Large-Mouth Bass Fish Stocking

This past Friday, the SFLECC stocked Lakes Freeman and Shafer with 4,000 Large-Mouth Bass…Happy Fishing!🛶🐟

5th Annual Frenzy on Freeman!


The Greater Monticello Chamber of Commerce & White County Visitors Bureau and the SFLECC present the 5th Annual Frenzy on Freeman!

This year’s event will take place on Friday, June 7th, 2019 on the Madam Carroll boarding begins at 6 pm, cruising 7-10 pm.

Live Music by Ezra ~~~~ Catered by The Sportsman Inn

Tickets are $30/each and can be purchased online here

All proceeds benefit the SFLECC’s Keep the Lake Levels Fund & the Greater Monticello Chamber of Commerce
For more information contact the Chamber of Commerce at 574-583-7220 or

SFLECC Board of Directors Vacancy

A vacancy on the Board of Directors of Shafer and Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation (SFLECC) has occurred.

Those interested in being considered to fill this position should send their current resume to the SFLECC’s Nominating Committee.  Resumes should be received by May 15th, 2019.

Resumes should be sent to: SFLECC, Attn: Nominating Committee, P.O. Box 372, Monticello, Indiana  47960

The SFLECC does have an attendance policy for board members and each member is asked to serve on a sub-committee.  Approximately 10 hours of volunteer work per month is expected.  All board members must be legal residents of the State of Indiana and members of the corporation.  Please contact the SFLECC at 574-583-9784 with any questions or concerns.

Indiana Conservation Officers urge Hoosiers to “Spring Aboard”

Lake Signs Would Aid Rescue Workers

The Twin Lakes are going to get a little safer for those who need an ambulance or rescue services while on the water. A group of about 30 people met at the Monticello Fire Dept and decided on an address plate that will go on docks or somewhere on property facing the water. The roughly 6″x24″ sign is white with red letters, the address number being 3″ high and the street name below it being 2″ high and can be purchased for around $20 at Radical Graphics in Monticello (574)870-8873. Purchasing and putting up a sign is voluntary but would definitely help in a variety of ways on Lakes Freeman & Shafer.

Keeping our Lakes Clean!

From L to R: Paul Martin, Owen Lovvorn, Daryl Johns, Ed Lucy, and Grant Martin

This past Saturday, the SFLECC Board of Directors and Staff cleaned up trash along the shorefront from below Norway Dam to Riverside.

2018 SFLECC Annual Meeting

On Saturday, August 25th, we held our Annual Meeting. Service Awards were given to Ed Lucy and Marie Green for serving 6 years on our Board of Directors.

The Volunteer of the Year award was given to John Koppelmann for his tireless efforts on the ‘Save the Lake Levels’ Task Force.


“We are elated that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has decided to grant a rehearing on their June 21st order,” said SFLECC president Lee Kreul.  “While we were deeply disappointed that FERC’s final decision was not in our favor, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work.”  The SFLECC met with the staffs of U.S. Representative Todd Rokita, U.S. Senator Todd Young and U.S Senator Joe Donnelly and asked them to contact FERC on its behalf.  “We are extremely thankful that our elected officials put pressure on FERC.  Without the help of Rep. Rokita, Senators Young and Donnelly, we believe FERC would have let the deadline pass and ignored our request.”  In his letter to the FERC commissioners, U.S. Representative Rokita called FERC’s final order “heavy-handed” and repeated the SFLECC’s concerns that FWS’ order “gravely harms the City of Monticello, the Lake Freeman community and imperils small businesses, property values, tourism, tax revenue and health and safety.”

FERC’s June 21st order permanently amended Northern Indiana Public Services Company’s (NIPSCO) license to open the gates at the Oakdale Dam during “abnormal low flow” events in order to siphon water from Lake Freeman onto the habitat of endangered mussel species found below Oakdale Dam.  Despite FERC’s own staff “alternative recommendation” to the license that included NIPSCO’s cessation of power generation during low-flow events and for NIPSCO to “act to maintain” the lake level on Lake Freeman, in the final ruling, the commissioners stated that they were “constrained” by the Endangered Species Act.  The final order gave a 30-day deadline for a request to rehear the decision. The SFLECC filed the request on July 21st, citing:

  1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) own “biological opinion” declared that “the FERC Staff Alternative, as proposed, is “not likely to jeopardize the endangered species”, therefore, FERC should make the decision their own staff recommended.
  2. FERC erred by accepting the FWS’s self-proclaimed “best science”, despite contrary evidence presented by FERC and SFLECC’s expert hydrologists.
  3. The lowering of Lake Freeman caused harm to the environment, species and property values of lake residents.


