LAKE AREA – As Buckeye Lake’s water level hopefully rises in coming months since the Buckeye Lake Village spillway was closed May 26, it will be able to accommodate larger watercraft and there will be increased accessibility to docks, canals, and businesses. However, the speed zones and other rules will not change from what they are today.
“Speed limits on the water will be the same as last year,” said ODNR spokesperson Matt Eiselstein. “There is a speed zone, which is on our website, where from sunrise to sunset has no speed restrictions. Any type of boat is allowed to be in that area. The rest of the lake is a no wake zone. Towed sports are prohibited for safety reasons since we will be aggressively dredging the lake. We recommend you use caution at all times.”
ODNR has designated and marked a specific speed zone area on the western portion of the lake to allow boaters to operate power craft at greater than idle speed.
The speed zone area is in effect from sunrise to sunset. The speed zone becomes a no wake zone each day from sunset to sunrise for all boating operations.
Eiselstein said the lake never closed. “Paddlers, anglers and some boats have been on the lake throughout construction,” he said. ODNR will continue to update the Buckeye Lake website and provide updates to the advisory group and residents that have signed up for email notification on the progress being made at the lake.
As Buckeye Lake becomes more accommodating to boaters, Eiselstein said the North Shore boat ramp is open to boaters and the intention is to open at least one ramp at Lieb’s Island.
Thought it is not surprising given recent temperatures, the lake level is about one half of an inch lower than it was two weeks ago when the Buckeye Lake Village spillway was closed off. Recent rain was insufficient to overcome evaporation losses from the recent mid-80’s to 90’s temperatures.
Eiselstein said any discussion of rebuilding docks along the dam would come at a later time. “We are in the planning process for Phase II of the dam project,” he said. “This phase is scheduled for completion in 2019. There will be a time for public input on the dock process, but right now the completion of the dam is the top priority.”
According to the June 6 construction update from ODNR, summer work includes additional work on the cutoff wall at various locations, removal of the yellow turbidity curtain in the water and by winter, the old dam will be cleared of patios, flagpoles and other defects. The chain-link safety fence will remain in place.