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3 Black Hills lakes to be dredged, restocked

RAPID CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service is planning to dredge and restock three western South Dakota lakes that have been degraded by silt contamination.

Horse Thief, Bismarck and Lakota lakes were built decades ago to enhance the travel and recreation experience along the 69-mile Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway, which runs through Custer State Park and past Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Silt contamination through the years has diminished the water quality in the lakes and led to thick weed growth, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"It's not a very nice experience when you go to a lake and can't even get your fishing line out because of weeds and cattails," said David Pickford, recreation specialist for the Hell Canyon Ranger District in Custer. "These lakes are all 50-plus years old. They're in need of help."

Bismarck Lake was built in the 1920s, Horse Thief in the 1930s and Lakota about 1960. The project to clean them up is being paid for mainly through a $700,000 federal grant available for projects along national byway routes. It will be matched by $140,000 from the U.S. Forest Service and $150,000 from the state Game, Fish & Parks Department.

The dredging work is to be done over the next two winters. Game, Fish and Parks then will restock the lakes with fish, mostly rainbow trout.