Meadville Tribune

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January 11, 2013

Don't expect Tamarack refill anytime soon

MEADVILLE — The major roadblock in efforts to restore and refill Tamarack Lake has officially been passed, according to representatives of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, who explain that any upcoming difficulties will merely take time to resolve.

Possibly a long time.

With an approximate $11.8 million grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority in hand, the PFBC’s next step is an optimistic 18-month stretch to enter a contracting agreement, plan and design appropriate repairs, and secure the necessary permits, according to Brian Barner, PFBC deputy director of administration.

“We’re good to go on the funding front,” he said. “The 18 months leads up to a contract letting point. Then begins the 30-month process from the contracting period to the project’s completion.”

Overall, the Tamarack Lake repair project is expected to take at least four years from planning to construction before state and local officials have a better idea of when the lake can safely collect water.

Necessary repairs include erosion areas around the outlet conduit pipe as well as voids in the dams and discolored water seepage, believed to contain sandy materials.

“Dam A (at the Meadville, or north, end of the lake) is more problematic than dam B, but both are covered by grand funds,” said Barner. Four miles long and a half-mile wide, the 562-acre manmade reservoir in south-central Crawford County is four miles southeast of Meadville. It was built in the mid-1960s to help control possible flooding of nearby French Creek.

The Department of Environmental Protection can take 12 months to approve or disapprove construction designs, but PFBC representatives are hopeful that Tamarack’s flood control aspect will expedite the process.

“We were extremely excited to hear that (PFBC received the grant),” said Devin DeMario, PFBC legislative liaison, emphasizing the flood control project got Tamarack quicker funding. “Other state dams are not so lucky.”

Barner and DeMario held a conference Thursday afternoon in Meadville’s Masonic Building to inform local officials and organizations regarding the restoration project’s current state, as well as to address questions or concerns.

Among those in attendance were Pam Green, legislative liaison to Sen. Bob Robbins, Rep. Brad Roae and the Friends of Tamarack Lake.

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