Weekend rain no answer for Lake Freeman levels

Lake Freeman (WLFI Photo/Holly Campbell)
Lake Freeman (WLFI Photo/Holly Campbell)

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s business as usual on Lake Shafer except for some rain and clouds. Only a few miles away water levels on Lake Freeman are putting limits on boaters and businesses as lowering levels are not seeing improvement.

“At the Oakdale Dam we are about 18.48 inches below the normal operating level for Lake Freeman,” NIPSCO Director of External Communications Nick Meyer said.

As News 18 previously reported, NIPSCO is mandated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to pump more water into the Tippecanoe River to protect endangered mussels. That and the lack of rain have brought Freeman’s water levels down.

Meyer said last week the point of measurement of the flow out of the dam moved closer to the dam which showed some uptick in levels.

“It did take a dip through the weekend, and we’ve kind of come back up a little bit,” Meyer said. “But we are really not expecting to see much change without heavy rainfall.”

Meyer said NIPSCO has an eye on Lake Safer. He said right now it does not look like levels will be affected on the lake.

Michael Triplett owns Lighthouse Lodge Bed and Breakfast on Lake Shafer. He’s seen Freeman businesses taking hits since the levels dropped. He said lowering Shafer’s levels would be catastrophic to the area’s economy.

“Lake Freeman is a larger volume than Lake Shafer,” Triplett said. “If they lowered Lake Shafer a foot, it would maybe raise Lake Freeman eight to nine inches. Lake Freeman is down over two feet, so it wouldn’t do any good. All you would do is have both lakes out of commission.”

“Certainly, without sustainable rainfall as Lake Freeman continues to go down at some point you would expect some kind of impact on Lake Shafer,” Meyer said. “We have not seen that yet.”

It looks like the main way to solve this water crisis is with more water in the form of rain.

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