DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A $4.4 million, 20-year effort to restore the 781-acre Big Creek Lake north of Des Moines has been launched.

The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is joining the state agriculture department, local soil and water conservation officials, and area landowners for the project. The effort's estimated $4.4 million price tag will be paid for with a combination of state and private money.

The lake has been plagued by fecal bacteria and toxic algae the past few years and is shrinking, having lost 7 percent of its volume to siltation over the past 18 years.

Despite its problems, the lake is an economic boon. An Iowa State University study found the lake generates $19 million a year in economic activity and supports 233 jobs.