Nov 26, 2020

Iowa Considers Purchasing More Land for Park for Water Quality Protections

Iowa's Ames City Council will deliberate the potential $3.7 million purchase of land to extend Ada Hayden Heritage Park.

iowa water quality

The Ames City Council is in the process of discussing the potential $3.7 million purchase of land to extend Ada Hayden Heritage Park in Iowa. 

The city manager recommends against it while those in favor believe it will protect water quality, reported the Ames Tribune. 

The hope is for Ada Hayden Heritage Park to prevent contamination of the park's lake from storm water drainage. The city has already invested money to support housing development in the area, however.

The 170-acre parcel is for sale at $3.7 million. 

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"We're in agreement...we want to protect the park," said Iowa State ecology professor and president of Friends of Ada Hayden James Pease. "I think that disagreement is based on what's the best way to do that. I think the best way is to put that land into permanent vegetation of some kind."

According to the Ames Tribune, Rose Prairie's rainwater runoff flows into Ada Hayden. The runoff degrades Ada Hayden's wetlands which protect the lake and which is also Ames' backup water supply. 

The nutrients also promote algae growth in the body of water, which could lead to fish kills.

The city does not take water directly from the lakes to the water treatment plant for use, according to Ames director of water and pollution control John Dunn. Ada Hayden's water is used during times of exceptional drought to replenish the groundwater supply.

Currently, the park also has man-made wetlands that protect the lake from nutrient runoffs from Rose Prairie and nearby housing developments Quarry Estates and Hayden's Crossing. 

City staff believe that is possible to reduce the amount of runoff and extend the lifespan of the wetlands, even with housing development.

City Manager Steve Schainker wrote in the staff report he recommends not approving the Friends of Ada Hayden request due to the money already invested and the city's belief protecting Ada Hayden's quality is possible without purchasing the land. 

The meeting to discuss these matters was held virtually. People can also view the meeting live

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