Contractor back on site for Otter Creek Lake Restoration project

Oxbow Bottoms Wildlife Area opens to public

The newly opened Oxbow Bottoms Wildlife Area located near Montour on the north side of US 30 pictured recently. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAMA COUNTY CONSERVATION

While the matter of the Otter Creek Lake Restoration project has been ‘old business’ for the Tama County Board of Conservation for some time now, with contactor Rachel Construction finally back on-site in the park as of last week, that old business has become welcome news.

“As you saw coming in, Rachel Construction is finally here,” Tama Co. Conservation Director Stephen Mayne told conservation board members during the October monthly meeting held on Wednesday, October 12 at the park’s nature center.

Mayne said so far the contractors have been mowing around the perimeter of the lake and in the lakebed – which has sprouted a healthy forest of weeds and brush – as well as bulldozing for spoil (sediment) sites near the park entrance.

More equipment is scheduled to arrive this week as well, Mayne said, before sharing that the final Tama County payment had been recently paid to the Iowa DNR for the restoration project.

The project’s preconstruction meeting is set for Tuesday, October 24.

Previous Telegraph reporting last month detailed the steps involved in the lake restoration project’s final phase including installing temporary erosion control, clearing trees and brush, and preparing spoil pile areas during the next several weeks.

The majority of the lake’s dredging is still set to take place in early to mid-December, followed by shoreline restoration including jetties and fish habitat, and stream mitigation work.

The remainder of the work – site restoration, and parking lot, campground, and playground improvements – will take place in April or May of 2023 after the ground thaws.

As of October 14, the park was closed again to the public to make way for the restoration work.

Camping in Tama County is currently still available at T.F. Clark Park located north of Traer.

Oxbow Bottoms

Later in the October meeting, the announcement was made by Conservation technician Dustin Horne that Oxbow Bottoms Wildlife Area – a roughly 60-acre property located northeast of Montour on the north side of US 30 – was now open for public access including hunting.

A new parking lot was recently installed on the property as well as boundary signs.

The parking lot can be accessed off US 30, roughly 1.8 miles west of the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel.

Oxbow Bottoms was donated to the county in 2018 by Cessford Construction Company.