Congressional help sought for rehabilitating Lake Alvamar dam

Congressional help is being sought to find federal funding to pay for rehabilitating the Lake Alvamar dam in southwestern Lawrence.

Letters will be sent to senators and representatives from Kansas asking for assistance. One possible source for funding is the Federal Dam Rehabilitation Program, said Hope Coger, administrator for Wakarusa Watershed Joint District 35. The program, however, hasn’t been adequately funded in recent years, she said.

Watershed representatives, federal and state officials, and others interested in the lake attended an informational meeting earlier this week at the Watershed District’s office in Overbrook.

The lake was drained by the watershed district in 2007 and has not been refilled because the dam isn’t high enough to meet current safety standards. The cost for rehabilitating the dam is not known but estimates have ranged from $500,000 up to $1 million.

The dam and lake are an important resource for the state because it is in the upper Wakarusa watershed that is a drainage area for Clinton Lake, which supplies water to Lawrence and other entities, said Tom Huntzinger, coordinator for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy program.