Copies of petitions seeking changes in stored water levels at Rough River Reservoir were circulated this week around the county.
The petitions ask the Corps of Engineers and the federal government to re-evaluate water storage and releases at the dam, water levels more conducive to tourism and "corporate development, retirement and long-term housing."
The petitions call for a new study of the area below the dam to see whether or not the original reason for the dam -- flood control for downstream agriculture -- still is a viable basis for lake levels.
"We would like to see the winter pool raised to 489 feet (now at 470 feet in winter) and leave the summer pool levels where they are, 495 feet," the petition said.
When protecting the farmlands was crucial, the reason for building the dam in the 1950s, the current water levels were set, but the petition indicates needs have changed.
"Today tourism brings in over $50 million annually to counties and businesses around the lake, but when the water's not there, this income drops off significantly.
The petition calls for a new study tobe made that would weight economic and tourism equally with downstream farming.
The petition suggests that if farmers below the dam are suffering losses, "some form of reliable subsidy for crops damaged due to flooding should be considered."
Sport fishing would also benefit from a rise in the winter lake levels, the petition claims, giving marinas the ability to stay in place and allow an extension of fishing seasons.