yarkosky says that may result in accidents.
“It could cause damage, primarily to the axles of the trailers. So they’ll drop off and then, if you try to pull that trailer back up onto the ramp, you could damage the axles, some of the suspension, as well as the trailer,” Yarkosky said.
Tyler Heck is a frequent boater and said he’s noticed a difference at Lake Okoboji with the ongoing drought.
“It is more difficult due to the low waters that it is harder to load and unload the boats. You know, the smaller the boats, the easier it is but the bigger the boats, the harder it is,” said Heck.
However, Yarkosky said boaters aren’t only affected by the current lake conditions.
“We’ve had algae booms in the area. People do see fish kills, you know, a lot other lakes with warm temperature, shallow water as well too. Lack of oxygen could cause that,” Yarkosky said.
Yarkosky adds that visitors should know lake conditions ahead of time.
“We always want to tell boaters, even when the water is normal too is safety is the number one most important thing. Having a plan of where you’re going to go, where you’re going to, you know, how to get there too and be familiar with the area as well too,” says Yarkosky.