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Aquatic Habitat Project to Begin at Conestoga Reservoir

LINCOLN – The rehabilitation of the reservoir at Conestoga State Recreation Area is underway. The outlet structure will be modified in preparation for a project to improve aquatic habitat, water quality and angler access. Visitors can expect to encounter areas closed to public access near construction equipment and work areas.

The reservoir has experienced the degrading effects of years of sedimentation and nutrient accumulation. The combination of these has been partially responsible for the dense algae blooms in recent years. A priority of this project will be to re-establish some of the depth and lake bottom diversity and capture future sediment in the upper ends of the reservoir.

Additionally, the project will include shoreline protection with off-shore breakwaters and jetties that will allow anglers better access to deep water. The ultimate goal of the project is improved water quality. This, in turn, will provide a better environment for the establishment of aquatic vegetation and aquatic insects, which will result in a quality fishery.

The dewatering process will provide licensed anglers an opportunity to salvage the remaining fish under the following conditions: Stranded fish of all species may be salvaged for human consumption only, by any method except electricity, explosives, poisons, chemicals, other fish toxicants, firearms, and seines or nets other than legal baitfish seines, dip, or landing nets. Other legal methods include snagging, hand fishing, spearing and archery. Length limits will be rescinded for the area open to salvage during this period, but daily bag limits remain in effect. Because of concerns for the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, salvaged fish cannot be sold or used for stocking purposes into either public or private water bodies. Salvage of fish under these liberalized regulations can begin immediately.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has contracted with T.J. Osborn Construction of Lincoln to modify the outlet structure.

The cost of the project is being provided by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Aquatic Habitat and Angler Access Fund, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration.

Conestoga is located near Denton in Lancaster County.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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