Lake Odessa for the People, Inc.

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"Lake Odessa for the People" (LOFTP), is a newly formed non-profit proactive group organized to communicate a message to our local, state, and federal legislators and selected people who might be able to help revitalize Lake Odessa and thus enhance the quality of life and the economic situation of Louisa County, IA and the surrounding area. LOFTP wants to see "PEOPLE" using Lake Odessa year round.

LOFTP consists of a board of directors of 11 people representing a membership of over 200 people and growing. President is Ken Purdy and treasurer is Jason Hutcheson

The message from the group is the need to maintain an adequate minimum water level of 4.75' in Lake Odessa year round to enhance fishing, hunting, boating, and recreational activity and to put back the picnic tables and restrooms that were once at Schafer's access. This can be done at no cost by gravity flow of water through control structures or by dredging. We are not trying to raise the water level, just lower the draw down or dredge.

LOFTP is looking for an attorney that specializes in envrionmental matters to counter the low water draw downs (only 2.5 ft deep) in the summer. Also, LOFTP is looking for a Wildlife specialist that has knowledge of other wildlife management plans that say you don't have to draw the water down so far in the summer.


Question what you read and hear! There have been many statements made like the following that don't tell the whole truth.

1. Statement by DNR in 2007: 4th best hunting season at Lake Odessa in 2007. Reality - Hunting was not good, fishing was very bad, and no activity in the summer. See the download about the response to this statement. and the news article making the statement.

2. Statement by USFW employee in 2007: 95% of wetlands gone in Iowa. I asked him how many had been restored and he couldn't answer. I told him naturally interstate 80 and other areas are going to take out some of those areas.

3. Statement by Lake management: 60000 visitors to the Lake a year. I never did get a complete answer to this when I asked. Many land owners in the area around the lake dispute this figure.

Here is an interesting comment from LOFTP:

In 2007, the peak duck count was 38000 ducks in Lake Odessa.The peak duck count in Lake Odessa was 200,180 in 1966. Maybe the mangement style needs changed.


 Lake Odessa 1959 the way LOFTP would like to see it.

Lake Odessa now in June 2007. We don't want this.

Update on Revitalizing Lake Odessa

Six city councils in Louisa County, the Louisa County Farm Bureau, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and Muscatine County Board of Supervisors have passed a resolution in support of a greater minimum water depth in Lake Odessa to support a multipurpose usage. The greater water depth could initially be attained by not letting as much water flow out of the lake and in the long run by dredging.

The Louisa County Republican Party and Louisa County Democratic Party adopted planks at their respective conventions to this effect: We support revitalizing Lake Odessa by less water draw down or dredging to support a multipuropose use of lake Odessa to enhance the quality of life of residnets and benefit the economy.

The six city councils passing the resolution so far are: Morning Sun, Wapello, Columbus City, Columbus Jct., Letts, and Grandview.

I personally took a boat ride Schafer's access to the outlet tubes at Lake Odessa. The gauge at Schafer's was 5.9', a foot higher than what safe boating would need. Water couldn't be drained from the lake because the Mississippi River was too high. Even at this water level, the islands were not inundated. Sure, some shore line trees and vegetation were in water. At a water level 1 foot lower or 4.7' gauge reading at Schafer's this shore line vegetation would be affected very little.

Rest assured no one wants to see the duck hunting decreased or the refuge done away with. These are vital to the area. Keep this in mind: Comparing today to 50 years ago, there are significantly 1. Less fisherman at Lake Odessa 2. Less boaters on Lake Odessa 3. Less day users at Lake Odessa 4. Less Weekend Campers 5. Less swimmers at Lake Odessa and 6. Less duck hunters in the Lake Odessa area. Raising and lowering the water levels to such extremes hasn't produced positive results. It's time for a change.

We don't want to see Lake Odessa be a mud hole. We want to see it revived with more water to help the water quality and bring back the people.




Comment by People Using Lake Odessa

5/28/08 My family had a cabin on the south end of schafers and near to the campground. We sold it about a year and a half ago. We used to go down every weekend when my brother and I were younger and have great fun skiing and tubeing. I even remember times when we would want to go skiing and our dad would say the water was too rough from all the OTHER BOATS out on the water.

We also do A LOT of duck hunting at Odessa an, in my dad's and my opinion, the draw-down getting sooner and lower coupled with the millet they have been planting have done absolutely nothing to help the hunting back to the level it was before the 1993 flood. We have to laugh when we see newspaper articles by Bill Ohde claiming this hunting season to be the most productive yet when my dad says, after nearly 30 years of hunting Lake Odessa, he's never seen the hunting worse. We have yet to shoot a duck with millet in its craw so we're sure all the millet does is make it a hassle for hunters to make their way through the hunting area.

Please click on this link to read and sign the online petition LAKE ODESSA FOR ALL and spread the word for all users of the lake to do likewise.

Other downloads:

Photo showing aerial view when depth is 4.75. Water not on trees.

Response to DNR saying great hunting season at Lake Odessa in 2007
See under comments above for a 30 year duck hunter's report of worst season ever.

Duck Count Discrepancy between Iowa DNR and Aerial Flights

Dredge analysis

Economic Impact Analysis

Farm Bureau Resolution

Cheat Sheet - Quick summary of what we are about.

Response to Ohde Document

Response to Honts letter

Historical Events at Lake Odessa

Property Tax Satement

Corps of Eng. Lake Rehabiliation Project. May be 15 min. down load. 652 page PDF document.

IDNR Lake Restoration Projects Report 2006

IDNR Lake Restoration Map 2006

Lake Odessa Not listed as fishing hole on page 46 of IDNR Iowa Outdoors Mag.

To view a slide show of the Lake Odessa situation, choose one of the links below.

Click one of the links below to view a slide show presentation about what can be done to revitalize the lake, photos of how 4.75ft minimum depth would affect the lake, a few of the 1,000 petitioners, city council and county resolutions favoring deeper water, and the Louisa County Farm Bureau Resolution. You may want to read the rest of this frame before viewing the slide show.

I fully support keeping a minimum water depth in Lake Odessa of 4.7 feet to revitalize Lake Odessa. This will help bring back the hundreds of people who used to bring their families to the lake for a week-end of fun. It will help fisherman, duck hunters, canoeists, boaters, wildlife observers, campers, swimmers, and picnicers to enjoy the area.

This is a no cost way to help the economic development of Wapello, Grandview, Louisa County, and surrounding areas. To that end, I have produced a Powerpoint slide presentation of aerial photos of Lake Odessa and supporting information. I ask all politicians to view this presentation and to support this initiative. We need everyone's support to persuade the Iowa DNR and U.S Fish and Wildlife to adapt their management methods at Lake Odesssa.

(Click here to download PDF Version)

Click Here to Download a Power Point Version

Revitalize Lake Odessa (Try this Quicktime version)

If you need QuickTime, it is a free download for Windows or Mac at

I only put 6 pages of the 1,000 signatures I have on the petition supporting more water in Lake Odessa. These signatures are from local people or people that use Lake Odessa and they know the Lake. Don't confuse this with an online petition where 90% of the signatures are from out of the area and have never even seen Lake Odessa. If you would like the complete 1,000 member list, let me know.