CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – While the water levels on Lake Shafer have dramatically dropped, downstream on Lake Freeman the levels appear to be back to normal after weeks of being low.
NIPSCO officials said the rain overnight is a bigger cause to the current situation, but others say levels may soon start to drop again.
“I got up this morning at 4:30 and it was floating out on the lake,” Carroll County Commissioner John Brown said.
Brown lives on Lake Freeman and had to fetch his personal watercraft Friday morning after he said six inches of rain fell overnight. He said the low lake levels in the past couple of weeks have slowed lake traffic, affected businesses, and has left property owners with several concerns.
“People don’t realize that 33 percent of the tax base in Carroll County comes out of Jefferson Township. If the homeowners get their homes reassessed, which they should if it’s not a lake home anymore, it’s going to be devastating for Carroll County as far as our tax base,” said Brown.
As News 18 has been reporting, the federal government mandates that Oakdale Dam keeps its water flow of 500 cubic feet per second down the Tippecanoe River to protect endangered mussels. That’s caused levels on Freeman to be dramatically lower for the last several weeks. It took less than 24 to go right back to normal.
“It looks to be a much-improved situation and looks to be a much more positive horizon here,” said Nick Meyer, director of external communications for NIPSCO.
Meyer said the open flood gate at the Norway Dam played a role because that dam is upstream from Freeman. However, he said the rain overnight played a larger role.
Meyer said future rainfall will help determine if the level stays up. But County EMA Director Dana Jeffries said, Freeman residents should expect levels to start dropping again.
“Once they get this gate fixed, Lake Shafer should return to its normal levels and the Oakdale will still be maintaining the flow and Lake Freeman will drop then,” said Jeffries.
Brown hopes that’s not the case.
“You would think six inches of water would keep the lake level up,” said Brown.