Iowa DNR

Iowa state parks have set Saturday, Sept. 28 as annual Volunteer Day, when Iowans are invited to lend a hand at more than 40 parks hosting clean-up events.

Volunteer activities will focus on prepping for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Iowa state park system in 2020. The DNR is working with several organizations to create park improvements and plan activities for the centennial event.

Clean-up efforts will be unique for each park depending on clean-up needs, but may include litter pick-up, staining or painting buildings, planting trees, clearing trails and more. Citizens interested in volunteering can learn more at

Late summer

cattail and floating-leaved plant

control for ponds

Have the cattails in your pond taken over your favorite fishing spot or crowded you from one side of the dock or swimming area?

Late summer or early fall is the best time to kill cattails, Lotus lily and other emergent or floating-leaved plants that are on the pond’s edge or are above the water. Spraying herbicides this time of year will kill the whole plant, and it will not regrow next spring. There is little risk of depleting the oxygen in the pond with treating these plants; they die-back every year at this time and decompose slowly over the coming months.

Starting in late summer, these plants move food to their roots to survive the winter, making systemic herbicides most effective. The most common active ingredient to use is glyphosate (a few brand names with labels for aquatic use include Aqua Neat, Aqua Pro, Aquamaster, GlyphoMate 41, Pond Master, Rodeo, Shore Klear and Touchdown Pro). Find these at local hardware, farm supply or garden stores or try an online search for “aquatic glyphosate.”

A surfactant or spreader-sticker must be added to many of these herbicides to help it stick to the plant’s leaves. Read the label and check with your local or online retailer to select a surfactant that you can use in ponds. Spray the above-water part of the plant until just wet and follow instructions on the product label.

When you compare product brands, consider the amount of active ingredient, if a surfactant is needed, and size of the container. A product with a higher amount of active ingredient or one that does not need a surfactant added may provide a better value. The convenience of a ready-to-use (RTU) product that you do not have to mix or add a surfactant may outweigh price considerations.

Be careful to:

Read and follow the product label for application instructions and precautions.

Spray when calm, or when winds are low and out of a favorable direction to avoid accidentally spraying other plants valuable to landscaping. Increase the droplet size of the spray to reduce drift.

Spray plants early in the day with full sunlight after the morning dew has dried to get the best results.

Obey State law. Shoreline owners on public waters may not use herbicides to control aquatic vegetation without a permit. Contact the DNR fisheries office near you for rules and instructions for removing aquatic plants from public waters.

Learn more about aquatic plants in ponds at

Central Park Lake celebration to highlight lake

restoration project

CENTER JUNCTION – A celebration of the lake restoration efforts at Central Park in Jones County will be held Sept. 5th, from 5-7:30 pm at the beach at Central Park Lake, located at 12515 Central Park Road, in Center Junction.

A grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting will be held at 5:30 p.m. to officially celebrate the park’s completion of lake restoration activities. The celebration will highlight many of the lake and watershed restoration efforts that have helped improve water quality at Central Park Lake.

The event is free to the public and will feature a variety of environmental and recreational family-friendly activities including: free paddleboat and kayak rentals, a kids casting station, a nature center open house, fishing tackle giveaways, rod/reel checkouts, and educational booths. Families are encouraged to bring their own picnic to the event.

Project partners began meeting in 2012 to develop and execute a comprehensive restoration strategy for the park. Together they developed a watershed management plan and work started in 2013 to improve water quality in the watershed, including adding 77 new parkland acres and creating two ponds and two wetlands within the watershed to improve water quality in the lake.

The Jones County Conservation Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began in-lake restoration work in 2017, removing over 130,000 cubic yards of excess sediment from the lake, protecting shorelines from erosion, rebuilding boat ramp and parking lot, renovating the beach, and adding informational kiosks and a new accessible fishing pier.

The total investment for watershed and in-lake restoration efforts is $3.8 million. Project partners include: Jones County Conservation Board, the Iowa DNR, The US Environmental Protection Agency, Wellmark, Parks to People, Grant Wood Loop, REAP, and the Jones County Courthouse.