Homeowners on West Lakes feel hopeless with more rain ahead

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Flooding caused in part by fallen trees in the Elkhart River has homeowners on the West Lake chain feeling hopeless. The issue is nothing new for the community and with the holiday weekend ahead, their plans to be on the water are canceled.

For the last two weeks, Judy Herber felt like she was living in the twilight zone. The flooding on Waldron Lake is almost as bad as it was her first summer on the lake in 2015.

“It was just very depressing and it’s like it’s all over again.”

A DNR advisory issued this week will keep all motorized boats off the lake, and with rain in the forecast, it’s hard for residents to be optimistic.

“I came up here and bought a lake home and wanted my family and friends to enjoy it and we can’t even enjoy it now.”

Gordon Anthony lives on Holiday Point, west of Judy’s house. As a past president of the neighborhood association, he said they’ve tried for years to start a program to clean up the river with the hope of less flooding.

“The river itself is choked with logs and with trees that are down, there’s debris. That all catches more debris and the more debris you get piled up on a log the greater the stoppage is and it goes into the floodplain and when the floodplains are full it goes into our houses.”

He said they even invested $10,000 to try to get something done. But they aren’t really getting anywhere and the rain keeps coming. “You end up sitting there with your chin in your hand and watching the water creep up the wall until it actually starts coming into your house.”

“I’m just very depressed; this is depressing. It’s sad that nothing is really been done for all these years for the homeowners on our lakes here. Something should be done,” Herber said.

Noble County Emergency Manager Mick Newton told NewsChannel 15 that he believes trees falling into the river have impeded the flow of the water in the river, causing it to rise in the West Lakes area. He said over the past few weeks, while the Elkhart River went down, the water level of the lakes stayed high because of the log jam. To make matters worse, Newton said the rain the past week only heightened the flood waters.

Newton said Noble County Surveyor Randy Sexton is working on the issue.