By John Shumway

CANONSBURG (KDKA) – In its prime, Canonsburg Lake would draw people from all over the area to fish and swim.

Lately, the lake has become shallow and some are worried it will disappear if something isn’t done to preserve it.

Even on the end near the dam, where anglers line the shore, the dynamics are changing. At one time it was over 35 feet at the dam. It’s now down to about 15 feet.

Earl Dance who’s been fishing there since he was 12 said the area above the bridge is upsetting.

“It’s all filled in with sediment. In fact, right on the other side there you could walk. It’s only this deep right on the other side of that causeway there,” Dance said.

There is no way to miss what the invasion of the silt has done. Cat tail beds rise from the muck and all eat away at usable lake. There is also an island growing rapidly in the middle.

Those who are trying to restore the lake to its original condition have been told by the state there isn’t the $6 million needed to dredge the lake. The Army Corp of Engineers was willing to help, but it was dependent on the Fish and Boat Commission committing to the long term maintenance of the lake, which the state said it can’t afford.

So, now the lake restoration committee is working on a $2 million dollar plan involving private dollars.

“Which would be to at least hold back on any additional silting of the lake, put in devices to keep that to a minimum,” Jim Bohn of the Canonsburg Lake Committee said.

Whatever is going to be done, Dance said it needs to be done soon.

“This facility keeps a lot of people doing something nice instead of crime. A lot of families – I saw a little girl catch her first fish, a little guy, it’s beautiful,” Dance said.

Whatever work those concerned about the lake can get done, it doesn’t change the fact someone has to take over the long term care of the lake. State Sen. Tim Solobay said he hasn’t given up on the state Fish and Boat Commission yet.


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