Ledge surveys start for lakes’ dam

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Fishermen who have a favorite fishing hole near the Pleasant Lake Dam might want to consider another location during the next several weeks.

There will be a little more activity than usual around the dam that is located near the former offices of Hancock Lumber.

By mid-November, a small barge will be moved into the pool in front of the Pleasant Lake Dam, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

The barge will be the worksite for a land survey taking place in the water. Data on the terrain, particularly rock ledge, must be recorded prior to the drafting of engineering plans for the dam.

As of Tuesday, data collection of the terrain was taking place on land.

Morton said the survey crew was still staging the equipment and tools required to start the job on Tuesday. The first leg of the project starts on land — near the Casco Fish Hatchery.

“They are beginning the probing to measure the ledge. They are doing some hand boring on land,” Morton said. Once that job is done, the surveyors will move a small barge into the pool near the concrete dam, he said.

“I believe November. Nov. 10 or 11, they’ll put a barge in and do drilling there,” Morton said. The barge is small enough to be launched from the town’s boat launch and driven under the bridge, he said. “It’s no larger than a small pontoon boat,” he added.

For the past few years, town officials and lake association residents have known that the dam needs to be repaired or replaced.

In fact, the towns of Otisfield and Casco have been on board with a strategy to repair the dam. After all, a reliable dam protects fish eggs and wetlands species as well as preserving the water quality of Pleasant Lake and Parker Pond — the bodies of water impacted by the dam.

In the two neighboring towns, residents approved money for the survey and engineering plans at Town Meeting in 2015. In time for next year’s meeting, a real-life cost estimate should be provided

The survey taking place is the next step toward repairing or replacing the dam.

“Once they get surveys of the ledge, they will give that information to an engineer,” Morton said. “We are a ways away from having those probable costs” for a new dam, he said.

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