PDT Staff Writer
As a part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) annual work plan for Shawnee State Forest for fiscal year 2013, Chrun Creek Lake and Shawnee Lake are slated to drained.
Nate Jester, District Manager for ODNR Division of Forestry says the lakes are becoming a safety hazard.
“There’s been some issues that have been identified at each of those lakes. At Churn Creek Lake, there is a slip in the dam and the dam is eroding. Water is seeping through the dam,” Jester said. “I can’t express how important pubic safety is. So, we have put into our work plan that we are going to possibly breach and drain that lake and restore that stream channel to original drainage.”
He said ODNR is also trying to find a solution to remedy the problem.
“Our primary goal is to fix the levy, fix the slip and leave the lake intact and functioning,” Jester said. “If that does not workout and we still have a public safety concern, then we would breach it.”
He said in the case of Shawnee Lake or Pond Lick Lake, “Engineers have identified that, the lake could be unable to handle a high rain flow event. Basically, the engineers have identified that lake is not up to par for current safety standards. There is currently an analysis going on to determine if the levee could be repaired or if it will be breached and returned to the normal stream channel.”
He said if that is the case engineers will look at what physically needs to happen to that levee to bring it up to speed with modern standards. He said at the same time they will look at what it would cost to make that happen.
“Both of the lakes are public safety concerns. There is no imminent threat but there are definitely concerns and they need addressed,” Jester said.
The Save Our Shawnee Forest organization haas voiced a concern over the possibilities of the lakes being breached.
“Members of the Save Our Shawnee Forest Organization believe that these lakes are a very important part of the history of Shawnee Forest and deserved to be saved,” the organization stated in a released statement.
“These lakes are a very important part of our history. I can tell you a lot of stories about things I did at that lake when I was younger and things I do there now with my grand kids,” said Bill Tipton, a member of Save Our Shawnee Forest.
Jester said there has been no time table established as to when a decision would be made to fix the levees or to breach the lakes.
Jester said there are five lakes within Shawnee State Forest, Bear Lake, Churn Creek Lake, McBride Lake, Pond Lick Lake and Wolfden Lake.
Tipton said the plan of Save Our Shawnee Forest will begin a letter writing campaign to state officials including state representative, state senator among many others.
“We are going to see what we can do help people understand how important it is that these lakes be saved,” Tipton said.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.