Lake Perez ‘slowly’ being brought back to life

Lake Perez is slowly filling with water again.
Lake Perez is slowly filling with water again. CDT photo

Lake Perez is one step closer to opening after being dry for more than five years.

Water from Shaver’s Creek started to “slowly” flow into the lake at Stone Valley Recreation Area in Barree Township, Huntingdon County, supervisor CharleneDetwiler said.

Lake Perez is a 72-acre man-made lake owned by Penn State.

The university released a statement that said the lake would be filled “very slowly” throughout the summer with a goal to have it open to the public by late summer or early fall.

“I couldn’t even tell you how much (water) is in there now,” Detwiler said. “It’s a slow process. … Some of the water has come from rainfall.”

Construction workers are still “moving dirt around” and leveling part of the lake bed, Detwiler said.

Detwiler said she would have a more precise opening date in the next couple of weeks, when crews from Layne Geological Construction Co. finish construction.

Final construction should be completed by the end of the month, a statement from Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant said.The refill plans were submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection and were approved this past winter.

Penn State research associate Andrew Neal said the lake would be about 30 feet at its deepest.

It was fully drained in 2008 after structural deficiencies and underground seepage were discovered in the dam.

Dam restoration began in March 2013 and was completed in February by the Office of Physical Plant.

Restorations included a grout curtain, an impermeable membrane to seal the dam and a cutoff trench to guide the flow of water downstream.

“The dam will be carefully monitored for underground seepage to ensure that the grout curtain and impermeable membrane are performing as expected,” said Paul Ruskin, former spokesman for Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, in an emailed statement.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the whole project would cost the university about $5.5 million.

The state Fish and Boat Commission will begin to stock the lake with bass, pike and forage fish when there is enough water and vegetation for the fish to survive, said Kris Kuhn, District 7 area fisheries manager. Trout will be added next year.

Kuhn said that establishing a steady, “healthy” marine life will take about two years.