Monday, July 28, 2008

Great News for Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake restoration moving forward
StoryDiscussionFont Size: Default font size Larger font size BY MELANIE CSEPIGA
Times Correspondent | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | 2 comment(s)

CEDAR LAKE | Dredging will be one component of a federal ecosystem restoration and enhancement project on Cedar Lake, but how much sediment will be removed from the lake remains to be seen.

After reviewing the recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draft document on the project and hearing Town Council concerns, consultant Kay Whitlock is expected to make some recommendations when the council meets at 7 p.m. July 29.

"It recommends a whole array of features to be combined, so it's not just dredging," Whitlock, of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Crown Point, said of the draft document.

Using special software, the Corps mixed and matched elements of the project to achieve the highest environmental value at the best price, Whitlock said, noting that the results, for now, include planting vegetation on the shoreline and under water, fish management, treatment of contaminants and dredging.

Bob Gross, president of the Cedar Lake Enhancement Association, the grassroots group that started restoration planning, said he is happy the project is moving along.

"I know the council is reviewing it. With the land purchase we made, we want to get more sediment out than the Corps recommended," he said.

The town has purchased 114 acres to the south on which to place sediment removed from the town namesake lake. A portion of the land eventually would be capped and serve as a park, officials have said.

Whitlock said it was her impression July 15 when she presented the Corps' draft document to the town council that at least some members want to see a greater amount of sediment removed through dredging. That concern will be reflected in her recommendation, she said.

Whitlock, whose area of expertise lies with federally-funded projects, said developing a contract and cost-sharing is not as clear-cut as people might expect.

"Negotiating this kind of contract with the federal government is very sensitive," she said, adding that she has personally been impressed by the value the project holds for the region.

A detailed, public review of the project, funded through federal and state dollars garnered by Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., and state Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, is scheduled for the fall.

Gross said the Corps will present the project during a Nov. 7 fundraiser at the After Four Club in Cedar Lake.