What’s Happening at Silver Lake?

“Oh, they have destroyed it.”

That is what one recent visitor to Silver Lake Regional Park in Haymarket commented, as she walked to the platform on the shoreline.  She saw a landscape of mud and old trees, with leaves rotting away at the bottom of what was once a beautiful lake.

silverlake.png

Silver Lake, January 15, 2016

Silver Lake has been drained for a dam rehabilitation project. Like all construction projects, it is aesthetically chaotic, even ugly.  It does not resemble the “jewel in western Prince William,” as promised when the county decided to have the Park Authority manage the 230-acre site in 2009.

Prince William County government has a reputation of bulldozing first and checking for natural  and cultural resources after the fact or not at all. Two citizen members of the Historical Commission resigned in protest last September, after the county decided to build a fire station on top of a family cemetery.

At Silver Lake itself, the Prince William County Department of Parks & Recreation has ignored the presence of vernal pools essential for frog and salamander breeding, and expanded a horse trail to create a dirt road for patrol vehicles through that special habitat.

However, in this case the draining of the lake is both essential and temporary.

slake

Silver Lake Regional Park is located on the western edge of Prince William County

The 29-foot high earthen dam at Silver Lake is classified as having High Hazard Potential.  It must be reconstructed to conform to Virginia’s Dam Safety Regulations.  The spillway is being replaced so a heavy storm will not cause the dam to break and flood homes downstream.

newspillway.png

replacing the old spillway (left) required draining Silver Lake

The lake has been lowered to construct needed control structures and provide additional storage to prevent flooding. There are concerns about impacts to aquatic life;  the lowering of the water level during the winter months was intended to help minimize those impacts.

Work on the Silver Lake dam is expected to be completed in June 2016.  Cost is budgeted at $2.5 million.

silverlake2

water will be restored to Silver Lake once the dam repair is finished in Summer, 2016

Advertisements

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: