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DES MOINES - Waterfowl hunters planning to head to Lake Red Rock this fall take note: a construction project at Elk Rock State Park, delayed by the flood of 2008, will require the lake to be kept at conservation pool, possibly into late October.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the water level at Lake Red Rock at conservation pool to allow a nearly $600,000 boat ramp to be installed. The work should last six to eight weeks, depending upon the weather. The ramp is being paid for by a federal grant that will be lost if the project is not completed by this fall.

The new ramp may be the largest boat ramp the DNR has built in the state. The ramp consists of two sections measuring 36 feet by 45 feet that will be poured on shore then must be pushed into place in the lake. Once work on the boat ramp is completed, the contractor will install some riprap then the lake level will begin to rise.

Flooding not only delayed the ramp construction, but also impacted vegetation and other habitat used by waterfowl and waterfowl hunters. The high water prevented the annual seeding of the mudflats in June that provides vegetation attractive to waterfowl in the fall. Once the ramp project is completed, the DNR plans to raise the lake level four feet instead of the normal two feet to flood additional acres for hunters to access.

"The bottom line is that we stand to loose the $600,000 for the boat ramp if it is not completed during this fiscal year," said Dale Garner, chief of the DNR's wildlife bureau. "And considering the poor habitat conditions at Red Rock, which is the result of this years flooding, our decision quickly favored the boat ramp project. We will do everything we can to complete this project quickly so that reservoir water levels can be raised later this fall."
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