Saturday, December 15, 2012

Plug Gets Pulled on Lower Woods Pond

Lower Woods Pond is part natural and part manmade.  It's the manmade part that's become the problem.

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) announced that due to concerns about the integrity of the dam that transformed this 50 acre natural lake into a 91 acre man-made lake, the lake will be drawn down to it's original size.

“Failure of the dam does not appear to be imminent, but the dam’s earthen embankment and its spillway do not meet current engineering or regulatory standards,” said Jack Rokavec, PFBC chief of engineering. “In addition, observed seepage paths may be indicative of internal erosion which could represent a serious dam safety condition.”

“The Commission takes its regulatory and public safety responsibilities very seriously,” he added. “The Commission is drawing down the reservoir to protect the lives and property of the 25 residents living downstream."

The lake is expected to drop at the rate of half a foot per day. This shrinking of the lake has caused the PFBC to lift all regulations as to size limits. creel limits and seasons on the lake through March 31, 2013. This should be an interesting place to fish with the Wild West atmosphere that could ensue.

“We have chosen to temporarily lift the regulations in order to reduce the number of fish in the lake in anticipation of a reduced lake size,” said Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management. “We want anglers to fish the water and harvest and make good use out of as many fish as they can.”

Maybe some fish relocation to other lakes in the area would have been a more sporting alternative.

Due to the draw down the boat ramp has been closed too.

Lower Woods Pond is located in Lebanon Township, Wayne County. It is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and managed by the PFBC. Construction costs to repair the facility are estimated at $2 million.

The lake’s dam is one of 11 dams managed by the PFBC which are classified by the state Department of Environmental Protection as high-hazard and unsafe. Nine of the dams do not have funding. Fixing the nine unfunded dams would cost about $43 million.