UPDATE: Popular Rockville Lake Back in Business After June Deluge Undermined Dam
Lake Needwood, a 75- acre pond within Rock Creek Regional Park in Rockville, will open for boating and boat rentals next weekend, almost a year after the Needwood Dam was damaged by heavy rains. “ We’re looking forward to a complete season this year,” said Needwood Boathouse Manager Kevin Van Scoyk. “ Last summer’s devastating storms swept in and unexpectedly cut our boating season short.”
More than 2,000 people were evacuated from homes below the dam in June when a four- day deluge threatened to top the 65- foot- high earthen structure and small leaks were spotted at its base. The water level was 22 feet above normal, engulfing the Needwood Boathouse, parking lots and surrounding trails.
Boaters with their own canoes and paddle boats were allowed to return in August, but the future of the park’s popular boat rental program remained in doubt. More than 12,600 boaters used the lake in 2005.
Repairs to the dam are not expected to be complete until after summer, but engineers have deemed the structure sound and officials reported no leaks during recent down- pours.
Weekend boat rentals will begin May 5, with Wednesdaythrough- Sunday rentals beginning May 30 and continuing through Labor Day. The Montgomery County Department of Parks plans to hold a grand reopening of the reconstructed boathouse June 9, with a boat and bike demonstration day sponsored by Hudson Trail Outfitters.
Montgomery officials continue to monitor the dam, which overlooks a densely populated neighborhood. Contractors have nearly completed the first phase of the $ 3.8 million repair, injecting grout into drilled holes to prevent water from seeping through cracks in the rock foundation. A second phase, the installation of a gravel monitoring filter just below the dam, should be finished by fall.
“ We expect the structural integrity of the dam to be at full strength when we’re finished,” said Project Manager Andy Frank, an engineer with the Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The structure was built in 1965 by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to prevent flooding along Rock Creek.
— Steve Hendrix
Weekend boat rentals at Lake Needwood in Rockville will resume May 5, and Wednesday-through-Sunday rentals will begin again May 30.