Monday, July 6, 2009
The Cambria Somerset Authority is moving forward with plans to update the dam at the Quemahoning Reservoir to allow for whitewater action on Stonycreek River further into the summer. The Authority received its final approval from the Department of Environmental Protection two weeks ago and approved a contract to do the work at its board meeting Thursday. The Board was worried that a bid to do the $867,216 retro fit would expire before the needed permits were in place. A delay could have increased the cost. Board Chair James Greco says the contractor extend the June 26th deadline by a few days to allow the board to meet and approve the deal. It is unclear why it took so long for the DEP to issue the permit. The grassroots outdoor recreation group “Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative” raised $1.2 million for the project that will release water from the reservoir every other weekend from April to October as long as the water level in the reservoir is no more than a foot below the spillway. Greco says it is impossible to know how far into the season they will be able to release the 500 cubic feet per second needed to turn the river into a whitewater park. “If you can tell me how much its going to rain I’ll tell you how long we can release” says Greco. The final contracts are being signed and Greco says work will begin soon. Installing the valves will take several months but Greco says if the weather cooperates this winter everything should be in place by spring 2010. Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative has been raising money and pushing for the regular releases for more than 7 years. The reservoir was created to provide water to industrial facilities in the area.