CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A wet summer has delayed work on two projects to improve Swan Lake at Dunbar Cave State Park in Clarksville.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation released a conceptual plan in May that outlines the two projects. One is a water quality project to restore the lake being performed by TDEC. The second is a dam repair project in and around the Swan Lake spillway being managed by STREAM – the State of Tennessee Real Estate and Asset Management Division within the Department of General Services.
The work had been scheduled to start in late May, but June saw 6.6 inches of rainfall -- 2.2 inches above average -- and the wet weather stalled progress. However, state officials say the work picked up this week and still can be completed by late August, provided the area sees dryer conditions.
“The dam repair contractor ... mobilized equipment on (July 5),” said David Benton, Director of Facilities and Land Management for Tennessee State Parks. “The contractor indicated he could still complete the project by Aug. 19.”
While 50 truckloads of fill material has been moved in to build haul roads, the wetland restoration being performed by TDEC has been held up until mid-July. Workers hope to move in more equipment soon, and start actual sediment removal around the first of August.
Swan Lake is a man-made reservoir in front of Dunbar Cave and adjacent to the City of Clarksville’s Swan Lake Golf Course. The lake is part of Dunbar Cave State Park, which is owned by the State and managed by TDEC.
The goal of the two projects is to re-establish healthy water quality in Swan Lake, and provide a more functional design for Dunbar Cave State Park.
According to TDEC, the lake has seen a slow accumulation of sediment, which has affected water quality, recreational use and wildlife habitat. Over time, the spillway started leaking, and this problem was made worse by the 2010 flood, making it difficult for the lake to maintain a suitable water level.
Under the plan released by TDEC in May, sediment will be removed, but the pool of the lake will be reduced by about 15 percent, allowing more area to be managed as park space with additional wetlands. A new berm and walkway will be built, extending from near the interpretative center into the lake. A 60-foot buffer from water’s edge will be maintained.
Work had been scheduled to start on Swan Lake in May, but a wet summer has delayed the projects. So far only some fill dirt for haul roads has been moved onto the worksite.