- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials hope to improve access to the Des Moines River with a plan that includes the removal of two dams.

The Messenger (https://bit.ly/2qntgSq ) reported that Fort Dodge city officials and Webster county officials held an open house Wednesday to review the Des Moines River and Lizard Creek Water Trails and Corridor Plan.

Chad Schaeffer is the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth. The two dams will be removed in the next two years, he said. Removal will be funded by about $2 million from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources clean water program and another $2 million from Fort Dodge’s capital improvements plan, Schaeffer said.

The plan also entails removing some trees and bushes around the river, adding a bike trail system, and adding handicap accessibility.

“Overall when you look at this entire plan, from dam removal, access to the river, fishing, taking out another small dam further north on Lizard Creek, you start developing the riverfront,” he said.

Another important aspect is taking care of the environment, Schaeffer said.

“We have erosion issues,” he said. “We have farmers farming right to the river edge. We need to put in some buffer strips and protect our environment. There is multifaceted goals with this project.”

The final report will be reviewed by city council in the coming weeks.

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