Drawdown to Begin at Colyer Lake


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Aug. 27) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today said that it will begin the final drawdown of Colyer Lake in Centre County on Tuesday, Sept. 2., in advance of a construction project to rebuild the lake’s dam and spillway.


The drawdown is expected to take several weeks to complete. The lake can be drained at a rate of about one foot per day, depending on weather. The lake currently has only 16-17 feet of water remaining at its deepest point.


As the lake reaches the final stages of draining, the PFBC will conduct a fish salvage to remove and relocate as many fish as possible. Although fish salvages generally save a large number of fish, a significant amount will also perish.


“We will collect as many fish as we can, but it is impossible to capture all of them,” said Dave Miko, PFBC Chief of Fisheries Management. “Fish die during any drawdown and salvage effort. Many hide around structures where we simply can’t reach them, and others become buried in the mud when they are slow to exit the lake with the remaining water. Anglers and the general public should expect to see this.”


The lake will remain open for public use through Monday, Sept. 1. At that point, the PFBC will close the facility.


Construction to repair the lake’s dam and spillway is scheduled to begin in October and is expected to be completed by late 2015.


The lake is expected to be refilled and fully useable again by spring 2016.


In early 2013, the PFBC announced that the lake’s dam was unsafe and the lake would have to be drained. This was done after routine inspections by PFBC engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection found that existing undermining beneath the dam’s spillway had become more severe. A design project was already underway to rebuild the facility.


In November 2013, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a transportation bill which provided funds which can be leveraged with other sources to help the PFBC rebuild high-hazard dams like Colyer Lake. The $7.2 million construction project is being funded with $5.85 million from the state’s capital budget, $1.25 million from the PFBC as a result of the transportation law, and $100,000 from the Save Colyer Lake organization.


Colyer Lake is a 77-acre reservoir located in Potter Township in Centre County. It is owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the PFBC. 




Media Contact:Eric Levis, Press Secretary, 717.705.7806 or elevis@pa.gov