SUTTON, W.Va. — Those who enjoy using Sutton Lake during the fall and winter should be advised of an anticipated change in water level. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to temporarily lower the winter pool of the lake starting Dec. 1.
“We’re drawing down to clear debris that has accumulated over the course of several decades against the lakeside face of the dam,” said Brandy Acord, Project Manger at the dam with the Corps.
The lake level will be drawn below the normal winter poll by another 30 feet dropping the elevation to 865 feet for two weeks. The purpose of the extended draw down is to allow divers and workers to install equipment and make repairs on the dam structure.
“We did an underwater survey last year to see just what the sluice-ways, or tunnels where we process water, to see what they look like and there was an accumulation of debris,” she said.
The debris floats down river to the dam and is collected by a large boom and pulled to the side. Each year during low water periods the woody debris is burned. However, Acord said a lot of the material in the debris get water logged and will sink to the bottom. The problem was discovered in last year’s annual inspection of the structure.
Corps of Engineers officials say efforts will be made to keep lake access points at the Bee Run ramp open for winter boat launching as well as the ramp at the south abutment. However, officials said you can expect heavy silt on the ramps once the lake levels fall below 895 feet.
Presently the lake has been lowered five feet below winter pool and by the first of December should be 30 feet below winter pool. The period of extreme draw down should last for only a couple of weeks. Officials also warn about changes to the navigable channel between now and the end of the year as a result of the extended draw-down and low water period. The Corps plans to start the lake’s return to normal pool levels by Dec. 14.