Lower Lake’s Restoration, Part 2

Waiting Game, July, August, 2012

We had a beautiful year to work on restoring the dam, very little rain but the Lot 9 owners balked at accepting their responsibility to pay their 1/4 of the cost though they had caused the extension to be placed onto the spillway raising the level of the lake. The water level was still high, due to the springs that fed the lower lake. Nothing had been touched to remedy the water level being too high. The owner of Lot 9 claimed that it was unsafe for him to remove the extension on the vertical spillway even though it could be reached by someone wearing boots, should the muck alongside the spillway be deep, and they didn't want to get their shoes muddy.  It could also be reached with a rake and should have been easy to pull off. Not wanting to trespass on the Lot 9 property, I, too was unwilling to remove the extension.

The owner's attorney seemed to be avoiding my attorney and the weeks frittered away. 

I had left on June 19th, returned on July 9th.  While waiting for the attorney dance to reach a resolution, I was able to do a lot of weeding, plant ground cover on the upper lake dam, paint the garage and lean-to on Lot 10, prune saplings, and clear a visual pathway through saplings on the east yard of Lot 10 such that I would be able to see the location of the new spillway from the Lot 10 home.  I was also able to spread black chips on several gardens and mounds.  Due to the very dry weather, the upper lake level had dropped about 2 foot and I was able to walk around the lake's edge weeding the lake weeds, taking them to the burn pile.

On August 6th I took some pictures of both the upper lake water level which was down the 2 foot and the lower lake water level which was still as high as ever due to the several springs that feed the lake through creeks on both ends. 

This is a picture taken on August 6th, showing that the level of the upper lake which feeds into this lake was about 2 feet below the level of the spillway due to the lack of rain. Note that this gives an idea of how the rock will look on the lower lake dam once it is completed.


This August 6th photo shows the lake level still as high as it was in May.  Note the pink ribbon on the branch of the pine tree.  This is the approximate location of the new spillway.  I used the pink ribbon as a marker when clearing the visual pathway from the Lot 10 home to the new spillway location.


These are the volunteer black locusts near the seepage area.


This is another dying pine tree.


Once again the seepage area which I had hand-weeded while I waited for the lawyers to move forward with this project.  Note the volunteer black locust saplings beginning to repopulate the dam area.


September, 2012 Enter a New Attorney

September 1st to 9th, I had meetings, with myself and Medina County engineer, Ron Spano and Liverpool Township Maintenance supervisor Dale Vassal.  I continued to maintain the rest of the Lakeview property.  I kept Matrix Engineering and Bramhall Engineering and Surveying who would be responsible for the actual plans for the dam restoration updated on the snail pace of the project.  However they assured me that they would move quickly with their assessment of the dam.  Matrix had sent a proposal, 1/2 of the proposal due at the start of the project.  My attorney and the owner of Lot 9's attorney had copies of this proposal as well as the Letter of Intent which covered not only the design of the dam by Matrix and Bramhall but also the work to be done by Kodiak, the cost of which would be calculated when the plans were finalized by the Medina County Engineers who would issue the permits for the project.  In addition the Letter covered the permit costs as well as the installation of the new catch basin and culvert for the new spillway connection.

On September 10th the owners of Lot 9 retained a new attorney.  My attorney, David Riehl updated the new attorney on the situation.

September 19th, the owners of Lot 9 emailed me that they had signed the Matrix/Bramhall agreement, written the check for their share of the engineer's design work and that they would deliver the check to my attorney's office  on September 24th when they signed the Letter of Intent.

September 24th, when my attorney's office notified me that the Letter of Intent had been signed and the check delivered, I emailed Matrix to put us onto their schedule for their on-site work.  I also told John Matricardi of Matrix that I was mailing them the signed documents and the Lot 9 owner's check.  I sent my payment through to them via Paypal.


