Enders Lake decline not Licking’s fault or doing
By Russ Pankonin, The Imperial Republican
You’ve heard the old phrase, “Don’t kill the messenger?” Well that applies with the decline at Enders Lake and the static (that’s a nice way of putting it) that Game & Parks Superintendent Beau Licking is getting over this.
Two downstream irrigation districts owned the rights to just more than 4,000 acre feet of water in the lake. For a number of years, these districts chose to store the water rather than release it for irrigation purposes. Anywhere along the way, they could have called for the water.
As a result, we have benefitted recreationally from the water they chose to store in the lake.
Earlier this year, the Middle Republican Natural Resources District purchased the water from the irrigation districts. They did so in order to remain in compact compliance with Kansas for past overuse in their district. Now that water is being released into the Frenchman River and eventually into the Republican River.
Losing six feet of elevation in Enders Lake saddens many, me included. However, I don’t believe it’s the beginning of the end for Enders Lake.
We’ve forgotten that in 2000 and 2001, the lake finished the irrigation season at nearly the same level it will be at when the current release is complete. Granted, the lake will not be what we’ve been accustomed to but we will still have a lake. In Colorado, they drained Bonny Reservoir for compliance purposes.
People who use the lake feel frustrated by the current situation. They’re mad and looking for someone to vent on. Unfortunately, that person is all too often Licking. Being on duty at the lake makes him an easy target for people to take out their frustrations.
Let’s remember that neither Licking nor the Game & Parks has any control over the management of the water in the lake. It’s not their fault that the boat ramps are out of the water and they’ve had to close them.
Licking and his staff are trying to accommodate visitors by creating temporary ramp areas where boats can still be launched. That kind of commitment should be appreciated.
So as we go into this holiday weekend at Enders Lake, and we see Licking and his staff, let’s remember not to “kill the messenger.”