Story County, IA

Hickory Grove Lake Watershed Improvements – Phase 1

  • Client Story County Conservation
  • Type Stormwater
  • Services Design, Construction Administration
  • Construction Cost $348,000
  • Project Manager Steve P. Soupir, P.E., CFM


Hickory Grove Lake is a popular destination for recreation in central Iowa. The 400-acre park and 98-acre lake have campground amenities, a beach for swimming, and fishing opportunities.

In February of 2014, FOX Engineering Associates, Inc. (FOX) worked with Story County Conservation (SCC) staff to develop grant applications to the Iowa Department of Agriculture Watershed Improvement Review Board (WIRB) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Lakes Program for approximately $423,000 of the total anticipated $598,000 project cost. In March of 2014, SCC was awarded full funding from both programs.


FOX began design of the project in July of 2014; this included stream channel improvements on the area upstream of the lake, outside the Story County property, to the outfall of an existing drainage district tile outlet as described in the lakes Watershed Management Plan (WMP). Erosion occurred because the riparian vegetation was no longer a viable source of channel protection. The goal of the project was to restore the channel to a healthy stream environment.

This project focused on habitat modification and restoration, limiting livestock access to the stream, stabilizing the channel, grade stabilization of a channel branch susceptible to heavy gully erosion, and a saturated buffer to remove nutrients from drainage tiles.


Design of the project was completed in April 2015 and the project received bids in May 2015. Smith Seeding, Inc. was awarded the contract in the amount of approximately $403,000 and started construction in July 2015. Despite heavy rains, the project reached substantial completion by the contract date of September 30, 2015.