Friday, January 06, 2006

Will Prospect Lake ever be the way it was?

QUESTION: We are so happy that Prospect Lake is now filled.
But it doesn’t appear that it is even close to being filled to the same level as it was before the drought. The water is pretty far from the bank around the lake.
Will it always be like that or what is considered a full level for the lake?
- Steve M.

ANSWER: Depending on this winter’s snowpack, Prospect Lake could be filled this spring to “just inches” from what it was in the past, according to parks director Paul Butcher. “Our charge was to bring the lake back to what it was in the past and, by golly, that’s what we’re going to do.”

By the summer aquatic season the boat ramp and the fishing ramp for the disabled can be used, he says.

There are restrictions on how high the water in Prospect Lake can be. Butcher says the state dam engineer won’t allow it to top 6,068 feet elevation.
It was filled to one vertical foot below that maximum capacity and that foot will be added. Why the elevation restriction? Prospect Lake is a dam and every dam is classified according to what is downstream, Butcher says. Because of this, most dams — even the newest ones — are classified “high risk” simply because of where they’re situated, what’s nearby and what the consequences would be in the unlikely situation something were to happen. Prospect Lake’s “high risk” designation puts a cap on how much water it can hold.

Butcher says the relining of Prospect Lake has been successful so far. “In the past we lost horizontal feet of water from shoreline when we tried to refill. Now we’ve lost 4/10ths of a foot over 51 acres and 40 percent of that is surface evaporation, so that new liner is working.”


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