Cedar Park will experience a serious facelift this year.
That, thanks to Union County Conservation Director Doug Jones who recently wrote and received a $25,537 grant from Fish Habitat Stamp program.
The grant money couldn’t have come at a better time, Jones said, because the overflow tube at Cedar Park pond has been plugged for several years, in turn, causing constant damage to Cedar Park dam.
Jones said his department plans to get started on the project as soon as possible.
First, the dam will be breached by Mike Eblen of Eblen Construction — which will force all the water out of Cedar Park’s one-acre pond.
The summer heat will then dry out the sediment at the bottom of the pond and allow contractors to restore the pond to depths from 9 feet to a peak depth of 17 feet.
The clay in the bottom of the pond will then be used to reconstruct a new dam for the pond. Jones said the dam and overflow tube will both be raised 3 feet during the project.
“When the project is finished, the pond will be both deeper and bigger,” Jones said. “The renovation will deepen the entire pond by an average of 8 feet. These improvements will give anglers a great opportunity to experience southern Iowa farm pond fishing at its finest.”
In the fall, High Lakes Outdoor Alliance will arrive at Cedar Park and enhance the fish habitat by placing cedar tree brush piles and building pallet cubes — which act as a “playground” for fish — to add to the bed of the pond.
High Lakes Outdoor Alliance is a non-profit group that raises funds locally and puts 100 percent of that money back into Union County conservation projects. They also assist in the manual completion of many local conservation projects.
The grant received for the Cedar Park project is funded 90 percent through the Fish Habitat Stamp grant and 10 percent locally. Jones said High Lakes Outdoor Alliance is paying for the 10 percent local match for this project.
The funding for the Fish Habitat Stamp grant comes from revenue generated from patrons purchasing annual fishing licenses in Iowa.
Two new walking bridges will be constructed during the Cedar Park project. The shorelines will be anchored and rip rapped.
The pond will then be completely restocked with 1/2-inch bluegill, 1-inch largemouth bass and 1 1/2-inch channel catfish. Later, crappie will be added to the pond. Jones expects the pond will be ready for fishing about three years after completion of the project.
“The renovation project and added development will greatly enhance the fishing opportunities at Cedar Park pond. It is Union County conservation’s intention to provide a quality fishing area to all anglers, especially those with limited means who either prefer to fish from the shore or who do not own a boat.”
Cedar Park has been used by the public for several occasions over the past couple of years. Most notably, Creston’s fourth-grade bug hunt is held there each year, as well as the Fish Iowa program for area students conducted by Union County Conservation Association.
Cedar Park is located about four miles southeast of Creston on 190th Street.