LORAIN, Ohio - Low water levels at the Lorain Port Authority have caused a boat ramp to close.
Rick Novak, the executive director of the Lorain Port Authority, said the water level at the east side boat launch off of Alabama Avenue has dropped more than a foot and a half. This makes it difficult to launch boats down the ramps into the water.
"I've never seen it this low before," said Novak who has been Director of the Lorain Port Authority for 25 years.
Novak said a dry spring and dry summer provided little run off from area rivers and streams.
Novak said boats could be damaged and the dock destroyed if it's not completely removed. Lorain has several boat launches but the Eastside launch is usually busy.
Novak said when a south wind blows pushing the water away from shore, the docks are up to two feet lower. A stiff north wind Friday did little to raise water levels.
The busy perch fishing season is about to start and duck hunters use the launch through Thanksgiving. But the dock has been shut down until spring or later depending on when and if water levels rise.
Normally, the ramp's dock has four floating platforms. However, since the water levels dropped, the platforms are now resting on the bottom of the harbor and will have to be removed to avoid being damaged. Once they are removed, there will not be a place to tie up the boats in the harbor and the ramp will have to remain closed for the rest of the summer.
The Port of Lorain is dredged regularly to maintain its depth, so navigation problems have not been reported due to low water. But Novak says he wouldn't doubt if it's becoming a problem elsewhere.
In 2010, at least 775 people used the east side boat launch.