MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) - Many families are starting to make their way back to their lake homes on Lake Freeman looking forward to the summer boating season.
"Great weather, sunshine, rains during the week and not during the weekend in my case since I'm a part timer that comes up on the weekend," Paul Vink said.
"That's just started the last couple of weeks and I think a lot of it's the weather, but a lot of kids are getting out of college now and a lot of them are showing up," Gary Creigh said. "We probably have 70 percent of our boats out of storage, so it's really picked up the last couple of weeks."
Last summer is was a different story. The lower-than-normal water level on Lake Freeman exposed boaters to dangerous tree stumps, logs and sand bars normally well below the surface. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service ordered the Oakdale Dam pump more water into the Tippecanoe River to protect endangered mussels. The water level on Lake Freeman dropped a foot at one point last summer.
"I didn't have my prop hit a tree stump or anything like that that you sometimes have," Vink said. "We did take a little extra care and tried to stay in the areas that were a little bit deeper."
Shafer and Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation (SFLECC) executive director Daryl Jones said right now, thanks to all of the rain in the past weeks, the water level is back to normal. However, there's a chance that could change again this summer.
"If the mussels below Oakdale Dam get exposed that NIPSCO will have to let out 200 cubic feet per second of water and that could impact the water level up here on Lake Freeman," Jones said.
Jones said SFLECC is working with NIPSCO to create a low water level warning system. He said there are only procedures in place for high water.
Right now, boaters are just enjoying the lake.
"Trying to get things ready so that when it is warmer, hopefully in a couple of weeks we can play instead of work," Vink said.
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