Clay County dam break alters Peters Creek | News

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Clay County dam break alters Peters Creek

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. --  A dam break Friday night in Clay County did not cause flooding as expected but that break did alter the appearance of Peters Creek near Green Cove Springs.

A dam broke Friday night in Clay County at Wright's Lake and emergency management officials thought there could be some flash flooding as the water from that lake went into Peter's Creek. They issued a flash flood warning.

The expected flooding did not occur. But those who live along the creek woke up to a much different creek and hope it isn't permanently damaged.

The earthen headwall of Wright's Lake Dam on private property began to fail around 10:30 Friday night.

Mike Smiley lives on the creek just north of the lake.  

"I did not see the levels rise at all," said Smiley. "Everything looks kind of normal, just the water got real murky. Every time it rains it gets a little murky, but this is a little bit murkier than normal."

At that point on the creek the color of the water appears brown, but further north a different story, a lighter brown color. Stan Hunt, his son Collier and Brian Clark looked out over Peters Creek and did not like what they saw. 

"This creek looks terrible right now. It looks like chocolate milk, and usually this creek is stained a little bit with the  leaves from the oak trees, so it is clear up until about  two feet so you can see the bottom. So while it is stained it is still clear. Right now you can't see two inches under the water," Hunt said. 

"A little let down, it shouldn't be this way, especially if it was preventable," said Brian Clark, 26, who grew up along Peters Creek.

Hunt, who has lived on Peters Creek ten years, has a fish feeder for his kids to drop feed into the water for the fish.

"Usually they just go bananas, come up and eat it. But there is not a single fish coming up here anywhere, so I am concerned there is a fish kill."

Hunt is hopeful this new look isn't permanent.  

"I am very concerned that fish have been killed, and there is going to be some long term damage,  to the water and the wildlife. We've go a beautiful place here on  Peters Creek and I am concerned  longterm that, I hope it will clean up like it used to be. I hope it does not turn into creek that is known for being void of life," said Hunt. 

Hunt said there is a lot of tidal activity here and springs and he is hopeful that nature can overcome this situation pretty quickly.    

The creek was closed to boat traffic on Saturday while county officials assessed the situation.

Peters Creek is closed to boat traffic today while county officials assess the situation along the creek.


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