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Mississinewa Lake flooding approaches record-high levels

MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The campgrounds around the Mississinewa Lake in Miami County have been shut down for nearly a month now, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Mississinewa Reservoir property manager Larry Brown says they have a close eye on the water level, which is measured in relation to sea level. The previous record high was in 1982 when waters hit 771 feet. Thursday, levels are six feet higher – approaching 777 feet.

“Our floodplain here, before we go into the emergency spillway, is 779. So we are about two feet away from that”, said Brown.

He said flooding is common with any reservoir. But with recent flooding, they are in uncharted territory.

“It’s unprecedented with the amount of water we are having,” Brown said.

He estimates a revenue loss of $171,000, but that may be on the conservative side.

“We’ve got fencing floating, signs floating,” explained Brown. “We will have sediment on the road that we are going to have to clean up.”

Brown said he’s most worried about the cost of vegetation and landscaping losses.

“We’ve got 36 new trees that we planted over the past two years, at $155 a piece. We are going to lose them all I think,” Brown said.

Mississinewa Lake is one of three reservoirs to control flooding along the Upper Wabash. So despite the looks, Brown said it’s doing its job.

“They are holding back. That’s what it’s designed for so that the river won’t take on more than it can sustain,” said Brown. “And to protect those towns and cities below us. Just think about what this would’ve caused if the reservoirs weren’t here. We would have no control on what goes on in the Wabash (River).”

So for now, Brown has no control over when he can reopen the campground. He said they evaluate each week and try to predict how much longer their campground will be closed, then they issue refunds as decisions are made.