Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Life at lake set to return with changes

June 15, 2006

It won't be too much longer before water begins to refill Douglas County State Fishing Lake. Well, that is if it rains.

Work has progressed to the point that a date has been set for Richard Sanders of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to rid the remaining pools of any fish left before the whole process starts over.

"Richard Sanders intends to kill all of the fish remaining in the lake with rotenone on June 26," said Russell LaForce of Wildlife and Parks. "The valve will be shut on that date and the lake will start filling."

How long that will take is anyone's guess, mostly Mother Nature's. LaForce has said it will take two years for the lake to refill, but that's calculating average years. With this year's below-normal precipitation, it could be longer. Or, the rains may come and it will happen sooner.

But, it will be a new lake.

There has been a wealth of improvements made in and around the lake. Dredging has been done around many of the bank areas to improve fishing. Fish habitat has been added all around the lake, mostly with cedar trees cut from the banks and drug into the lake.

There was extensive work done on the dam, specifically the pipe used to control the lake's level, and the area's around it. New fencing has been placed in many areas and reseeding has taken place.

"The level areas below the dam have been seeded," said LaForce. " It wasn't practical for a wildlife food plot. The fencing and gates still need to be completed."

There have been new regulations put in place around the lake, including limiting camping to certain areas and -- the biggest change -- alcohol consumption is illegal. That was in response to continued trash problems at the lake and to help enforcement against underage drinking, according to KWP.

But, when all the projects are finished and the water starts to flow in and fill up the lake, it's expected to be a much nicer area.

"The project looks pretty good," he said.

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