Last Friday evening, I swung out to Chasewater to check out how the dam works were progressing. Things seem to be underway again after a pause for reassessment, and many elements of Lichfield District Council’s plans seem to have been either abandoned, or scaled back. Since taking on the park and dam project, Staffordshire County Council seem to have brought a sense of proportion to the formerly panic-stricken tone of Lichfield’s plans. One can only wonder what stopped Lichfield getting decent engineers in originally.
Since the bodge on the railway causeway culvert where the insert pipes were too high and the height of the rail track had to be considerably raised, the guard rails and finishing touches have been fitted to the new crossing, but the surface quality of the relaid adjacent trail is very poor and sectional fencing is littering the causeway like abandoned scrap. That whole aspect of the project has caused some disappointment amongst park users, who were expecting the new channels to replace the old, rickety metal bridge at the top of the causeway, rather than form a new crossing independent of it. Attempts by one such user to ask questions about this on the Official Chasewater Dam Blog were met with indifference, and the keepers of the blog – still Lichfield Council – are now just ignoring all reader feedback. So much for new media.
Contractors are currently engaged in building a coffer dam around the outlet culvert in what’s left of the lake. This culvert is quite near the edge of the pool, which is why one edge has had a fence erected around it for several months. Once the culvert has been inspected and any necessary remedial works carried out, the lake will be allowed to naturally refill. However, don’t hold your breath for a quick fill, as after the dry summer so far, no water s flowing into the swag – the upper lake – at all. Something tells me this will take years to refill. Let’s hope the lake hydroecology can stand it.
As usual, there’s plenty of information on the excellent Chasewater Wildlife Group’s news page, and some rather dry, but recent updates on the official Chasewater Dam Blog. I hope the work will soon be finished and that Chasewater can get back on the road to recovery.