Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meadow Grounds Lake: The Draw-down Continues

The draw-down of the Meadow Grounds Lake continues according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission plan.  Note the dark line on the breast wall denoting normal pool level.
While the PFBC kept their plans to drain the lake secret nearly until the first stop logs were removed their secrecy and indifference to local concerns has caused rumors as to the "real reasons" for the draw-down to abound.  The stated reasons for the draining is that with the ongoing seepage, seepage that has been happening for all or nearly all of the lake's fifty year history, that the possibility of a "sunny day" dam failure exist.  Secondly, according to current Pennsylvania DEP regulations the spillway is inadequate.
The most recent development comes with the Fulton County Commissioner's release of a dam inspection report.  The county commissioners contracted with CES Engineering, LLC to inspected the Meadow Grounds dam and to issue their findings.  While the commissioners had the results of the study in hand prior to the public meeting a month ago they did not make the findings public, allowing the PFBC time to reconsider their actions.  As the PFBC is continuing with their original plan the commissioners have now released CES's findings.  To read the the dam inspection report and the findings click here.
The PFBC remedy is to drain the lake, relocate what fish they are able to capture, and destroy the remaining aquatic community that resides here.  It is very likely that heavy sedimentation will occur down stream as the lake finishes draining as well as after each rain until the lake bed becomes vegetated.

Red-spotted Newts
As I walked along the shoreline today I noticed dozens of pairs of red-spotted newts at the water's edge.  It appeared that they were engaged in mating.

A photograph from the northern access point shows just how much shorter the lake has become; the tree line marks the normal shoreline.

A few pairs of Ring-necked Ducks were hanging out along the eastern side of the lake; these were the only ducks I spotted during today's visit.
I hate to think that the PFBC is draining this lake and destroying the aquatic community needlessly.  If the lake can be saved and repaired as cheaply ($100,000 plus cost of spillway improvment ) and as simply as stated by CES (please follow the links and read the report if you haven't done so already) why does the PFBC continue with their current program (estimated at 2.3-3 million with no money to do the repairs)?
I don't know who is right but it certainly would be nice if the PFBC would explain why their way is best.  My impression from the public meeting was that the PFBC has a plan to drain the lake, and they will follow their plan, because it is their dam, and they will do what they dam(n) well please! 

1 comment:

Lindsjö taxar said...

I really hope it will be a descision for keeping the lake. Its so beautiful