The Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft lake management plan late last week for the owner of Clary Lake Dam in Whitefield, setting deadlines for making repairs to the dam and outlining how it must be operated.

Parties have until Friday to submit comments to request clarifications or changes to the draft plan. There isn’t a timetable for when a final order will be issued.

The department has received complaints dating back more than 20 years about varying water levels of the 667-acre lake and the condition of the dam along Route 218, according to the draft plan.

Lakefront landowners in Whitefield and Jefferson submitted a petition more than two years ago requesting that the department issue a water management plan over concerns that the lower lake level was hurtful to the surrounding wildlife and the recreational use of the lake. The dam owner has countered that because of damage the dam sustained by a storm in the fall of 2011, it’s unable to hold a higher water level without risking damage to a historic mill directly downstream.

The water level order, if issued as is by the department, would require the dam owner to make repairs to the dam by next October.

The dam owner is also required to hire a professional licensed land surveyor to determine the lake’s historical normal high water line and keep the level no more than 2 feet below it at all times.

George Fergusson, spokesman for the petitioners, said he’s pleased with what’s included in the draft order.

Fergusson, who has criticized the department in the past for taking so long to resolve the issue, said he expects the department to issue the final order sooner rather than later.

“I think they’re done dragging their feet. They certainly put together a very complex and detailed document, and I can see why it took as long as it did,” he said in a phone interview Monday.

 

Paul Koenig can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

pkoenig@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @paul_koenig