Rains raise lake levels

News editor

After spending all winter and most of spring with water levels several feet lower than usual, Marion County Lake got closer to its normal water level on Thursday.

Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson estimated the lake had been four or five feet below normal as recently as May 1. But runoff from rain and snow brought the water level to within two feet of normal by the end of Thursday.

Hudson said the key was that earlier rains had filled numerous farm ponds in the lake’s drainage basin. When those ponds are full, runoff can continue to the lake.

One farm pond, along Upland Road on the way to the lake, had dried almost completely up during the winter. Thursday afternoon it was overflowing, with excess water spilling into a creek that feeds the county lake.

Reservoir levels steadier

With a larger drainage basin, Marion Reservoir’s water level hasn’t fluctuated as much as the county lake, with only about six inches difference between its high on Friday and its lowest in April.

Friday morning the water level remained about three feet below full conservation pool.

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