The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District is making preparations to dredge Jeffrey Lake again this year, beginning early in May.Last summer, Central removed a large amount of sediment from the lake.
This year, Central has leased a larger dredge and will renew its dredging, aimed to improve conditions for recreation, aquatic habitat and hydropower operations, spokesman Jeff Buettner said Tuesday.
Due to the operation, including a floating pipeline, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s public boat ramp in the Jeffrey Lake Wildlife Management Area on the northeast side of the lake will be out of service for about three months, beginning on or about May 1.
However, during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays, Central intends to halt the dredging project and open the boat ramp for those holidays.
During dredging, material will be moved via floating pipeline over the top of the dam at the north end of the lake and deposited in a containment structure, partially on property owned by Central and partially on land owned by Ward David of Lubbock, Tex., who temporarily leased the property to Central for the project.
Jeffrey Lake is a regulating reservoir for the Jeffrey hydroplant immediately below the lake, is located on Central’s supply canal, about 10 miles south of Brady.
Since the hydro-irrigation project began operating in 1941, sediment has accumulated in the northern part of the lake, mostly between the lake’s inlet and outlet.
As a result, the water is less than three feet deep in a large area, which restricts travel by boat from one end of the lake to the other, except through a narrow channel that Central has tried to maintain over the years.
Gothenburg Division Manager Devin Brundage, who is overseeing the project, said, “Last year’s dredging project made significant inroads into removing the accumulated sediment. The new, larger dredge should allow us to remove even more material and further improve recreational opportunities at Jeffrey Lake.”
Central hopes to have the public boat ramp back in service for good by the end of July.