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Pumping brings local lake levels down

Luke Froncheck

Staff Writer

Pumping from Crooked Lake isn't filling a nearby detention pond, Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull said.

About 9 inches of water has been removed from the lake and pumped into the much smaller pond on the other side of Delton Road. Initially, Dull conservatively estimated that they could take 3 inches off Crooked Lake and pump it into the pond. A month later, pumping continues, and there is still 15 feet of space left. The lake is currently at 927.4 feet, down from its 928.2-foot high point earlier this summer.

Engineers have been able to take off so much water that they’ve recently replaced the 8-inch pump with a larger 12-inch pipe.

“When we shut the pump down to change it from the 8-inch pump to the 12-inch one, the pond … went down 8 inches,” Dull said. “There’s got to be a gravel vein down there.”

“Since that day a week ago, we’ve taken another 1 1/4 inches off the lake.”

With the water level dropping, the lake is now within a foot of its level at the time of the Board of Determination meeting last summer. At that time, many Crooked Lake property owners didn’t want a flooding relief project on their lake, Dull said.

He added that the lack of ground saturation is allowing for recent rain events to have minimal effect on lake levels. And that allows for the water to seep into the ground rather than running off into the lakes, Dull said. The ground is not nearly as saturated as it was in the spring.

“We’re getting a lot of rain, but we’re not getting a downpour,” he said.

Dull said he also expects more water to come off area lakes in the coming months due to seasonal evaporation.

“We’ve gotten into our 'good evaporations' months,” he said.

Dull said most evaporation occurs in August, September, October and sometimes November. The best conditions for evaporation is when the water is warm, and the air is cool.

Cloverdale Lake is down 15 inches, to the point that the pump and cones on M-43 near the lake could be removed, he said. If the water gets high again, the pump could be quickly retrieved and re-installed, he said.

“Right now, Cloverdale Lake’s level is at the top of a 10-inch pipe installed by the DNR in 1992,” Dull said.

His intention is to continue to bring the water down on the lake until it reaches the bottom of that pipe.

Long Lake is down 4 inches from when they began pumping into it from Cloverdale, he said.

Dull said he hasn’t received any new complaints regarding lake flooding.

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