Chapman draw-down slated for 2015

Details are starting to come together regarding a significant dam repair at Chapman State Park that will require a drawdown of the reservoir.

While no firm date is in place for the start of the work, officials are zeroing in on next April.

Chapman State Park Manager Tyson Martin explained on Monday, “The consulting firm that is gathering the information (and doing) all the biologic research is also the ones applying for all the permits.”

Once the permits are in hand, the work can go out to bid, he said, meaning that they “don’t technically have a start date.”

But the permit applications include an estimated start date, Martin said, and the applications indicate that officials are “expecting April 2015 for the start of the drawdown,” he noted. “Beyond that is just a guess.”

“The project is two-fold,” he added, noting the work on the dam as well as other improvements can be completed while the water is down.

Regarding the dam, state Department of Conservation and Natural Resource press staff said last October that the project will include overtopping protection for the downstream dam embankment, rehab of the control tower and improvements to the spillway.

Martin outlined the other improvements.

He said they are “taking that opportunity to dredge the lake while the water is down and (that) should be done mid-summer, August at the latest.”

Once the lake has been dredged, Martin said the portions of the reservoir outside of the dam construction zone would reopen in an attempt “to keep open as much as we could.” That will include opening the basin to the public.

“We anticipate being able to keep the campground open,” he added, but said that the tenting area, beach and boat mooring areas will be closed.

Environmental programs and the amphitheater would be unaffected by the work.

Other improvements will make anglers happy fish habitat work.

“What we would like to do,” Martin said, “there is some natural and artificial fish habitat currently…. Once the water goes down, those are going to be just sitting there.” He said they will work to gather, repair and then “place them strategically where we want them (and) anchor them so they don’t slide around so when the water comes down, (they) will be right where we want it.”

The beach will also see some improvements.

The ADA access dock was “a great intention,” Martin said, but “doesn’t fit the need currently. It will look more like a boat ramp (with) sidewalks that stay at grade under the water.”

All the improvements not related to the dam is an effort to “take advantage of the opportunity we have with the water down,” he added.

The park originally opened in 1951. According to the Chapman State Park website, the first land for the park was acquired in 1949 and a dam was constructed near an old earthen dam of the Bucher Mill Log Pond, which dates back to Bucher’s Mill, which was built about 1849.