Lake Freeman News

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SFLECC is keeping the fight alive

Here’s the latest on our lake level situation. The Shafer and Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation (SFLECC) has filed an appeal with the US Court of appeals to overturn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions (FERC) decision to side with the United States Fish and Wildlife Administration regarding abnormal low flow parameters. Basically it means when it doesn’t rain, NIPSCO will lower Lake Freeman to keep endangered mussels hydrated on the lower Tippecanoe River. This is a total joke and everyone knows it. The mussels have thrived for a million years without Lake Freeman as a watering can. What it does mean for Lake Freeman is dangerous conditions for boating, safety issues for docks, seawalls and piers and a huge impact to our tourism economy. SFLECC needs our financial help to win this battle. If you would like to donate, visit www.sflecc.com

In our recent survey, over 200 people responded to what they really enjoy on Lake Freeman. Overwhelmingly it is boat rides followed by fishing. The surprising thing to us was how low sitting around a bon fire was. But hey, we get it, there are so many beautiful homes to look at. Fishing was second and that’s no surprise. The stocking program has proven to be a success. Crappies, Silvers, Walleye are all being pulled out big and healthy. There is another survey currently on our home page, please offer your opinion.

Lake Freeman Welcomes the Beautiful White Pelican

White Pelicans
The White Pelican is one of the interesting birds you can now spot on Lake Freeman

Beautiful White Pelicans have found Lake Freeman to be a nice resting spot from their winter breeding grounds in Minnesota. I guess Monticello Indiana is now on their migratory route. The story above indicates Missouri is their main route. It seems that February and March are now prime bird watching months on the Lake. Bald Eagles, Swans, Sand Cranes, Blue Herrin and now White Pelicans! Bust out your binocular’s and start scanning the waters. We are truly blessed to share our lake with these incredible creatures.

Here is an incredibly touching show that recaps one mans memories and gets to the heart of the special experience that is boating. We’ve all had many of these moments on Lake Freeman. It was produced and posted courtesy of Discover Boating. Enjoy!

What’s all the talk about Lake Freeman Lake Levels?

Back in 2012 the US Fish and Wildlife Service mandated the Oakdale flow rate be a minimum of 500 cvs to somehow protect endangered clams and mussels. In dry times this can cause a drop in lake levels. For more information on the flow rate from NIPSCO visit https://www.nipsco.com/about-us/hydro-power/curren… We have all been hoping for a common sense solution to this situation. Recently the SFLECC petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to study the situation. They just released their report, which seems positive. for more information on that visit http://www.sflecc.com. In the meantime do your rain dance!

Oakdale-Dam-Lake-Freeman
Oakdale Dam at high release

SFLECC, NIPSCO and FERC oh my!

In 2012 NIPSCO petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to amend its license. Currently the license requires NIPSCO to not let lake levels fall more than three inches. Last year when The Fish and Wildlife Service mandated a higher minimum water release from Oakdale Dam, NIPSCO was actually violating their agreement. If approved, the new license would allow for up to a 12 foot drop in water levels! Which is basically back to the original river bed. In, February, SFLECC encouraged everyone to write a letter to FERC to voice concern and decline the request. For links and  more information click hereSFLECC is working on behalf of all of us. They need funding to continue the conversation, so please make a donation at sflecc.com. As soon as we hear any news we’ll post.

The lower Tippecanoe River is home to over twenty-five species of clams, mussels and mollusks. Five of which are on the US Fish and Wildlife Services’s list of endangered species. They’re found in the portion of the Tippecanoe River below Oakdale Dam south to the Wabash River. The list includes the clubshell, fanshell, rayed been, sheepnose and snuffbox. The rabbitsfoot, a candidate for federal listing is also found here, along with several state-listed mussel species.

By order of the USFWS, NIPSCO, who owns and operates the Oakdale dam, must release a minimum amount of water to keep the lower Tippy adequately hydrated. There are two water flow monitors to give accurate information. One is located North in Winamac and the other just south of the Oakdale Dam. Whatever the rate is at the Winamac gauge 1.9x that amount must be released from the Oakdale Dam. This is done in times of dry conditions when flow rates dip below 500 cubic feet a second at Winamac. 

clubshll
The Clubshell Clam
Lake Freeman Facts

Did you know?

Oakdale Dam Inn is on the location of the Mess Hall for the crew who built The Dam.