Heritage Park Lake Water Quality & Habitat Improvements
*Due to favorable weather conditions, portions of Phase 2 began in October 2023.
About the Project
Heritage Park Lake is located at the northeast corner of Heritage Park near 159th and Pflumm and is operated by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD). The 41-acre lake is used for both public recreation and irrigation of the park’s golf course and athletic fields.
This project includes the excavation and mechanical dredging of sediments and native earthen materials within Heritage Park Lake and approximately 1,500 feet of stream to restore lake volume. The work will be phased to maintain irrigation water supply within the lake during construction activities. Individual work areas will be dewatered prior to dredging.
Dredged materials will be disposed of on the park property in five disposal areas, each with a water quality treatment train adjacent that will be constructed by the Contractor for use on the project. Lake water quality improvements are also part of this work including the construction of a sediment forebay and wetland area to be planted with native aquatic species, and a water control structure. The project also includes removal of the island and silo within the lake and creation of deep-water cells for water quality and fish habitat.
Other lake improvement-related closures include the parking lot, playground, and fitness area near Shelter 1, as well as Shelter 4, although the restroom near this shelter remains open.
Effective June 30: The Heritage Trail entrance at the northeast corner of the park has been re-opened. A mowed trail detour provides a connection from the Heritage Trail to the marina parking lot. The walkway across the dam has also been re-opened to provide trail users a connection to the Coffee Creek Trail and other trails in the southern portion of the park. The dam sidewalk will be closed when work commences near the dam in 2024 or if other safety issues arise in the construction zone.
Effective June 20: Trails around the lake were closed to public access for the duration of the project.
Why is this Project Occurring?
To restore depth to main portion of lake, which improves habitat for fish and wildlife.
- The lake was built in the 1980s and with all the area development, is largely silted in (filled with dirt)
To create a wetland forebay, which will:
- Temporarily retain runoff, slowing down storm water
- Allow sediments to filter out, improving the quality of the water/runoff, ultimately into the Blue River
- Provide additional beneficial habitat for fish and wildlife (wetlands)
What's the Timeline?
The project began on June 5 with the lake drawdown. Earthwork and dredging will commence and operate through the remaining spring, summer, and fall and will shut down in late fall of 2023. The same process will occur over the spring/summer of 2024. The project is anticipated to be substantially complete in the fourth quarter of 2024.
As part of this project, the island and silo will be removed to provide much needed volume for the lake to fulfill its storm water capacity and offset the volume of the new forebay berm.
The JCPRD Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners approved the lake improvement project with the removal of the island and associated silo. Removal of the island adds additional storage capacity for the lake and offsets the volume of material added to the lake to create the wetland forebay embankment, which positively impacts water quality. The restored lake will be the primary recreational feature of Heritage Park and directly supports wildlife and recreational opportunities within the watershed.
In the past JCPRD evaluated adaptive re-use of the silo, but it was designed and constructed as an agricultural accessory structure and, as such, is not suitable for public use due to code and structural requirements for public buildings. The silo is also heavily deteriorated and deconstructing it for relocation would damage the clay modular units.
JCPRD has two modular concrete block silos with steel reinforcing loops at Big Bull Creek Park that are in excellent condition and are planned to remain as agricultural heritage symbols in that park.
In Heritage Park, a silo-like element is anticipated to be included in a future development on the north shore of the lake. This is planned to be a symbolic, cylindrical building element or chimney as part of a new pavilion overlooking the restored lake. It’s understood that this will not replace the character of the old silo, however, it will provide a callback to the agricultural history of Heritage Park.
The project is called for in the Johnson County Stormwater Management: Watershed Organization 3 Master Plan
- JCPRD received a grant from Johnson County Stormwater for construction of the wetland forebay
- Heritage Park Lake is the largest body of water in the Blue River Watershed