Club, county, DNR to meet about dam repairs


The Huntingburg Conservation Club has submitted a plan to the state for making repairs to reopen County Road 100 West and keeping its lake.

Representatives of the club, Dubois County and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will meet in March to go over some details DNR wants changed.

“We have a plan that’s stamped by an engineer, and it’s already had some review,” Club President Bernie Main said Wednesday. “They want to talk about some modifications. But that is what we expected.”

The plan calls for repairing the middle of the dam and moving the spillway to the north end of the dam, Main explained. Doing that would preserve the lake and county road.

Heavy rains that hit the area in late April and early May 2017 exposed a problem with the dam’s drainage. Because there was too much rain for the dam to handle, the water washed away some of the bank around the dam and underneath County Road 100 West. For safety reasons, the lake and the section of County Road 100 West that includes the dam were closed indefinitely until repairs can be made. The repairs must be up to state standards since the lake and dam are taller than 20 feet.

State officials did not want the spillway to be put back in as it was before. “If we had a failure or had any problems, it would always be at the center of the dam,” Main said. “They wanted to see it on the north end or the south end of the dam. So we redesigned so that it would be on the north end.”

Dubois County Engineer Brent Wendholt said that plan would solve the issues.

“It’s a legitimate plan to repair the dam, and the plan looks good,” Wendholt told the Dubois County Commissioners this week. “It’s definitely steps in the right direction.”

Main did not want to try and give an estimated cost or timeline for the repairs, since the plan has not been officially approved by DNR and could change some after the March meeting.

“We don’t know what we will have to do for a total fix, and what they are going to ask us to do,” he said. “One of the things they discussed with us is possibly doing this in stages, to make this more affordable for us. That way, we’d be able to get the county road open first, because that’s the main priority.”

In the meantime, the club has been keeping the water level lower than the problem area.

“We’ve drained the lake a quarter of an inch, trying to keep up with the rains,” Main said. “Of course, we haven’t had much cooperation from Mother Nature. She keeps pouring it on us.”

The club has been looking for funding to help pay for the cost, including talking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about possible loans and grants. Club members are also working on fundraisers and seeking possible donors.

Main believes a solution will be worked out and the lake and county road will be preserved.

“We knew this wasn’t going to be an overnight thing,” he said. “But we’re going in the right direction.”

Those interested in helping the club can reach the club through its Facebook page or by calling 812-639-4527.

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