Oakdale dam

Water levels had declined on Lake Freeman causing an Abnormal River Condition watch issued Aug. 30. Rainfall since has caused the watch to be cancelled.

MONTICELLO — Over the last few months, Shafer Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation (SFLECC), US Fish & Wildlife Service(USFW) and NIPSCO have been in discussions about modifying USFW’s mandated dam operation rules for Oakdale Dam. These discussions stem from SFLECC’s court hearing in the Washington DC Court of Appeals, and the subsequent Judges’ order and opinion.

The panel of judges on the DC Court of Appeals essentially told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and USFW to determine if the USFW’s mandate is only a “minor change” to the operation of the dam. In May of this year, USFW acknowledged that the 2020 drought that caused Lake Freeman to be drained for an extended period of time was not a “minor change.” This lead USFW to start the discussion that led to this compromise.

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