Restoration Project at an Iowa Lake is Trapping People Waist Deep in Mud

(Warren County, IA) -- People are getting stuck in the mud, waist-deep at an Iowa lake that's been drained for a restoration project. Firefighters rescued two kids over the weekend from the mud at Lake Ahquabi in Central Iowa.

Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Chad Kelchen says two juveniles tried to cross where the remaining water was where they managed to get waist deep in the mud, and had to call Indianola Fire for rescue. Kelchen says no one was seriously injured.

The kids are not the only two to get trapped in the mud since the lake was first drained in July of last year.

Ava Shannon says she was hiking with friends while a student at Simpson College last summer when she sank up to her thighs in the mud, losing both of her shoes. Friends needed to help her out of the mud. Shannon says the more she tried to move in the mud, the more she sunk.

Another woman on social media says it happened to her recently. She says the ground didn't look wet or muddy, but she also sank thigh-deep, and had to struggle to get free.

Kelchen says the DNR is reevaluating its approach to draining and working on lakes because people are entering construction zones, and ending up in dangerous situations. He says that the North entrance to the campground is barricaded as closed, and the beach was closed with a sign to keep visitors safe. However, signs have been stolen and the DNR has been seeing issues with the public going into the work zones.

Kelchen says the contractors running equipment may not see individuals in the construction zones, or be able to stop in time.

The restoration project started in July 2021 and will be completed in 2023.

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