Lake Freeman low water level issue goes to court

A local environmental group serving White and Carroll Counties is waiting to hear a court's decision on low water levels on Lake Freeman.

Posted: Oct 28, 2020 8:23 AM
Updated: Nov 10, 2020 2:27 PM

WHITE & CARROLL COUNTIES, Ind. (WLFI)— Shafer Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation held oral arguments with U.S. Fish and Wildlife on October 5th in Washington D.C. Both groups are waiting on a decision and are hoping it'll come within 30 to 60 days but it could take up to nearly a year. 

As News 18 previously reported Lake Freeman levels are down more than 10 feet and continues to drop. In court, SFLECC argued that U.S. Fish and Wildlife's mandate was erroneously passed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in part with the Endangered Species Act. 

The mandate requires NIPSCO to keep water flowing toward the Oakdale Dam to preserve what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife says are endangered mussels. John Kopplemann with SFLECC said it's a problem that is fixable with co-operation from U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

"When we are in a drought there's no water coming in so water is not going to go out," said Koppelmann. "We aren't reservoirs, we aren't flood control. It's just plain dammed up lakes and so essentially run of the river lakes and we are trying to push more for run of the river."

It's important to note that SFLECC does not want endangered mussels to die and wants to work to preserve the species as well. 

If things work out in SFLECC's favor it hopes to create a plan with U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The plan would be a compromise to keep the mussels safe and Lake Freeman levels where they should be. 

For more information click here. 

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