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Deep Creek Water Management Public Hearing

Deep Creek Lake landowners are wanting to reduce releases for the Upper Yough.

Upper Yough, Upper Youghiogheny River, Friendsville, Trout Unlimited, Ken's Irish Pub, Precision Rafting, Wilderness Voyageurs, Friends of Deep Creek Lake, American Whitewater, Three Rivers Paddling Club, American Canoe Association, Garrett County MD. Garrett County Government, Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan, Unit4media, Deep Creek Water Management Public Hearing

Upper Yough in the Fall by Jeff Macklin


Recently a small but powerful group of land owners in the back coves of Deep Creek Lake have been trying to reduce the number and type of whitewater releases on the Upper Section of the Youghiogheny.

Their main concern is that the lake is to low in the  late summer and fall months to dock their ski boats near their houses. They think limiting the whitewater releases will solve the problem. As I learn more about the relationship between the land owners recreational use for the water, the whitewater community’s economic use for the water, stakeholders using the resource, power being generated by Deep Creek Hydro plant from the water and let’s not forget the ecosystem’s dependence, the complexities of the issue begin to grow a louder voice.

A recent Deep Creek Water Management Public Hearing gave all parties a platform to be heard.

The recent Deep Creek Lake Public hearing was held at Garrett County Community College. A 13 goal plan was submitted. The meeting was headed by Commissioner of Garrett CountyPaul Clatyon Edwards Chairman and Commissioner of Garrett County. Along with other commissioners Steven Larry Tichnell and James Carlton Hinebaugh

Paul did all of the speaking and directing of the meeting and was attentive, cordial, personable and rather humorous during the hour long Deep Creek Water Management Public hearing.


Landowners, Stakeholders, Business Owners, Committee Members, Fishermen and Boaters supported the steady releases for the Youghioghney River.

Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing
Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing, Deep Creek Lake Public Hearing

Goal 12 affects the whitewater community.

Assure that the water appropriation analysis and allocation methodology for Deep Creek Lake provides a fair distribution of water for all users, especially during the months of May through September. To study all Deep Creek Lake water releases and water inputs to determine if there is a different scientific method to maintain lake levels for lake recreation, whitewater boating and temperature enhancement that does not adversely affect any of these stakeholders.

Currently Roger Zbel and Jess Whittemore are spearheading the watchdog effort but the boating community is rallied behind them. “They know what’s best for the river”, was said time and time again from many of the people at the meeting. You can visit their links to learn more of their credentials that clearly make them candidates to follow for the boating community.

The Upper Yough is a world class IV-V section of whitewater in Garrett County Maryland ideal for whitewater kayaking.

The Youghiogheny was River of the Year in 2008 and was selected as one of the top ten amazing river trips in the nation. Land owners around Deep Creek Lake are wanting to limit release dates from the whitewater community to have higher levels in the lake during late summer months for power boating.

The Youghiogheny starts in Preston County West Virginia.

Near Backbone Mountain the river flows north through Garrett County Maryland and on into Pennsylvania between Fayette and Somerset Counties. Here it meets the Allegheny in Pittsburgh and on into the Ohio river making the iconic upper outline of the West Virginia border.

Ohiopyle Falls, Lower youghiogheny river, Deep Creek Water Management Public Hearing

Ohiopyle Adventure Photography

Most boaters who kayak the legendary Youghiogheny river already know this bit of history and the fantastic whitewater sections such as the Lower Yough  with Ohiopyle Falls a 15′ waterfall in the middle of the town Ohiopyle.

The Middle Yough is above this section and is mostly scenic flat water ran by families in self guided rafts and also fished for world class trout. The Upper Yough above the middle section is known  for legendary continuous class IV- V whitewater. Above that is a not so famous but incredible section known as the Top Yough and then an incredible lake Deep Creek Lake.

Suzanne, Max, Dominique Pinion along with Kim, Jaxon and Brad Birkhimer as well as Amanda, Finnegan, and Steve Barber all reunited for the weekend at the Attwood Lake House and it was fantastic.

There is also another incredible lake that does not share the glory of Deep Creek above the Middle Yough section called Yough Lake near Confluence Pennsylvania. It’s warm crystal clear waters are great for all kinds of lake recreation or stand up paddle boarding. Yough Lake Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Deep Creek Water Management Public Hearing

Anyway you look at it this river is amazing and the lakes, fishermen, landowners, kayakers, power boaters all want to enjoy this precious resource. It also happens to be pristine waters in a fragile water shed teaming with life and a prosperous ecosystem that proliferates world class trout fishing.

To me it seems clear that the balance of nature and the whole of Garrett County have a greater stake in what comes out of Deep Creek Lake rather than what is held back. Releases are paramount for fish to survive in the river during the summer and fall months. To hold the water back in Deep Creek Lake so you can dock your boat closer to your house is not enough of a reason to tip the scale of the already delicate balance that was set into place for release schedules that already have such an incredible economic impact in Friendsville Maryland. Residents and business owners are just looking for stability in a challenged economic area.

Both sides of the issue were presented to the County Commissioners.

Jess Whittemore representing Friendsville summed up the this stability issue clearly during the public hearing and has written extensively about the water budget in response to Morgan France’s Report.


Morgan France was also able to present the stance of the back cove lake land owners during the public hearing and it was a very friendly, professional exchange that the commissioners will no doubt have difficult time resolving.

Deep Creek Lake is fully developed. Holding back water holds back growth.

It’s time to spread around the economic benefits to all in Garrett County rather than the businesses and land owners around the lake. It’s clear this body of water and river have an incredibly dedicated following. It’s time to take a look at this amount of dedication and apply it to more of our great nation’s rivers. The plan that has been in place works and limiting the releases is not the answer.

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