Scott County’s new hydroseeder helps restore West Lake

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Scott County has begun work on a lake restoration project of West Lake and a new hydroseeder is helping crews get it started.

"We’re pretty excited. We purchased it last fall," said Brian Burkholder of the new equipment. He's a roadside vegetation specialist with Scott County Secondary Roads. The hydroseeder was purchased as part of his departments' equipment budget, but $24,000 of the $54,000 cost came from a grant through the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund.

"Hydroseeding is basically a one-step process: It puts the seed, the fertilizer, mulch in the tank, it mixes it up," Burkholder explained. "It's very quick very efficient."

It's been a boon to Scott County's Conservation Board as well,  saving the board operation costs by having ready access to Secondary Road's hydroseeder.

On Friday, crews took the hydroseeder out for the first time, helping the  Conservation Board plant native grass seeds around West Lake.

A cannon mounted on top of the vehicle and operated by Burkholder can shoot the mixture as far as 180 feet.

The mixture is dyed green to help the operator see where it is sprayed.

"One of the things that prompted the lake restoration project was that we’re on the Iowa Impaired Waters list which basically means we have high levels of algae and chlorophyll," said Conservation Board Deputy Director Marc Miller.

The native grass takes about two to three years to mature and helps with water filtration and prevent nutrient removal, he said.

It's part of a two-year lake restoration project run by Scott County and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Miller said it would also involve restocking fish species at West Lake.

"We need to rework our fish species. We have a lot of rough fish," he said, referring those anglers deem less desirable for fishing.

"So what we’re doing with the lake restoration project is we’re gonna draw down and renovate all four lakes at West Lake and then we’ll redo our fish population so that we’ll have game fish as opposed to having too many rough fish," he said, adding that the county has relaxed fishing regulations in preparation for the draw-down in July 2019.

"Right now we’re working on five ponds in the watershed. Later on, in the summer, we’ll draw all the lakes down do four additional ponds and then we’ll refill the lake after that. So it’s kind of long term project," he said.

Burkholder says he'll be back with the hydroseeder when the Conservation Board does the renovation.

"A lot to do," he said.

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