Why dredge?

For many years, Simonton Lake had been suffering from numerous problems that would ultimately affect the health of the lake. In 2015-16, the Simonton Lake Area Homeowners’ Association Environment Committee created a plan to identify the problems, the causes, possible solutions and a priority list. The result was an official document, called the Simonton Lake Improvement Master Plan.


What is sediment and why does it need to be removed?

Sediment is the small particles of decomposing plant life that accumulate on our lake bottom. It comes from grass clippings, leaves, animal waste and erosion of the soil.  Even if you never launch a boat or ever go from one lake to the other, you are at risk.  The sediment circulates right up to every beach on each lake.

Both the Army Corp of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources agreed that this sediment was a legitimate lake issue and permitted us to dredge down to the original lake bottom.


Dredging Divided into Phases

Our concern was the quality of water in our lake that was severely impacted by the suspension of sediment in the lake. Not only was the lake becoming shallower but boat motors re-suspended the sediment in the water. One of the results was increased invasive weed growth.The water quality issues were supported by a 2011 Diagnostic Study developed by JF New Associates andfunded by a DNR grant. The solution, supported by the Indiana DNR was to dredge.

It became apparent that dredging would need to be broken into segments. The money required to complete the entire 55,000 cubic yards of the plan was not available all at once. The Environmental Committee was charged with prioritizing the proposed dredging sites into manageable phases according to need and getting the most bang for our bucks. The 20 member committee met many times and after much spirited debate, adopted a plan which divided the dredging into 5 Phases.Phase 1, 2 and 3 were conducted by the Simonton Lake Area Homeowners Association.

The FIRST PHASE was completed in 2015 and funded by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a grant from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, private donations of residents.

It included:

  • Opening the waterway between the two basins (sometimes referred to as the Narrows)
  • Removing the developing sediment dam forming at the entrance to the east channels
  • Improving water access to the Boat Landing

The SECOND PHASE was completed in 2017 and was funded by an additional grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

It included:

  • Northwestern shoreline of east basin (Little Simonton),
  • West shoreline of the east basin, (Little Simonton)
  • Access to the Forest Road channel

The THIRD PHASE was funded by a grant from the Elkhart County Storm Water Board MS4 Fund. This Phase was 65% complete at the end of 2018. Dredging on Phase Three will resume in mid-September and will be completed by the end of 2019.

It includes:

  • Dredging the ends of the east channels dredging an area of the northwest corner of the west basin (Big Simonton) (Wogoman's Cove)


Simonton Lake Conservancy to Manage Future Dredging

The Simonton Lake Conservancy has managed our sewer system for the over 20 years. Through a legal process the Conservancy was given charge of: improving drainage, developing forests, wildlife areas, parks and recreational facilities, preventing erosion, and the operation, maintenance and improvement of any work of improvements for water-based recreational purposes (Dredging, Water Quality, Weed Control)

Because of this legal change any future dredging projects will be managed by the Conservancy using tax dollars.


Are there any dredging projects left to be done?

There are several areas identified for dredging in the Master Plan which include:

  • Areas at the western end of the west basin (Big Simonton) near the restaurants,
  • Some additional areas along the western shoreline and northern shoreline of the west basin (Big Simonton)
  • Several areas along the northern shoreline of the east basin (Little Simonton)

Any dredging done beyond 2019 will be managed and paid for by the Simonton Lake Conservancy District.


If you have questions, contact a neighborhood representative or a member of the Lake Association Board of Directors.


Past, Present, Future Dredging at Simonton Lake

dredging 2019