- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

PARIS, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee wildlife officials have drained Carroll Lake in western Tennessee to conduct repairs on the spillway gates to the dam holding back water after a rupture.

The regional fisheries coordinator for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Dave Rizzuto, said the late will stay closed until 2017. Rizzuto said giving an estimated timetable is proving difficult because of the uncertainties in the repair process.

“It’s going to be a long process,” Rizzuto said of the repairs. “I don’t know a time estimate on getting the money to do the repairs. I don’t know how long it might take to complete the repair work.”

Water began draining from Carroll Lake in early June after heavy rainfall and flooding caused the spillway gates of the dam, responsible for holding water in the spring-fed lake, to rupture.

The mayor of nearby McKenzie, Jill Holland, told the Paris Post-Intelligencer (https://bit.ly/1yhhAj7 ) the loss of the lake will leave a hole in the community, which won’t have a recreational and tourist attraction.

“It’s literally left a hole in the community,” McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland said.

Rizzuto said it could take as long as two years after the lake is restocked before fish would be big enough for fishermen to be allowed back on the water. That means even if repair work is completed in the next year, the earliest the lake might reopen would be 2017.

“Right now we’re in the planning stages,” Rizzuto said. “I don’t have a half a million dollars laying around.”

Holland said an application has been made for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We hope we will qualify for that,” Holland said. “It would speed the repair process significantly.”

Around the lake, a boat ramp leads to dry, cracked earth. Small streams make their way through the nearly empty bed of the lake that once covered nearly 100 acres.

“I caught my first fish there a long time ago,” said local fisherman Steve McCadams. “It’s such an important part of the community.”

McCadams agreed with Rizzuto’s estimate that it will be several years before the lake will be ready for fishermen again, even if repairs go quickly.

“You can’t just start fishing right away,” McCadams said as he explained it would take time for fish to grow after they were put into the lake.

The area is also popular as a place to view wildlife and serves as a watershed.

“I’ve got a lot of memories there so I’m going to be watching it pretty close,” McCadams said.

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Information from: The Paris Post-Intelligencer, https://www.parispi.net/


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