Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lack of Funding Stands in Way of Refilling Butler County Lake


The immediate news was not good.

Located in southern Butler County, the 52-acre lake was drained after a May 17 inspection found its dam to be leaking. It's a dry hole now, and -- while the commission has said it plans to refill it eventually -- it will remain empty until the $4.2 million needed for repairs can be found. It will likely take a while to get it, if history is any guide.

Gary Moore, legislative liaison for the commission, said Glade Run is one of just 16 "high-hazard" dams managed by the commission. Three others were drained previously: Opossum Lake in Cumberland County, Leaser Lake in Lehigh County and Dutch Fork Lake in Washington County.
All are now in various states of repair, with a groundbreaking at Dutch Fork on Monday. But in each case, the lapse between draining the lakes and refilling them will have taken about five years, Moore said.

"And that's what's probably true for Glade Run Lake, too," he said.
That's not what the crowd wanted to hear. "We just want our lake back," one woman said.
The commission again is in the process of draining Upper and Lower Hereford Manor lakes in Beaver County because of problems with their dams.

A local group -- the Hereford Manor LaZke Conservancy and Watershed Group Inc. -- formed two years ago in an attempt to save the lakes. It's since elected a board and named officers, developed a website, created paid memberships, even recruited corporate sponsors. It's actively seeking solutions.

"Jim Norton (a board member) and I attended a meeting last week with the Fish and Boat Commission and the Beaver County Conservation District regarding the future of the Hereford Manor Lake region. We anticipate having a meeting of the conservancy very soon to update everyone on current events," said president John Ball.

The people behind the refurbishing of Dutch Fork Lake, meanwhile, are also looking for money to repair Canonsburg Lake and Duke Lake, the now-dry centerpiece of Ryerson Station State Park, said Donna Riggle, secretary of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association.
So the folks concerned about Glade Run -- a Friends group made its debut Thursday -- have some catching up to do, and some money to find.

"The situation is a prioritization of funding, and the money's not there yet," Metcalfe said

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