RAPID CITY, S.D. — A South Dakota state park lake is expected to have better access and improved fishing habitat after a shoreline rebuilding project is completed.

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks officials began decreasing the water level in the 9.2-acre Legion Lake in the northern part of Custer State Park earlier this month, the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2d6Ad8r) reported.

Park engineer Jayme Severyn said one project led to another once the lake was lowered. She says the five-foot lowering of the lake’s water level will make it easy to install new water and sewer lines.

“Once we committed to dropping the lake about five feet for the construction project, we started looking at the lake as a whole and what other things we could do during that time frame,” Severyn said.

The water level in the lake will be lowered an additional 5 feet in order to dredge a sediment buildup and remove cattails on the north shoreline, then stabilize it with rock.

“Like any lake we have, once they start aging, you end up with cattail encroachment, sediment coming into the lake system,” said John Carreiro, fisheries biologist with South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks. “We’re just trying to create a better experience for the anglers.”

A new sidewalk for pedestrian access is also planned for the northern shoreline. The current walkway is close to Highway 16A.

“The sidewalk is immediately adjacent to 16A,” Severyn said. “We want to make a flat, level area, plant grass and move that sidewalk off the edge of the road.”

Severyn added that visitors can expect access restriction to the beach, shoreline and the Legion Lake Trail during construction.

Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com