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The draw down at Lake Beseck. | (Mark Dionne / Town Times)

Lake Beseck drained for dam repair

The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has opened a single pipe at the bottom of the dam on the southern end of Middlefield’s Lake Beseck to begin a draw down of the lake. The draw down is the start of a DEEP dam repair project. According to Middlefield First Selectman Jon Brayshaw, “The dam had a leak and it was getting bigger and bigger.” The state, which owns the lake, is bearing the cost of the repair and also has the authority to make the decisions about the project, such as the water level.

Brayshaw said he expected DEEP to keep some water running through the dam into Ellen Doyle Brook for the health of the brook. The project was estimated to take 300 calendar days from the start of construction. The project will end, Brayshaw said, “September, maybe October.”

Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Committee Chair Amy Poturnicki, of Middlefield, estimated that the water level in the lake dropped 15 feet. The draw down has given Poturnicki the opportunity to photograph the landscape in a way it hasn’t been seen in years.

“I’m enjoying the beauty and the wild life it’s brought in,” Poturnicki said she has seen blue herons, hawks, and egrets, as well as raccoon tracks.

Because of the weeds and other plants, the lake bed was initially colored green after the draw down. With the plants drying up in late October, brown dominates the landscape. Lake Beseck will be green with grass and plants in summer of 2014 before it becomes a lake again.

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