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Low lake levels help group wrangle wayward wood

February 25th, 2014 1:34 pm by Max Hrenda

Low lake levels help group wrangle wayward wood

Crews work to clear wood from the lake area in Winged Deer Park. (Ron Campbell/Johnson City Press)

A bout of warm weather and scheduled Tennessee Valley Authority maintenance helped a local nonprofit in its efforts to keep Boone Lake tidy.

On Monday, members of the Boone Lake Association took advantage of low lake levels and semi-warm weather to target one of the lake’s biggest nuisances — errant wood debris — at Winged Deer Park.

BLA board member Jay Wise said last year’s high number of rainstorms and resultant flooding caused a surge in the number of stray logs, sticks and branches, particularly along the lake’s banks.

“There are a lot of logs and things that accumulated along the bank line there at Winged Deer Park,” Wise said. “The floods and everything from last year have brought a lot of wood debris into the lake.”

The work crew received some assistance in clearing some of the wood debris, though inadvertently, by the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA spokeswoman Gail Rymer said Boone Lake had been drawn down to repair Boone Dam.

“We took Boone (Lake) down 14 feet below its normal level to perform maintenance on the dam’s intake and spillway gates,” Rymer said. “We expect the project to be done this week.”

Rymer added that she did not expect the maintenance work to affect the lake’s summer elevation.

Though the repair work may not take long, the cleanup crew decided not to wait. Wise, who worked to clean up the park’s bank line for several hours Monday, said the BLA’s work crew seized the opportunity to clear the debris once it fell into easy reach.

“With the lake being down, we wanted to do it before the water came up,” Wise said. “If we waited until the water comes up, they’d be floating away.”

The BLA work crew gathered the debris and used a chain saw to chop it down to a manageable size for Johnson City’s brush trucks to haul away. The crew was assisted in their task by a work crew from the Washington County Detention Center.

Although the crew worked into the afternoon Monday — and removed what Wise estimated to be two truckloads worth of wood debris — Wise added he thought crews would return today to continue cleaning.

Though the BLA’s work crew works year-round, Wise said any member of the public is welcome to volunteer. In addition, Wise said the 14th annual Boone Lake Cleanup, the group’s signature event, has been scheduled for Saturday, April 26. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

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