Summer cut short for boaters and businesses on Berlin Lake

PORTAGE COUNTY, Ohio - Boaters, fishermen and residents in Portage County say their summer has been cut short.

It all started when the water in Berlin lake was slowly drained out starting right after July Fourth, and now they’re working to take legal action. 

If you were to look at the lake now where the boat docks sit, they should be floating on 10 feet of water. But right now, that’s not the case, and that’s what’s causing the commotion.

“So right now we’re following what’s called an approved water control plan that directs on how we’re to operate the lake,” said Jeff Hawk, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

But their plan has the few boats that are left on the water now sitting in just 2 feet at Berlin Lake, which is an almost 8-foot difference of where it’s supposed to be.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has taken 2 inches of water a day out, since the Fourth of July.

This process normally doesn’t start until after Labor Day, and local boaters and business owners like Martha Cobb, who owns the Les’s Bait Marcko Landing store on the marina, say they’re taking a hit financially.

“There’s just there’s just no business - it’s like a ghost town around here,” Cobb said.

But the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is standing by their decision, saying it's a necessity.

“This year, we needed that water downstream to meet our target of environmental flow downstream,” said Hawk.

There will be a town hall meeting this Thursday. Three representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be there to discuss why this is happening and how to prevent it next year.

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