UP­DATE: Pop­u­lar Rockville Lake Back in Busi­ness Af­ter June Del­uge Un­der­mined Dam

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week -

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.

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