2009-01-03 / Front Page

Lake isn't low - just normal

By Scott Rawdon

MILLERSPORT - Buckeye Lake is not low, it's just down to where it's supposed to be, for a change, said Buckeye Lake State Park Manager Tim Waln.

Several residents have recently commented that the lake's water level seems significantly lower than past winters and continues to drain. "The lake is at normal winter pool," Waln said before the Christmas week rain. "The only water going out is because water continues to flow into the lake." Winter pool is about three feet lower than summer water levels.

Waln said it's possible to drop water levels below winter pool, but there are no plans to do so. Construction work at the North Shore Boat Ramp only requires the normal winter draw down, he said.

"It's been down to winter pool the last several years but only in brief stints," said Waln. "Various times in the winter we usually get enough precipitation to bring the lake up." Two years ago, debris clogged the spillway gate and then froze, causing the lake to drain very slowly. The lake reached winter pool Dec. 15 and will begin to refill for summer March 1, 2009.

While winter pools - or lake draw downs - happen for reasons as varied as flood control to wildlife habitat management in other lakes, Rick Carter, District 1 fish management supervisor, explains that Buckeye Lake's draw down is only for the sake of dock maintenance and to protect docks from damage caused by freezing and thawing ice. The lower water level allows the state and private residents to repair and maintain docks during winter so they'll be ready for summer use, he said.

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