Recovery mode: Cleanup ongoing at Jamestown ReservoirAfter heightened water levels closed parts of the Jamestown Reservoir this spring, the reservoir is open to the public, but it doesn’t look the same. Water levels have dropped to a point where a few feet of sand peeks through at the reservoir’s beach. At its highest levels, water covered not only the beach, but also the road that’s located three and four car lengths behind it.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
After heightened water levels closed parts of the Jamestown Reservoir this spring, the reservoir is open to the public, but it doesn’t look the same.
Water levels have dropped to a point where a few feet of sand peeks through at the reservoir’s beach. At its highest levels, water covered not only the beach, but also the road that’s located three and four car lengths behind it.
The Stutsman County Parks Department is already renovating and repairing damaged areas at the beach, Lakeside Marina area, Pelican Point Campground and other places at the reservoir that received flood water damage, said Denny Lorenz, Stutsman County Park superintendent. But some of the damaged areas are still under water.
“I don’t foresee everything to be back to normal until 2010,” he said.
The island, located on the southern end of the reservoir, is closed to the public. Water still lapped against the bottom of its bridge Thursday. This year’s flooding isn’t the first time that bridge has been under water, but Lorenz said it’s better to be cautious.
But visitors can see “back to normal” elsewhere.
Electrical workers and other personnel rewired power boxes at Pelican Point Campground Thursday. The campground area is mostly dry — its playground equipment that could barely be seen two months ago, is now on dry land. But picnic tables that had been moved to avoid a washout still sit in stacks beyond the camping area. And the little cabins that used to shelter campers are still seated on high ground. They may not even get used this camping season, Lorenz said.
“It’s going to take a while to get her (the campground) back up,” he said.
The campground’s concession area, once above its roof in water, must be replaced.
Another area returning to its previous state is the former Lakeside Marina area.
Boats can dock again there, and anglers can cast their lines off its shore.
County staff had moved the marina last spring to keep flood waters from inundating it. But parking is limited because the parts of the bank below the lot eroded, Lorenz said.
Because of the mariana’s move, Mike Kesler, the business’ owner and operator, said he’ll likely take a 50 percent income hit. He’s picked up a second job to help him financially through the summer.
The county will likely relocate the marina’s building, but that location hasn’t been finalized. Kesler said a new location will be better for boaters and beach-goers alike.
“It will better serve all of the people that utilize that area,” he said.
But moving the marina and rebuilding the Pelican Point concession stand come with a price tag.
“Cost estimates … It’s going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” for those two projects alone, said Noel Johnson, Stutsman County chief operating officer.
The Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Jamestown Reservoir, offered $65,000 to help cover repair costs. The county will have to raise the rest of the money, Johnson said.
“We’re going to be shaking some trees,” he said.
Since the reservoir is already paid for with federal dollars, it cannot apply for assistance from agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
But even without all the repairs in place, boaters, campers, anglers and vacationers took to the reservoir Thursday in anticipation of the holiday weekend. Each lot at Lakeside Campground was reserved and campers and tents were already sprouting at the Parkhurst Campground near the Pipestem Dam.
“This place will just be back with people,” Lorenz said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org