Drastic drop in Lake Helen water levels leaving docks high and dry



LAKE HELEN, Fla. - The water is so low in Lake Helen that docks are out of the water and a person can walk across the lake in some sections. A public boat ramp no longer reaches the water.

Residents said they are doing what they can to save their lake, but they worry that if something isn't done soon, they won't have much of a lake left.

The lake that gave a Volusia County city its name is losing more water by the week.

"For a little small town like this, this is where people come to relax at the end of their day. And now it's green and almost gone," said Lake Helen resident James Tyler.

Tyler lives on Lake Helen. He said the St. Johns River Water Management District is telling him the lake's low water level is due to a lack of rain. But he, like many other residents, believes that urban development and construction of retention ponds are the real reason water levels are so low.

"We're waiting for Mother Nature to save us because we're not getting very far with any other organizations," said Tyler.

"The health of the lake is a definite concern. We've found some dead turtles around. We're fearful that if we have an algae bloom, we're going to have massive fish kills," Lake Helen Mayor Buddy Snowden said.

The St. Johns River Water Management District said rainfall in Volusia County is down 11 inches from its average. They said that is more than any other central Florida County.

The district says it hopes to develop a long-term plan to keep the lake from dropping.