Core Creek Park’s Lake Luxembourg to be lowered as conservation pool is drained
Fishing and boating on Lake Luxembourg might be muddled this summer by the Bucks County Conservation District’s plans to improve water quality in the lake in Core Creek Park.
“For the hardcore people who don’t mind a little mud,” the lake in the county park in Middletown should still be usable for outdoor activities most of the season. But “if there are safety concerns,” recreational activities might have to be called off, said Karen Ogden, a watershed specialist with the conservation district.
The conservation district will hold a public meeting at 10 am Monday at Pavilion 11 in the park to explain how it will drain the 17-acre conservation pool to the east side of the Woodbourne Road bridge over the lake, thus reducing the overall lake depth by 3.5ft. It’s doing this to remove approximately 15,000 cubic yards of sediment that has accumulated there over the years since the manmade, 174-acre lake was built in 1977 to serve as a reservoir for Core Creek.
This phase of the project will take place between July and December, with water levels expected to return to normal in January 2023.
“The project is designed to reduce suspended solids and nutrient pollution making it into the body of Lake Luxembourg. The desired outcome is improved water clarity, less frequent algal blooms, and an overall improvement to the lake district ecosystem,” the conservation staff explained on its website.
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The conservation district, which is headquartered in New Britain Township, provides for “the wise use, management and development of the county’s soil, water and related natural resources.” its website states. It was formed in 1961, as one of 66 in Pennsylvania and 3,000 throughout the United States. The first conservation districts were formed to deal with the 1930s drought which covered 75% of the country with dust bowls.
Conservation District Manager Gretchen Schatschneider explained at the Bucks County Commissioners meeting Wednesday that when Lake Luxembourg was created, the conservation pool wasn’t expected to fill with sediment for 100 years, but by the time the lake was nine years old, the conservation pool was already filled, due to earth-moving development in the surrounding countryside.
Since then, the county has been working with other organizations to get the funds to clear the lake which serves as a reservoir for Core Creek water flowing into and out of it on its way to the larger Neshaminy Creek.
Commissioner Diane Ellis Marseglia, who was a former Middletown supervisor, said the project has been “a long time coming and very necessary,” as Commissioner Chairman Bob Harvie thanked the conservation district for all the work needed to prepare for it.
The two-year project will cost $2.1 million and is being funded by Bucks County, which will contribute $784,000 along with grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
.As part of the project, the conservation district staff have made a fence to trap nesting endangered “Red Bellied Cooters” and other turtles so they can be resettled away from the work area. “We make sure they get to where they need to go and we keep the nesting females from laying eggs where they could be damaged by heavy equipment,” Ogden said.
The sediment will be used to enrich county-owned agricultural fields leased to a farmer. The project also will create seven acres of wetlands for wildlife by the conservation pool. It will take until October 2023 to complete in part because there will be time taken off to allow soon eagles to nest undisturbed by the work. And the conservation district staff also anticipates there could be storms that could cause delays.