The long-awaited work has begun in earnest on repairing the City of Berkeley Lake's dam which was damaged in the historic floods of September 2009.
On March 19, North Berkeley Lake Road was closed while repair work to the dam is complete. The project is expected to be finished February 2013.
The ordeal began shortly after the rains subsided. Cracks were discovered on the top of the dam by a maintenance crew that was mowing the area after the historic rainfall. The earthen dam, built in 1948, is one of the largest in the state.
Berkeley Lake's city leaders applied to FEMA for disaster relief in early 2010 for the $3.55 million estimated repairs needed but it would take two years before funds were released.
Now that the FEMA funds have been released, construction on the dam has begun. The water level of the 88-acre lake has been reduced dramatically exposing the lake bed and leaving the surrounding docks and boats high and dry.
Berkeley Lake's mayor, Lois Salter announced to the 2,000 residents of this town, which was incorporated in 1956, what to expect in the coming months:
"This spring and summer we’ll be removing the current dam embankment and relocating utilities.
"By late summer and into the fall we’ll be hauling in new soil that has been tested and approved as appropriate for dam construction. We’ll be installing hydraulic structures, monitoring wells, and instrumentation. We’ll be raising and repaving [North Berkeley Lake] road, and building a sidewalk along side."
A pump system was installed to draw the lake down to make the repairs to the dam. An update on the city's website stated that when the water level reaches a certain point, the contractor will remove the fish.
What's not certain, is what's going to happen to all of the fish in Lake Berkeley. Perhaps a good old-fashioned fish fry would be just the thing.