Area Rivers are Suffering From the Drought

While most of us are wondering when the next significant storm system will make its way into the area, many are watching their fishing streams significantly dry up. Rivers such as the Winnebago, Shoal Creek, Cedar, and Iowa Rivers are well below their normal levels. National Weather Service in Des Moines Meteorologist Jim Lee explained that there are a number of factors that are going into this.

In some locations along the Winnebago and the Iowa Rivers, one can literally walk across the river. In many areas, river levels are so low canoeing and kayaking is not recommended because boats would scrape the river bottom.

Enthusiasts wade into the normally deep waters of the Winnebago River to gather shells and other aquatic items. The waters are now ankle deep at best in some locations.

Lee highlighted that there are concerns for rivers in much of the state where water levels are very low.

If the waters were to freeze at these low levels, the danger posed to aquatic life in some locations would be devasting.

The boat dock to the Winnebago River in Pammel Park in Forest City is unusable.

Lee and the National Weather Service are not seeing much change in the patterns that would replenish the rivers and some area lakes.

In July, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported nearly 21,000 Shovelnose Sturgeon had died along a 60-mile stretch of the Des Moines River in southeast Iowa. DNR biologists determined the fish kill was caused by low water levels and high-water temperatures. It was the largest fish kill in the region since 2012. In late August, the DNR estimates up to 5,000 fish were killed along a 74-mile stretch of the Upper Iowa River in Winneshiek County.


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