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Ohio To Let Buckeye Lake Rise To Usable Level Amid Dam Work

Olivia Miltner
89.7 NPR News
Buckeye Lake is ready for boating and recreational activities to resume.

State officials today delivered welcome news for boaters and business owners at Buckeye Lake. The lake's water levels are returning to normal a year ahead of schedule.

Regular boating and recreational activity can resume with water levels just a foot shy of the normal summer depths.

Buckeye Lake's 4.1-mile earthen dam is nearly 180 years old. It's been weakened by several hundred homes, docks and other structures built into it, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded the dam was at risk of failing.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources director Jim Zehringer says that comes as a huge relief to local business and residents.

Read: Businesses At The Buckeye Lake Get Relief From Rising Water Levels

"The addition two feet gets us better accessibility, for recreational opportunity and it also gives us more shore access," Zehringer said. "So this new lake level can allow more boats on the water, and hopefully provide the opportunity for Buckeye Lake business to return to some normalcy."


Construction of a stability berm for the dam was completed early, and this has allowed the lake to be filled with an additional 2 ft. of water. The support from the stability berm and seepage barrier is temporary, and the full reconstruction won't be finished until 2019.

"Now this will allow us to safely raise the water level two feet this means that I have the opportunity to stand here today and say that the gates have been closed," Zehringer said.