Moving Forward at Last, October, 2012

October 4th, Matrix, John Matricardi and Ozzie his helper arrived at 8 am with their "Vapor" kayak to do the depth mapping of the lake.  This mapping, unlike those they performed amidst the waves of Lake Erie, was very low tech.  They set out stakes at 100 feet intervals, and at each stake location, John, in the kayak holding a tape measure, with Ozzie on the shore, clipboard in hand to record the depths called out by John.  John had one other item with him, a depth probe to insert into the bottom muck until they reached the lake bottom where John would call out the reading on the probe.

Bramhall arrived shortly after to survey the area for the construction and provide GPS data for the various elevations for the plans.  Bramhall was very thorough with their survey.  They had the latest laser transits and data recording devices.  I was there to take some pictures and answer any questions they might have, although I had already forwarded the Lakeview Rural Reservation Plat and other documents to them and I had already apprised them of the work to be done by Liverpool Township, the installation of the new catch basis and culvert and the tie in to the existing catch basin so they wouldn't need to call out details on that portion of the restoration.

Below are some of the October 4th pictures of the process.

Matrix Engineering, Lake Depth Mapping

This stake was on the Hudik property line marker for Lots 9 and 10, the location of which had been obliterated by the Lot 9 owner when he mowed the dam.


The "Vapor" kayak waiting for John.  The Lot 10 home is across the lake at the top of the hill.


John at water's edge in the kayak at one of the stakes for the depth mapping with the depth probe crosswise on the kayak.  Ozzie, with blue clipboard in hand is handing the paddle to John.  The last measurement item will be the tape measure.  The depths were measured at consistent intervals to measure the slope of the existing dam as well as the depth of the lake at the foot of the dam.


Ozzie holds the tape on a distance measurement from the stake while John paddles out until the tape is taut, then probes the depth for the measurement, calling out the value to Ozzie who manually records it.  Thankfully the lake was calm and easy to hold position while measuring.


Ready to move to the next measurement stake.  Bramhall took GPS reading at the foot of each of these stakes to coordinate the depth measurements to the dam height relative to West River Road.


John of Matrix also measured the height of the vertical spillway pipe extension.  Note the lush poison ivy growing on the bank. 


Bramhall Engineering GPS Survey of the Dam Area

The Bramhall crew spread out like ants to obtain an accurate GPS survey.  This is one of the measurements of the dam from the West River Road hill.


A Bramhall Surveyor took a reading of the West River Road swale where the bottom of the new spillway would empty into the catch basin.


Once Bramhall had completed their survey, they marked each tree that needed to be cut down on the dam.  The marker they used was a spot of fluorescent pink sprayed paint.

October 8th, Kodiak Begins Lowering the Lake Level

Finally, with the Letter of Intent signed by all parties, Kodiak had authorization to begin lowering the lake level by removing the extension that the Lot 9 owners had caused to be placed on top of the vertical spillway.  In case it was necessary, not knowing how the extension was fastened to the vertical spillway, Tom Hricovec of Kodiak brought out his mini backhoe.  It is parked alongside West River Road, ready for service if necessary.


Being very practical, after removing the welded rebar grate, Tom first tried to move the extension with a hoe.  It moved easily.  Note that Tom is standing firmly on the bank of the dam, not even in much mud.  In order that the water not flood the grassy area of Lot 9's property or the West River Road right of way, Tom lifted the extension a few inches, keeping the back of it in place on the vertical spillway to block any debris from clogging the spillway as the lake drained.   The extension is the shiny object between Tom's legs as he straddles the spillway.


This is a view of the extension.  Comparing the height of the extension to Tom's leg, the extension seems to be over a foot tall.


Tom monitors the flow of water to make sure it is able to be carried away by the culvert to the Grafton Road ditch.


The Lake is Down to Its Design Level in 1960

Once Tom was sure that the lake was draining safely, he left.  On October 15th, the lake had drained down to the original level when Mr. Popa had built the lake in 1960.  This photo is of the extension on top of the original spillway.


This fluorescent pink spot is the method of marking that Bramhall used to designate every tree that needed to be cut down on the dam.


Note how much of the dam has been eroded from the original dam.  Note also the bright pink fluorescent spot on the base of the trunk.  These will be trees that Kodiak will remove from the dam.

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