The reconstruction of Lake Washington has been many years in the making. In May 1993, the New Castle County Soil & Conservation District began to study the feasibility of restoring the lake. The engineering firm Tatman & Lee was hired to complete the study, and they submitted their report to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in February 1997. The following May, FOBS addressed the state Joint Permitting Committee to determine what permits would be required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, DNREC, the state Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) and others. Many meetings and discussions followed. By February 1999, the Soil & Conservation District had formulated a reconstruction plan, and Tatman & Lee began the engineering work. Funding was appropriated by July 2000 with reconstruction expected to begin in the fall of 2000.

 

Before work could begin, SHPO had some historical concerns, and archaeological studies were requested. Most of these concerns had been addressed by June 2002, but the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service were concerned about the trees that would die when the lake was filled. The solution was for the county to purchase replacement wetlands. But in October 2002, the focus of governmental concerns turned to the bog turtle. The U.S. Department of the Interior considers bog turtles to be an endangered species, and if any evidence of the turtles was found, the project would be scrapped. Since bog turtles don’t hatch until April, the initial inspection had to wait until spring 2003. By the summer of 2003, no bog turtles had been found, but more archaeological studies were requested. In September 2003, Tropical Storm Henri caused major flooding in New Castle County, and work on the lake project was interrupted to repair damage throughout the county. Negotiations continued on replacement wetlands property. A permit application was submitted to the Corps of Engineers in August 2004, and a preliminary permit was received in December 2005.

 

The plan to acquire replacement wetlands was submitted to the New Castle County Department of Land Use in April 2006. In August 2007, the Corps of Engineers issued a final permit, but by this time, the replacement of the sanitary sewer that runs through the park had begun, and the lake restoration had to wait until the sewer project was finished. Reconstruction finally began in September 2008, and by December, the project was nearing completion. After 16 years of work by federal, state and county agencies, Lake Washington is finally restored, and the only thing left to do is turn on the pump.

LAKE WASHINGTON RESTORATION

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Lake Panorama

Friends of Brandywine Springs
P.O. Box 5323
Wilmington, DE 19808-0323

fobs@fobsde.org

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