GRDA Leaving Lake Levels Higher Through Labor Day Weekend

Friday, September 2nd 2016, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

Boaters on Grand Lake will enjoy an extra few weeks of high lake levels.

Normally this time of year, the Grand River Dam Authority is forced to drop the lake several feet for the winter, but the GRDA says the extra water will keep everyone safe this holiday weekend.

Lake levels are up compared to other years, and that's not because of rainfall.

Normally by mid-August the Grand River Dam Authority must let out water, dropping the lake three feet for migratory bird seeding.

The GRDA started four years ago asking the federal government to extend the high-level lake period through Labor Day weekend - the last big boating weekend of the season.

This is the third year GRDA received a variance.

Boaters say the main reason to keep the lake levels up is for safety.

"It's very important. It’s the last big weekend of the year. There's so many people that come to the lake just to go out on the boats, just to tube, just to wakeboard. It can be dangerous because that one last foot can really mean a lot," said Jared Jeffers with Shangri-La Marina.

Jeffers said the low lake levels can make or break someone's holiday weekend.

"We have, I think, half a dozen people in our marina, when they would drop it to 741, they weren't able to get their boat lifts down all the way and use their boats for the weekend, so they're really happy," he said.

Not everyone shares that feeling.

Neighboring Miami and the organization that represents the nine native tribes in Ottawa County oppose the lake level extension out of flooding fears.

The GRDA says this variance only allows them to delay the drawdown.

Lake levels are expected to stay at 743 by September 15th. That's when the GRDA says it will start drawing down the lake for the winter.