The 2015 Wonder Lake dredging season went well, with the usual unexpected delays, hiccups, and other issues associated with any large-scale dredging project being implemented on a heavily used recreational lake. In addition, to nearly completing the area targeted to be dredged in West Bay (now >90% complete), the White Oaks Bay coves were fully completed this summer, before the dredge moved down to O’Brien Shoals area, which is now roughly one-third complete.
With the early snowfall, 2015 dredging operations came to a halt just before Thanksgiving. While the lake had not yet iced up, sub-freezing temperatures overnight can cause issues with the dredge and booster pumps. The dredging contractor will be removing the dredge from the lake for the upcoming winter to make repairs and modifications to be ready for the 2016 dredging season. They will also be bringing an additional booster pump and pipeline to allow them to reach Lookout Point and Wickline Island.
At this point, the intent is to have the dredging completed at O’Brien Shoals, Wickline Island, and Lookout Point by the start of the 2016 boating season, to minimize impacts on boating traffic in these areas, and to allow landowners to get their piers installed after their area is dredged.
Overall, at this point, the Wonder Lake dredging project is roughly 40% complete. It is important to keep in mind that the dredging company has tackled the hardest areas first, where lakebed conditions and/or dredge access was most challenging. Of the overall volume under contract to be dredged, 52% of that volume is in the South Bay, which is largely comprised of soft sediment, which will improve productivity. The dredging contractor will also be completing the remaining area of West Bay, which primarily includes the Nippersink Creek inlet.
While the dredging is taking longer than originally anticipated, it is important to remember that the dredging contractor is not being paid on a time and materials basis, but is being paid on a “volume” basis, which will allow the dredging to be fully completed with the remaining available funds. As the dredging contract payout is based solely on the verified volume of sediment removed, that verification of the volume of sediment removed to date has already begun with a land surveyor, which will be compared against the measurements being taken by the GPS system found on the dredge.
Finally, no matter how the dredging contractor proposes to schedule the 2016 work, there will be those who feel they are being unduly inconvenienced. All we can do is ask for folks to look at the big picture (a clearer, deeper lake), and be patient. The MPOA will continue to post updates, as information becomes available, at www.wlmpoa.org