By: Eric Levis, Pa. Fish and Boat Commission Press Secretary
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that deficiencies in the dam at Fulton County’s Meadow Grounds Lake have prompted the agency to initiate plans to completely drain the reservoir until the dam can be rehabilitated to meet current engineering and safety standards.
“Commission engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection routinely inspect the dam, and during a recent inspection in December we found that existing seepage in the dam has become more severe,” said Andy Shiels, PFBC Deputy Director of Operations. “The condition of the dam’s structural integrity necessitates that a complete drawdown of the lake be performed so that further testing and analyses can be conducted.”
The drawdown is expected to begin the first week of March and may take up to three months to complete. The lake will be drained at a rate of about two feet per week, depending on weather.
The lake will be drawn down indefinitely until funding can be identified and secured to make the necessary repairs. At this point, the PFBC does not have the money to make the repairs at this facility.
PFBC biologists are currently devising a fish salvage plan to remove and relocate as many fish as possible. Although fish salvages generally save a large number of fish, a significant amount will also perish, added Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management.
“We will collect as many fish as we can through netting and electro-fishing, but it is impossible to capture all of them,” he said. “Fish die during any drawdown and salvage effort. Many hide around structures where we simply can’t reach them, and others become buried in the mud when they are slow to exit the lake with the remaining water. Anglers and the general public should expect to see this.”
The lake will remain open to public use until the water level reaches a point where it may be unsafe for anglers. At that point the lake will be closed and signs will be posting alerting anglers of the closing.
The 204-acre lake is located on State Game Lands 53 in Ayr Township, Fulton County. The dam and lake areas are leased to the PFBC by the Pennsylvania Game Commission
Source: Pa. Fish and Game Commission