West Lakes flooding lower than expected because of residents efforts

The area near Rome City has seen more than average rainfall this year and homes are still dry.

Posted: May 9, 2019 8:49 PM
Updated: May 10, 2019 8:43 AM

ROME CITY, Ind. (WFFT) - People living along the West Lake chain in Noble County are seeing their hard work over the past couple years pay off.

"We've seen tremendous progress from the work we have done," said West Lakes Association president Diann Scott.

The area near Rome City has seen more than average rainfall this year and homes are still dry.

"We are seeing improvements, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We know what the issues are, we are tracking the issues," Scott said.

The north branch of the Elkhart River down stream from Waldron Lake crested this week at a little more than 6 feet.

That's still about a foot less than what it was two years ago when more than 100 homes were damaged by flooding.

Since then, the association beefed up its effort in cleaning the river and cleared more than 200 log jams.

"We have discovered our pride, power and passion," said Scott.

Two years ago, there were 41 inches of water on Waldron Lake Drive. This year, the road is dry.

Noble County EMA director Michael Newton said the grassroots effort is really helping everyone in case of an emergency.

"Does this water impede our ability to deliver basic emergency services?" he asks.

Thursday, the answer was no.

Newton said he's noticing how clearing out the river is effecting flooding around the lake chains.

"At the height that I see the Cosperfield gauge, I expected the water to by higher in the Waldron Lake area," Newton said.

This year, the West Lakes Association has two LARE grants from the DNR to help continue their efforts.

Scott said the county government has been a big help, even paying a portion for the grants.

"Whether is is working with the county to put in two stage ditches or just simply addressing and understanding the water coming into our lakes," said Scott.

The DNR has issued a no motor order here on the West Lakes because the water is in people's yards. That's in effect until farther notice.

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