MONROE COUNTY, Ind. -- It's the holiday weekend and hundreds will flock to the biggest lake in Central Indiana for a little fun in the sun. The firework show has been canceled at Lake Monroe due to high water levels.
Officials say water levels have risen by 14 feet and it could be the end of summer before the levels are back to normal. But that is not stopping people from enjoying recreational activities this weekend.
“Its been a tremendous spring for us with all this high flooding and rainwater. It’s affected the recreational opportunities for the people that come here. It’s created a challenge for them on a safety level,” said reservoir Wildlife Specialist Rex Watters.
The high water levels forced some campgrounds to close along with beaches, parking lots, and boat ramps. Watters says they usually have campgrounds booked six to eight months in advance. They're all sold, but not all are in use due to flooding in the area.
“We’ve had to close some of those sites and in some cases, we’ve had to refund the money, in other cases we’ve found other sites to put people on,” said Watters.
Even wildlife has been impacted causing some nests to be washed away or moved to higher grounds. Park managers say keeping up with the water levels have been a fluctuating situation.
“Some of the areas have been opened back up and we had to close them again as the water came back up. We went down several feet then we had the big rains that brought it back up several feet,” said Watters.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is monitoring the waters closely. They say the main thing to look out for is debris and steep embankments. “Our main concern is boater safety. there is a lot of floating debris in the water from the high levels,” said Indiana Conservation Officer, Robert Klakamp. “The main thing to look out for with the water levels so high the steep embankments next to the bank. If you’ve got small children to keep an eye on them.”
Watters says the level is decreasing two inches a day but it could be the end of summer before levels are back to normal. In the meantime, he wants people to come out, enjoy the water activities, and stay safe.
“We just ask the campers and all the other recreational users to be extremely cautious and safely thinking,” said Watters.
If you are on the water officials are asking you to make sure you wear a life vest and stay away from the shorelines. DNR will be in full force to make sure everyone stays safe this holiday weekend.