Neighbors concerned about pesticides at Easter Lake

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DES MOINES – Experts say a controversial pesticide is the only way to solve a decades old problem.

“It’s just been a long process of working on the lake and getting it back open,” said Resident Steve Brown.

Easter Lake Park on the South side of Des Moines has been empty for nearly two years because of a carp fish infestation. 

“When they breathe they go into shallow areas and they kick up the mud,” said Richard Leopold with the Polk County Conservation Board.

So if crews bring the lake back and the fish are still in the water, it’ll be an inconvenience.

“It makes the water very turbid, so it’s not very clear,” said Leopold.

To make the lake suitable for swimming, paddle boarding, and fishing, crews say they have to use Roanoke. 

“It’s a natural botanical that has been used all over the world for over 30 years,” said Leopold.

That same pesticide has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease by studies. That’s alarming to neighbors in the area. 

“I hope they can find something that is less harmful to the environment, that’s probably better for people,” said Brown.

Officials with the Polk County Conservation Board say they haven’t heard of the pesticide harming anyone and they’re closely being monitored by the EPA. 

“We’re using it under their guidelines and taking precautions. We’re closing the trails around the lake, closing vehicle accesses for a couple of days until it dissipates, but otherwise I don’t think it should be any human health problem at all,” said Leopold. 

When the Easter Lake Project is completed it will cost around $20 million. Crews believe the lake should be open in the next few months, it all depends how much precipitation the area gets. 

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