Article from Greensburg Daily News
DECATUR COUNTY – A $650,000 sediment reduction and creek bank stabilization project is underway on the northwest corner of Lake Santee. The work officially got underway Tuesday morning, though a good deal of soil had already been moved prior to that.
Lake Manager John Lecher said this project dates back to 2006, when a study was done to see what could be done to reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the lake from the right fork of Salt Creek.
The idea of digging a sediment collection pond just north of where the creek flows into the lake was proposed at that time but was eventually tabled.
It again came to the forefront in 2019, and since then the preliminary work involved, including a site study and securing a design and permitting contract, has been completed.
Lecher said the project has been approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Weather permitting, the work involved – which involves construction of an approximately one acre retention pond, bank stabilization along a section of the area involved, and installation of a vegetation zone that will act as a natural sediment filter during periods of excessive rain – is expected to be completed by roughly Thanksgiving.
Lake Santee is governed by the Lake Santee Property Owners Association. Residents pay an annual fee for upkeep and maintenance of the lake and surrounding area, and Lecher said those fees were increased two years ago in anticipation of this project in order to make funding it more manageable for everyone involved.
In addition to the extra funds that move resulted in, the balance of the funding needed to finance the work being done will be covered by a loan from First Financial Bank.
Lake Santee Lake & Beaches Director Gina Julien said there are several advantages to moving forward with what’s being done.
“The advantages are numerous,” she said. “They include reduction of the sediment coming into our lake, that’s the number one thing. It will help with our water quality, it will help with the water clarity, and it will help reduce future costs as far as dredging is concerned.”
Lecher also pointed out that the lake is the raw water source for the community’s water plant, and that this project is a joint effort of the Property Owners Association and the Lake Santee Water & Sewer District.
“Hopefully, this will also result in reduced costs at the water plant because there will lower costs to treat the water before we drink it,” he said.
Lake Santee is an unincorporated and privately owned community in Decatur and Franklin counties. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 820.