City of Lincoln
2005 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen Seng today cut a ribbon to officially reopen Holmes Lake following a two-year project to restore and improve the lake and surrounding park. The maximum lake depth will increase to 18.5 feet when the lake is completely refilled next spring. The project has extended the recreational life span of the lake by more than 100 years. A new 2.3-mile hiker/biker trail loop at the lake includes two new pedestrian bridges and ten new benches. The benches were funded through the Lincoln Cares program.
“Holmes Lake has been a place to hike, bike, fish and boat for more than four decades,” said Mayor Seng. “It is the location of thousands of picnics, family gatherings and baseball games. The entire community will enjoy the renovated lake and the surrounding park area for countless generations of fun and enjoyment.”
Mayor Seng thanked the City Parks and Recreation Department, the other project partners and the donors who provided funds for the $5.6 million project. “I also want to thank residents of the area and users of the lake, park, observatory and golf course for their patience during the restoration process,” she said. “I believe we all can agree that the outstanding long-term results are worth the short-term inconveniences.”
Project partners include the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund.
The 110-acre Holmes Lake reservoir was built in 1962 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and recreation. The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for the management of the lake and the surrounding park. More than 40 years of development and upstream agricultural use deposited excessive amounts of sediment in the lake that reduced the lake’s depth, water quality and fishing conditions.
Dredging and earth-moving operations, which began in July 2003, resulted in nearly 321,000 cubic yards of sediment being excavated from the lake bottom. About 2.4 miles of shoreline were stabilized with rock and native plants, and 10 acres of wetlands were created. Six new rock jetties were installed to protect shorelines and provide fishing access.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is restocking the lake with sport fish species that include largemouth bass, blue gill and channel catfish. A handicapped-accessible wooden pier was installed for fishing. The Holmes Lake Sailing Club assisted with the installation of new boat launch facilities along South Shoreline Drive. The project also included lighting improvements throughout the park and the expansion of parking lots at the Holmes Golf Course and Rickman’s Dog Run.
The re-establishment of park landscaping will be completed in phases over the next several years. Reseeding of disturbed areas is being completed as conditions allow, and major tree planting efforts will begin this fall.
A Watershed Advisory Committee, formed in 2001, is working to reduce the threat of future pollution at Holmes Lake through public education, wetland enhancement and drainage improvement efforts.