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Watershed project 'dream come true' for Floyd County family

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COLWELL — The Beaver Creek watershed project has created a habitat for wildlife and is a dream come true for Doug Bohlen and his family.

“There are bullfrogs, water fowl, hundreds of doves, pheasants and more,” Bohlen said.

The project, which includes areas of Floyd and Chickasaw counties, is meant to examine an entire watershed to find the best places to create wetlands and natural areas to reduce flooding.

These areas have benefits beyond flood control including increased water quality and creating wildlife habitats.

Bohlen’s father, Randy, owns the land on 130th Street in Colwell for “Site 1” of the project, a 460-acre watershed.

There is a pond and a weir with a grouted riprap. To create the wildlife area, they’ve added trees and seeded the earthen structure around the pond.

“We use the area for recreation,” Bohlen said. “We’re a hunting family.”

Bohlen and his sons are building a hunting cabin on the property. They hope to have the building enclosed before winter.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have a place like this,” Bohlen said.

Though they enjoy the recreation, the top reason for participating in the program was improved water quality, Bohlen said.

While the work is complete, the areas are still in the early stages with trees and plant growth.

“In five years it will be a special spot,” Bohlen said.

Bohlen said it was a great decision for his family, especially looking to his grandchildren.

There are six shallow water/flow-control earthen structures built in the Colwell area.

The flood center hosted a bus tour Tuesday evening to visit properties where the structures and wetlands have been constructed. Bohlen took the tour with specialists, property owners and supervisors from several counties.

“I was impressed to learn how these ponds work,” Bohlen said.

Engineer Robert Larget from Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. and others explained how the structures were built.

The Iowa Flood Center was awarded federal grant money which in turn was used for the Beaver Creek watershed project.

The IFC, established by the state at the University of Iowa after flooding in 2008, received $97 million in federal funds to replicate watershed projects around the state.


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