Cedar Lake Watershed

Cedar Lake was built in 1939, became a water supply in 1940, and has been Winterset’s only water supply since 1995.  Over the decades, siltation has caused the lake’s storage capacity to decrease.  In 2014, the City of Winterset began a dredging project to reclaim the lake’s original water storage capacity.

With the completion of the dredging project, there has been a renewed effort to protect Cedar Lake as a drinking water source by preventing further siltation and improving water quality.

As a first step, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources contracted Tetra Tech to develop a Source Water Protection Plan, which was completed in February 2018.  

Also in 2018, the Winterset Municipal Utilities Board approved the funding of a Conservation Consultant position to reach out to landowners and operators in the watershed, and a “Cedar Lake Landowner Get Together” was held on September 12, 2018. 

In 2019, Cedar Lake Watershed was selected to be eligible for cost share funds through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), part of the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Projects in NWQI watersheds may be eligible to receive higher than normal payment rates on conservation practices that protect and improve water quality.  Cedar Lake Watershed is one of the first NWQI projects in the nation that specifically targets source water protection. 

For more information, see the NRCS News Release “Iowa NRCS Adds Two NWQI Project to Help Protect Source Water”, and click on the Cedar Lake NWQI Fact Sheet (see links on left). 

Stay tuned for more information about conservation efforts in Cedar Lake Watershed to protect Winterset’s drinking water source!

Watershed Size: 10,700 acres
Lake Size: 80 acres
Resource Concerns: Sedimentation and Nutrients

More information:

To learn more, contact:

Jim Gillespie, Conservation Consultant
Madison County SWCD
515-462-2961 ext. 3