1. What has PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) done since the June 2016 sink hole developed on the east end of Children’s Lake?
Answer: The initial sink hole repair was within PFBC’s budget. In August, after the initial repair plan became untenable (due to the limestone wall failure on the east end), PFBC spent $50K on an engineering study to determine the scope and initial repair estimate of $1.8M. Study results came out in March, and will complement the next Design Phase.
2. What about the other dam (smaller one) in the lake---does that need to be repaired?
Answer: The entire dam needs replacing because it does not meet current DEP requirements, which include mitigation for storm water runoff. This dam was not designed to accommodate both storm water runoff plus the springs in order to prevent flooding and a dam breach over or under Bucher Hill Rd.
3. What specifically is wrong with the dam itself?
1) its capacity for storm water and spring water does not meet DEP requirements.
2) no DEP permit.
3) the sink hole, ‘piping’ and spillway inspection, and collapse of the limestone wall all indicate that the dam is in very poor condition. That said, it has not been deemed ‘unsafe’. We are truly one bad inspection away from a drained lake. The lake would remain drained until Construction Phase (see #4).
4. Is there a timeline starting with garnering funds?
Answer: GREAT NEWS! as of 4/27/17
funds are now in place for the $400K Design Phase—9 months. Money from 3 private donors, SM Township and PFBC has put us on a fast-track. Construction Phase is a 4-6 month process, but even with fast-tracking of funds and permits the earliest estimate for repair is Winter 2018/2019. The remainder of the funds must be secured to proceed. This year’s State Budget includes a line item for our dam replacement and repair of the collapsed wall. HUGE thanks to Senator Mike Regan and his staff. Approval of the budget does not mean the money is guaranteed. Next step is to ensure the money is ‘appropriated’. There is NO money in the Capital Budget line item to address habitat.
5. What would be the effects on wildlife in and around the Lake and in the Yellow Breeches during the construction?
Answer: Design Phase will reveal more information, but as of right now, the lake must unfortunately be drained for at least a few months in order to replace the dam. There is NO money in the Capital Budget line item to address habitat rehabilitation. This is where grants, corporate sponsorship and fundraising can be very effective. That said, our #1 priority is dam replacement. Without the dam, there is no lake. Lake--Because of the 20+ springs that feed the lake from two areas, some grasses and aquatic plants and microorganisms will survive, but many aquatic microorganisms and plants will die. There is an underwater invasive plant that has been a problem in the lake, and this is an opportunity to plant better grasses. Ducks and geese only require a water source, but the overpopulation of domestics add to the risk of algal blooms and disease outbreak (PA Dept of Agriculture assessment). Yellow Breeches — spring water will continue to flow into the YB. The draining of the lake must be carefully managed due to the water volume, silt in the lake, and effects on ‘The Run’. Do we think water will continue to flow in the Run??? The Design Phase (engineering study) will have additional info. PFBC understands that this is a priority.
6. What are other areas of the lake that need work? Silt removal—very costly, possibly $400K, and time-consuming due to permits for where to put the silt. The last silt removal was done in 1995. Other work: storm drains directly entering the lake, habitat and cover, aerators (oxygen poor water). Other communities have added a wheelchair accessible pier. What will happen to the "Race" (along Race street) during this timeframe?
Answer: Right now there is a reduced flow of water in ‘the Race’. This would remain unless there is a further problem with dam (such as additional dam/spillway degradation, sink holes, water in the Mill, etc), in which case the lake will be drained until ‘ construction phase', and the outflow water would be diverted to the other dam and the outflow area between the swimming pool and the mill.