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Lake Mitchell committee leaning away from Fyra

The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee is looking past water resource specialist Fyra, and toward other options for Lake Mitchell's algae problems. Omaha-based Fyra Engineering gave a presentation to the committee at past meetings and has been a po...

An aerial view of Lake Mitchell last August. (Republic file photo)
An aerial view of Lake Mitchell last August. (Republic file photo)

The Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee is looking past water resource specialist Fyra, and toward other options for Lake Mitchell's algae problems.

Omaha-based Fyra Engineering gave a presentation to the committee at past meetings and has been a potential solution for Lake Mitchell. But in Tuesday's meeting at the Mitchell Recreation Center, the committee is going to look at other solutions, such as removing carp, the invasive fish species that plague the lake.

There wasn't a quorum at the meeting, so no official action was taken. Still, the members present were in agreement that Fyra isn't the route to take at this time.

"I don't think we're ready to do that," committee member Joe Kippes said. "But I thought the conversation was important ... I don't think Fyra is a bad company. They would do probably what they are telling us to do. We have some other things we can explore before we do that."

Bev Robinson said she doesn't believe the city has funding at this time to do Fyra work. Mitchell Mayor Jerry Toomey agreed, saying there was never a positive or straightforward answer from Fyra regarding funding options.

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Committee members, including Robinson, said more research need to happen before any solutions can be brought forward.

"We just need to have conversations with all of the people who have a piece of this puzzle," Robinson said. "(Lake Mitchell) is a recreational source ... It is not just important for people living around it and the people of Mitchell."

'Upset with the paper'

To begin the meeting, Robinson said she wanted to clarify that nobody on the committee is "pointing a finger at anyone," after reading a story printed in the Daily Republic.

"I was upset with the paper to the point that I cut it out and I felt that the best thing to do was bring it to the meeting and discuss it amongst the members of the meeting and get it out in the open," Robinson said. "We want to work with the people that have a say in this."

The article in question was published in a Saturday edition of the paper about rural farmers and landowners considering giving up their land near the Firesteel Creek for a lake restoration project.

Toomey, who was quoted throughout the article, claimed to be misquoted and was disappointed with the paper's actions.

"That disturbs me a little bit for being quoted in the paper for saying something that I didn't say ..." Toomey said. "If I'm not going to be quoted correctly, I'm not going to be having conversations with reporters from The Daily Republic anymore. That's the update on that."

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Toomey claimed the article will set the committee back six months, and pitting city people against rural people serves no purpose.

Robinson agreed.

"In our little corner of the world, that is the last thing we need to create, is controversy," she said.

Other business

In other regular business, the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee:

• Discussed a conversation previously held with Chris Larson, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Kippes said the visit with Larson went well and they were able to see how their process works. Kippes reported to the committee that the Iowa department has improved 18 lakes in Iowa, with a basic process. Their process included removing the carp from the lake. Large carp swimming along the bottom of lakes, disturb the bottom, stirring up sediments. It affects the vegetation growth and water clarity, Kippes said.

• Discussed a previously held conversation with Dave Bartel with the James River Water District. Kippes said the district has a "keen interest in our lake and our concerns" because Lake Mitchell is a major contributor clearing out water before it gets into the James River. Kippes said Bartel was excited for the committee's interest in the district.

• Heard reports from Steve Roth regarding the conditions of lake roads. At the last committee meeting during the public input, it was said the trails around the lake are in "bad shape." Roth said his department has been blading and improving the roads. He said he has been in contact with the street department to help out, too.

Related Topics: LAKE MITCHELL
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