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Lincoln Pond residents, DEC discuss Kingdom Dam

ELIZABETHTOWN More than 40 members of the Lincoln Pond Association met on July 12 to discuss the future of the Kingdom Dam. The dam, which holds back the water of Lincoln Pond, is in need of repair or replacement, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been charged with solving the problem. Tom Martin, regional forester for the DEC, visited the meeting to explain the current plan for the dam, answer questions about the project, and take suggestions from the landowners. Martin explained that the dam is tipping downstream and has begun to slide on the bedrock. If no work is done on the dam, the possibility for a sudden breach is eminent. Though the DEC often favors slowly taking apart old dams and leaving a natural flow of water, Martin said, in the case of the Kingdom Dam, building a new dam is the current plan of action. According to Martin, work on the dam must be done in the summer when there will be minimal health and safety issues for workers. Also, the lake must be partially drained to reduce pressure on a temporary coffer dam. The bad news is youre going to have a summer probably without access to the lake. The good news is that when the project is done, youre going to have a full pond, he told LPA members. Martin recommended replacing the current gated dam with a run-a-river system that would allow for a more natural flow of water and wouldnt require as much management. Many of the landowners expressed concern over Martins suggestion that the new dam could be built to allow for a lower lake level. Theres way too much money thats been invested in this place, said Laura Garrison. If you start reducing our water, its going to kill off a lot of things. Its going to kill off a lot of activities. People will be without waterfront. Waterfront properties will become sludge-front properties. The goal, Martin explained, is to rebuild the dam with a larger spillway with the intention of reducing fluxuation in the lake level. Martin said this will make for a healthier lake with less chance for property damage. What we need to do is understand what we want as a collective voice; what we want the level to be, said LPA co-president Doug Spilling, who expressed appreciation for the residents being included in the decision-making process. Both Martin and Spilling considered the meeting a success. I learned some stuff today that will make a difference with the way [the project] gets managed, said Martin. Martin estimated that work on the project could commence in either 2009 or 2010.

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