Legislators Hear Call For State To Get Involved Over High Water Levels On Iowa Great Lakes

Mon 4-1-2019

(Okoboji)-- There was a call at a legislative forum Saturday for the state to intervene in the issue with high water levels on the Iowa Great Lakes. It came amid reports that levels are already within inches of triggering a no wake rule. State Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake addressed the matter, saying there is a lot on the line when it comes to tourism-generated revenue and the impact a no-wake has on that...Forum & Lake Levels 

"We have about $1 million of revenue per day in the Iowa Great Lakes and so when we have a no wake that does affect that, and so that's something that we've got to take a look at. $1 million a day, to the state the contribution is about $51,408 in sales tax. That's per day, coming from the Okobojis. So if we're not generating, we don't have people coming here because we're in a no wake situation, that's an issue."

However, Wills said as of now it appears the state has little say over what should be done at the Lower Gar Outlet to better regulate lake levels. He says that ultimately is up to the city of Milford and Dickinson county, who have joint jurisdiction over a road that passes over the outlet. 

An ongoing study has identified some possible alternatives including installation of an additional box culvert and some modifications to existing ones; or replacing the culverts under the road with a bridge. The cost of replacing the culverts with a bridge has been estimated in the neighborhood of $1.4 million.