City officials in Decatur say they are releasing large quantities of water out of Lake Decatur that could lead to flooding and other problems along the Sangamon River.
The city said in a news release Friday that water flowing down the river and snowmelt have led to high water in the lake. Lake Decatur sits on the eastern edge of the central Illinois town. The lake is fed by the Sangamon River. The river then flows out of the lake and eventually winds its way west toward Springfield.
The City of Decatur has ended its voluntary request for water conservation. That request was first made last October as Lake Decatur levels dropped due to the drought.
But city leaders say it has risen two feet from its low point this winter and they anticipate additional rain in the next few weeks will bring the level higher. The lake reached a low point of 610.31 feet above sea level (50% full) on January 10. But it now is above 612 feet (73%). That is within the normal winter range.
The latest round of work on the Lake Decatur dam is underway and will include a barrier aimed at keeping invasive Asian carp at bay. The $4 million project is set to be finished by fall 2014. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports (http://bit.ly/1beo5M0 ) the first phase of the project was completed in 2011. The latest round of work includes fixing concrete and repairing erosion damage. Meanwhile, crews will also remove a failed tailwater dam, which was built more than a century ago. Keith Alexander is director of water management in Decatur.