Skip to main content

Lake Red Rock Filling with Mud

Red Rock Reservoir is a reservoir formed by Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River. The dam was completed in 1969 as a flood control project by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It is the largest lake in Iowa. Since its completion, the reservoir has been filling with mud (sedimentation) and has lost a large portion of its storage capacity (~44%).

Marion County, Iowa

Driving Question

  • How can we limit sedimentation into the Lake Red Rock Reservoir?

Probing Questions

  • As you watch the video, what sort of impact do you think this will have on Iowans?
  • What do you think is the best-case scenario?
  • Do you think this problem is unique to Lake Red Rock?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could: 

  • Investigate the cause of the sedimentation
  • Design solutions to the sedimentation
  • Predict changes to the land in the future

Relevant Related Resources

Red Rock's Dirty Secret - Gladys Black Environmental Education Project: Article on Red Rocks deposition and consequences.
State Park Beach Monitoring | Iowa DNR: Information on water quality in Iowa.
Des Moines River SRP: Program that determines the flow requirements for rivers to restore critical ecological functions and habitat for species.



          Iowa Core Alignment

          Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems

          Credit Info

          Submitted by Chelsea Thordarson as part of the Iowa STEM Teacher Externship program.

          REAPCorporation for Public BroadcastingAlliant EnergyMusco LightingPella