State Rep. Gerald Mullery will host an open house with the Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Luzerne County Community College. A presentation will be given by the agency's black bear biologist, Mark Ternent, and PGC officials will be on hand to answer questions. For more information, call 740-7031.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced that deficiencies at Luzerne County's Mountain Springs Lake have prompted the agency to completely drain the reservoir and proceed with plans to breach the dam.
"Commission engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection routinely inspect the dam and, during a recent inspection, we found large cracks in the concrete," said Jack Rokavec, PFBC chief of engineering. "Excessive seepage has also been observed through the embankment. The dam is more than 100 years old, and was designed and built prior to current dam safety regulations and engineering standards of practice."
The drawdown is expected to begin in mid-October and may take more than a month to complete. The lake can be drained at a rate of about one foot per day, depending on weather. The actual breaching of the dam is not expected to take place until late 2013 or early 2014.
At this point, the PFBC has no plans to rebuild the dam. Agency waterways conservation officers say the lake receives minimal use, in part because of the difficulty in reaching it. The lake is accessible only by a five-mile, unpaved road through State Game Land 57. Also, agency biologists report that the lake is a poor fishery because of the acidic water. Biologists do not plan to conduct a fish salvage prior to the drawdown because of the poor condition of the fishery and because the condition of the access road prohibits them from getting the necessary equipment to the lake.
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 40-acre lake borders Ricketts Glen State Park and State Game Land 57. It was previously lowered in 1999 by approximately two feet due to structural concerns with the dam.
The PFBC announced that the Whites Ferry access area in Wyoming County is open again for public use.
The access area was closed in late July due to low water conditions, which made the launch ramp unusable. PFBC staff extended the ramp by pouring stone at the end and then placing concrete planks over the stone.
Whites Ferry provides boat access to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, six miles south of Tunkhannock on state Route 2007.
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