Sheila Stogsdill

Special to the Grove Sun

Grand Lake businessman Joe Harwood isn’t waiting until next summer to wage his campaign against lowering the lake level.

 Every August for the past 15 years Grand River Dam Authority lowered the lake level from 744 feet to 741 feet for their millet seeding program, Harwood said.

 “The problem is the program has never been a success,” Harwood said.

 Justin Alberty, GRDA spokesman was unavailable for comment.

 Grand Lake was built in the late 1930s. GRDA, which operates under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was formed to operate the lake and the hydroelectric plant in Pensacola Dam.

 This year GRDA lowered the lake in mid-August right before the Labor Day weekend and they didn’t plant any seed, Harwood said.

 Those three feet caused hundreds problems for the dock owners’ and lots of recreational hazards, Harwood said.   

 “Lowering the lake affects us all,” Harwood said.  “It’s bad for recreation and it’s basically unsafe.”

 One resident just closed on their lake home in August and were preparing for family and friends to visit them over Labor Day weekend.  The trouble they encountered is they couldn’t put the boat in the water because the lake was too low, he said.

 Harwood, who owns Arrowhead Yacht Club on Grand Lake and has served as Tourism Commissioner under multiple governors, developed a ballot devoted to find out if residents are in favor of lower the lake level to 741 feet before the next year’s Labor Day weekend.

 “I am just proactively trying to get the issue out (in the pubic eye) before the next boating season,” Harwood said.

 He also mailed the ballot to officials, city, county, state and federal, who represent Grand Lake.

 “So far I have received 400 ballots,” Harwood said.

 The extended deadline is Oct. 14, he said.