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Sedimentation Survey of Lake Decatur's Big and Sand Creek Basins, Macon County, Illinois Bogner, William C., 2002  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS CR 2002-09    Full Text Available
Sedimentation detracts from the use of any water-supply lake by reducing lake depth and volume, with a reduction of reserve water-supply capacity and possible burying of intake structures. Sedimentation of a reservoir is a natural process that can be accelerated or slowed by human activities in the watershed.

Lake Decatur is located in Macon County, northeast of Decatur, Illinois. The location of the dam is 39° 49’ 28” north latitude and 88° 57’ 30” west longitude in Section 22, T.16N., R.2W., Macon County, Illinois. The dam impounds the Sangamon River in the Sangamon River basin. The watershed is a portion of Hydrologic Unit 07130006 as defined by the U.S. Geological Survey. The lake was constructed in 1922 with a spillway level of 610 feet above mean sea level (feet-msl). In 1956, a set of hydraulic gates was installed on the original spillway to allow variable lake levels from 610 feet-msl to 615 feet-msl. The portions of the lake surveyed for the present study were the Big and Sand Creek basins. These basins are the two major tributary stream basins formed to the south (Sand Creek) and east (Big Creek) of the main body of the lake. They receive the flow of Sand, Big, and Long Creeks.

Lake Decatur has been surveyed to document sedimentation conditions nine times since 1930. Five of these survey efforts (1936, 1946, 1956, 1966, and 1983) were sufficiently detailed to be termed full lake sedimentation surveys. The survey discussed in detail in this report is not a full lake sedimentation survey. However, additional work included in the present study could be combined with the 2000 survey of Basin 6 of Lake Decatur to provide a complete baseline survey for future reference.

Sedimentation has reduced Big Creek basin capacity from 2,754 acre-feet (ac-ft) in 1922 to 1,512 ac-ft in 2001. The 2001 basin capacity was 54.9 percent of the 1922 potential basin capacity. For water-supply purposes, these volumes convert to capacities of 897 million gallons in 1922 and 493 million gallons in 2001. Sedimentation rate analyses indicate a decline in annual sediment deposition rates from 28 ac-ft (1922-1946) to 9.9 ac-ft annually (1983-2001). The long-term average annual deposition rate was 15.7 ac-ft (1922-2001).

Sedimentation has reduced the Sand Creek basin capacity from 610 acre-feet (ac-ft) in 1922 to 246 ac-ft in 2001. The 2001 basin capacity was 40.3 percent of the 1922 potential basin capacity. For water-supply purposes, these volumes convert to capacities of 199 million gallons in 1922 and 80 million gallons in 2001. Sedimentation rate analyses indicate a decline in annual sediment deposition rates from 8.4 ac-ft (1922-1946) to 2.3 ac-ft annually (1983-2001). The long-term average annual deposition rate was 4.6 ac-ft (1922-2001).



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