(HARRISBURG) – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne/Monroe/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) and Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne) joined members and staff of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to provide an update and new details regarding the Lower Woods Pond Rehabilitation Project in Lebanon Township, Wayne County.
The $2.6 million dollar project, which will include reconstructing three dams and a spillway, will be opened for bids in May, with work expected to begin this fall.
“This announcement is incredibly exciting for our region,” Senator Baker said. “There was great disappointment and concern back in 2012 when the water was drained, and people questioned whether they would ever be able to utilize Lower Woods Pond again. This has been a long process, but I am very pleased that PFBC has recognized the significance of this project and what it means for local recreation, economic development, and tourism. Wayne County has the highest number of impaired, high-hazard dams in the state of Pennsylvania, and this is a positive step forward to reduce this problem.”
“This project will not only better our environment here, but it will encourage and contribute to an uptick in tourism for Wayne County and provide a positive economic impact,” Rep. Fritz said. “I applaud the work that our local leaders and the PFBC have put into this project and look forward to seeing the transformation of Lower Woods Pond once it is completed.”
PFBC anticipates outdoor enthusiasts will once again be able to enjoy the 91-acre attraction by the end of 2023. While boaters will be back on the water right away, anglers will have to be more patient. Once the pond is refilled, a multi-year restocking plan will begin to reestablish a world-class fishery, which will include Largemouth Bass and Walleye.
Throughout the construction process, PFBC will be assessing the natural habitat, such as the trees and other vegetation that has grown since the lake has been dry, and will be working with local partners to add man-made fish habitat structures that will benefit aquatic life and anglers for decades to come.
“This really is happening,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director said. “We’re committed to it. The funding is in place, the process is working. And, again, by the end of the year, you’re going to see dirt moving here at Lower Woods Pond.”
“I want to say thank you from my heart, and from the other commissioners, and all the people in Wayne County,” Brian Smith, Wayne County Commissioner said. “Because not only do we have the greatest number of impaired dams when it comes to high-hazard dams and fishing lakes, but we also have the highest number of out-of-state fishing license sales in the state of Pennsylvania. People come here from all over the place to experience fishing in Wayne County.”