Good Morning
Good Morning

Letter: Don’t remove dams at Yaphank’s lakes

Hards Lake in Yaphank. (Sept. 7, 2015)

Hards Lake in Yaphank. (Sept. 7, 2015) Credit: Ian J. Stark


As founder of the Yaphank Save the Lakes Coalition and president of the Yaphank Historical Society, I found the article on removing dams misleading [“In hot water,” News, Dec. 29].

The lakes, formerly mill ponds dammed along the Carmans River in the 18th and 19th centuries, are the natural boundaries for the hamlet of Yaphank. Yaphank’s identity is attached to Willow Lake and Lily Lake.

The lakes are a destination for summer tourists, and the community uses them for swimming, fishing, canoeing and bird-watching.

For several years, the integrity of the lakes has been compromised by an infestation of two invasive species of non-indigenous plants. Dredging the upper, Willow Lake, has brought it back to life.

Lily Lake awaits the decision to dredge. In the meantime, the water level is low. One test, in an unusually warm and dry year like 2015, does not provide accurate comparative data.

Since the dams were built, sea-run brook trout have come up the Carmans River and flourished. There is a lobby of fishermen — in particular, Trout Unlimited — that has been trying to remove the dams to see whether the trout would proceed farther upstream.

This would be at the expense of the existing natural lake environment, which has been the heart and soul of Yaphank for 300 years. In the meantime, the dams need repair.

Robert Kessler