GRANT LAKE – Millstream residents who feared that Grant Lake would run dry, will soon be able to rest easy.
Millstream resident Brady Copeland watches work being done to repair a dam at Grant Lake. The repair will stop water from escaping the lake and allow it to be a popular recreational spot for Pictou County residents.
Sueann Musick – The News
Work began this week to repair the dam that was allowing water to drain from the lake and put this popular fishing and recreational watering hole in danger.
Brady Copeland said he and fellow resident Gordon Gillis pleaded with the provincial government last summer to help save the lake, which was originally dammed with old railway ties.
Copeland said the lake’s water supply had dropped drastically over the summer months so he is pleased to see the work being done by East Coast Aquatics Inc. of Bridgetown, N.S.
Michael Parker, senior biologist and company president, said the repair work will leave the dam maintenance-free for residents to enjoy for many years to come.
“We removed the old wooden dam in there since it was starting to fail,” he said. “We were able to slide the rail ties out and we put a layer of four to eight inch stone down and on the lake side we dug a trench and back into the berm on either side and laid a heavy sheet of heavy filter fabric.”
He said the dam is basically layered with many different types of natural materials in various sizes so it becomes sturdier as the materials start to lock together.
“We put some larger stone on the upstream side of that material and put much bigger material on downstream side,” he said. “This will protect the downstream side of the structure. If you use just small stuff it will erode away. The heavy armour rock will prevent back cutting.”
He said it will take as long as a year for the water to spot perforating through the dam, though the fallen leaves will help add to the process.
“When you build something in a stream like this you generally don’t use mineral soil or clay because it silts things up so much,” Parker said.
Local residents say a few decades ago, a portion of a dam built in the 1890s was removed by the Department of Transportation to help with flooding issues.
The dam was first created to enlarge the lake that supplied waterpower to operate a gristmill, furniture factory and saw mill. Beavers took over the lake in the 1960s and kept the water level up for a large number of years, but in 1999, their enthusiasm started to cause more flooding problems.
Since this time, transportation has repaired and raised the road, but the dam has weakened.