Hanna: Water levels to remain the same at Foster Joseph Sayers Dam, Reservoir

HARRISBURG, May 14 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to not lower the water levels at Foster Joseph Sayers Dam and Reservoir.

“I am pleased to hear that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agrees with the people of Centre County and will not change the water levels at Foster Sayers,” Hanna said.

“Foster Sayers Lake and the surrounding Bald Eagle State Park must remain the recreational gem it is today. This decision ensures continued economic success and outdoor entertainment opportunities for the entire community.”

Currently, the reservoir is drawn down about 20 feet in late fall and winter and returned to normal pool level by late spring. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a study was being conducted to investigate the reservoir’s potential to sustain aquatic habitat during these low-flow months – July through November – by exploring options that modify amounts and times of water releases when triggered.

The decision to discontinue the study is due to mixed results and community outcry, Hanna said.

A Corps’ analysis reports that while environmental benefits could occur through alternatives to control and modify water release times, the benefits are marginal and potentially could have required physical modifications to structures like marinas and beaches.

In addition, feedback gathered at last year’s public workshop, as well as borough council meetings, played a critical role in the Corps’ decision to conclude the study, Hanna said. At the time, many constituents feared that lowering water levels would impact recreation at the lake, such as boating and swimming.

“I’d like to thank all the concerned and engaged citizens of the 76th Legislative District,” Hanna said. “Without your support and opinions, this would not have been possible. It’s because of you that Foster Sayers Lake will continue to be a tourist attraction and recreational location we’ll always look forward to visiting.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will attend the Howard Borough Council meeting Monday night to relay its decision to terminate the study. A public workshop slated to take place in late spring also has been canceled.