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PALO — Deepening and reshaping the nearshore bed of Pleasant Creek Lake has been completed — a key part of a $3.5 million restoration that is proceeding on schedule, according to project coordinator Paul Sleeper, a Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist.
An estimated 40,000 cubic yards of lake bed material has been pushed farther out into the lake bed to create more diversity in depth and bottom content, with some of that material becoming underwater reefs when the lake returns to normal level next year, Sleeper said.
Though the lake remains about 15 feet lower than normal, anglers and other boaters still can access the lake via extended launching ramps.
“A lot of people don’t realize you can still get in there. For the first 50 or so feet after you launch, you have to be careful before you get into deeper water,” he said.
More than 50,000 tons of rock will be placed along five miles of shoreline to stabilize the bank, reduce erosion and create additional fish habitat, according to Sleeper.
Rocks also will be placed on the offshore reefs, and trees will be anchored to the bottom to create additional aquatic habitat, he said.
Rock hauling will begin when the dewatered portion of the lake can accommodate heavy truck traffic.
That could be yet this fall if the lake bed dries sufficiently or, perhaps more likely, when it freezes this winter, Sleeper said.
The project remains on track for completion by the end of March, he said.
Sleeper said the project, funded primarily by the state’s Lake Restoration Program, will stem shoreline erosion, improve water quality and create better habitat for fish and more spots where anglers can connect with them.
Both water quality and fishing generally have been above average since the 410-acre lake, Linn County’s largest and most popular, was constructed in the late 1970s, according to Sleeper.
The same 5-to-1 watershed to lake surface ratio that accounts for the good water quality could also slow the refilling process this spring, he said.
“It all depends on Mother Nature and how much rainfall she gives us,” he said.