The Iowa DNR set goal to complete in-lake restoration work by next March.

DANVILLE — Recent rainfall has halted progress on the in-lake work of the Lake Geode Restoration Project.

During two heavy rain events over the last month, water from the more than 10,000-acre watershed flowed back into the empty lake and caused a pool of water - six feet at its deepest - to form near the dam, said Lake Geode watershed coordinator Caleb Waters.

After both rainfalls, the water drained out through the open inlet pipe within about four days. The water then flows down the backside of the dam into Cedar Creek and eventually into Skunk River.

Road Builders Inc., the contractor hired for in-lake work at Lake Geode, subcontracted some work to another construction firm out of Nebraska that planned to start site preparation about three weeks ago.

However, at this point, Waters said it’s simply a waiting game.

“The upper end of the lake, I would call it a backwater, there is still some water that is sitting up there,” he said. “When the lake was drained last fall, that water did not escape with the rest of the water, so they are hoping to excavate a channel through the sediment into the Cedar Creek channel to allow that to drain and allow it to dry out.”

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The contractors hoped to begin that work last week, but while working in the wet, muddy conditions they almost got some equipment stuck. While the morning provided for slightly frozen ground to work on, by the afternoon workers faced soft, mucky ground.

Weather is forcing the contractors to work on a limited work schedule, Waters said.

“The weather is going to be the biggest hurdle that that project is going to overcome. And time will tell whether or not we’re going to stay on schedule.”

Currently, a small amount of water still is flowing along channels in the bottom of the lake toward the inlet pipe. However, Waters said they have actually been pretty lucky with a minimal amount of snowfall this winter, avoiding extra water from melting snow.

Waters said the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a tentative goal to complete in-lake work by March 31, 2019, but all work is weather permitting.

“Like anything in life you’re going to run across some barriers, hurdles, obstacles. Definitely with a large scale restoration project like this, you’re going to run into that. It’s spring in Iowa. Anything can happen.”

The Friends of Geode State Park group met Sunday afternoon, and have officially been granted non-profit status. Their first focus is to renovate the old concession stand building at the beach at Lake Geode.