Brookhaven Town officials on Monday started draining Lower Yaphank Lake as part of a $2.5 million project removing sediments and nonnative plants to restore the lake to recreational use.
“These lakes were used for kayaking and fishing, and they will be again,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said during a morning news conference at the lake. “Our job is to restore the health of the lakes that have been invaded by nonnative aquatic plants.”
The draining and dredging operations developed from a 2009 Suffolk County feasibility study to eradicate several Brookhaven lakes from invasive species, town officials said.
Canaan Lake in North Patchogue was drained earlier this summer and Upper Yaphank Lake in 2013. The town’s department of recycling and sustainable materials management will perform the work at Lower Yaphank Lake, which includes dismantling an old dam.
“These lakes are the identity of our community,” said Chad Trusnovec, vice president of the Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association. “Yaphank was built around these lakes. This has been a long time coming and I’m very excited.”
Officials estimate the Lower Yaphank Lake project will cost between $2 million and $2.5 million and is expected to be completed in May.
The project timeline includes scraping the lake bottom this winter to remove nutrients that feed the invasive plants, Romaine said. On Monday, the first boards were removed from the dam to increase the water flow from the lake into the Carmans River.
More than 40 local residents attended the news conference on the side of the road near Yaphank Avenue and Main Street in Yaphank.
“We look forward to seeing people kayak and canoe, fish and ice skate in the winter," said Linda Petersen, president of the Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association. "It’s a wonderful amenity to have in Brookhaven.”