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Dried up Snyder Bend Lake: How no water now will positively impact the lake’s ecosystem in coming years

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SALIX, Iowa (KTIV) - If you've been to Snyder Bend, near Salix, Iowa, recently, you probably noticed something different about the lake: there's no water.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said water levels dropped with last year's drought.

Going into the winter of 2020, water levels were low, and many of the fish died with the natural winter kill.

As a result, the fish that were left would create poor water quality, when lake levels returned to normal.

DNR officials said the dead fish at Snyder Bend will decay naturally.

But, they claim the dried-up lake will positively affect the lake's ecosystem in the future.

"To look at it, is when these drought cycles do happen, they can actually be very healthy for a lake system. To go through these periods of low water. You can get the return of certain types of habitat like emergent vegetation. And when the lakes refill, the water is generally clearer and there's a lot more resources," said Ben Wallace, Fisheries Biologist.

Wallace said he'd like to see water levels back up by 2022. For that to happen, Wallace said we'll need rain.

There is also a supplementary water supply that can direct water to the lake. But, for anglers, fishing may have to wait.

"In terms of the fishery response, it's going to take several years, you know, for fish to get to a harvestable size. It takes time for fish to grow. The nice thing is, after these systems are completely devoid of fish and then restocked, the fish that we do stock experience higher than average growth rates. So, they grow very fast. And so, people should be able to expect some pretty decent fishing in as little as two to three years for some of the species," said Wallace.

Wallace said while looking at the empty lake can be discouraging, he said to remember the long-term benefits.

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Emily Schrad

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