The issue began during a drought in the summer of 2012, that resulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issuing a Technical Assistance Letter (TAL) in 2014 that mandated NIPSCO, the owner of Oakdale-Norway Project, to open the gates and send 500 CFS water from Lake Freeman during “low flow events”.  The FWS, citing the Endangered Species Act, mandated NIPSCO to temporarily violate its FERC issued operating license that required NIPSCO to keep the lake levels close to its “run-of-the-river” designation; guidelines that had been in effect for over 80 years.

Kreul admitted that the SFLECC is unclear what the rehearing will entail, but he added “we are still in this battle and using every means possible to fight for our lakes!”


The Shafer and Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation (SFLECC) recently filed a request for a rehearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on an order by the FERC Commissioners to make the temporary License FERC issued to NIPSCO in 2014 for the Norway-Oakdale hydroelectric project on the Tippecanoe River permanent.  The FERC Order ostensibly supports the request of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for more water to be let out through the Oakdale Dam in times of abnormal low river flow into Lakes Freeman and Shafer. The purpose of the directive is to support endangered species of mussels.

Strangely, the decision by the Commissioners is counter to recommendations by FERC’s own staff for changes in the temporary license – changes that would have provided for more water for the lower river in times of abnormal low flows from upstream by reducing power generation at the Oakdale Dam, thus avoiding extreme lowered lake levels.

Under the Temporary License, Lake Freeman was lowered 23 inches in 2014 causing closure of the Lake to boaters.  Just this past week, during a declared abnormal low flow period, under the temporary License NIPSCO dropped the Lake 3 inches.  After several periods of rain It has since returned to traditional levels.  Access and boating on the Lake is curtailed when the water level drops 12 inches or more from its target level of normal 612.45 ft.

SFLECC President Lee Kreul and SFLECC’s Lake Levels Task Force Chair John Koppelmann stated that, “Obviously we are very disappointed in the FERC Commissioners ruling to make the 2014 Temporary License permanent. We want them to reconsider their actions. Over the last five years, despite countless man hours, money spent and the financial support from the governments of White and Carroll counties, the city of Monticello and the Twin Lakes and the public, we have come up short of our goal to seek agreement  from the FERC Commissioners that the natural flow of the river and holding the Lake levels constant, was the best alternative for all parties. We have no doubt that, with their Order the Lakes will continue to suffer minor and major drops in levels for lengthy periods, and closures of Lake Freeman, especially during the summer months, will occur.  We also must consider that the waters of Lake Shafer could also eventually be tapped.”

Among the points in their Request for Rehearing SFLECC lists several major errors by the FERC Commissioners in their ruling:

  1. The Commissioner’s ruling ignores the fact that FWS in its’ Biological Opinion admitted that the FERC’s Staff Alternative for operation of the Oakdale dam was “not likely” to jeopardize the continued existence of the endangered mussels or adversely affect their habitat. Yet FWS insisted that their approach to controlling flow is superior and demands it be used.
  2. The commissioners erred by automatically accepting FWS self-proclaimed hydrological methodology as embodying the “best science” available and ignored testimony by other noted hydrological scientists with contrary views. Also, contrary to Federal law it (FWS), did not detail the qualifications of FWS personnel who developed the FWS methodology.
  3. By Federal law the Commission is not obligated to automatically accept FWS’ self-proclaimed “best science”. To do so is contrary to the Commission’s responsibility.
  4. The Commission erred by not considering the riparian rights of property owners around the Lakes, denying the property owners access to the Lakes fronting their properties.
  5. The Order violates the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution due to the inequitable treatment of owners of property along lake Freeman in comparison to property owners on Lake Shafer.

Clink on the following link to view the request: Request for Rehearing


Lee Kreul, President – (765)412-2984

John Koppelmann, Lake Levels Task Force Chair – (574)583-3171

ALF Event Watch Issued for Lake Freeman

An Abnormal Low Flow (ALF) Event Watch has been issued for Lake Freeman, as the prior 24 daily average for flows at the Winamac USGS gauge dropped to 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) or below, or 600 cfs or below at the Oakdale USGS gauge.

As of July 17, the 24 hour daily average at the Winamac USGS gauge is 298 cfs and the 24 hour daily average at the Oakdale USGS gauge is 573 cfs.

The surface elevation taken near the face of the Oakdale Hydroelectric Dam was measured at 610.33 below the normal operating target of 610.35ft. The change in surface elevation measured at the hydro does not reflect or equate to the same potential change in depth for other areas of the lake. Surface elevation is the relative measurement to sea level, local datum. A change of .01 ft in the surface elevation equates to 1/100th of a foot or .12 inches.  NIPSCO does not measure average depths.  Lake levels have not been impacted at this time, but this could be a possibility so please be aware.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers, remind the public to be mindful of their surroundings and be aware of any submerged objects in or underneath the surface of the water.  Due to the water levels objects such as tree stumps, old dock pilings and such may start to show or become a hazard to boat operators, swimmers, and tubers.

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