Federal officials are proposing a potential long-term plan to mitigate economic damage wrought on this White County community by efforts to protect several species of endangered mussels.

For the last two weeks the Lake Freeman water level has dropped as NIPSCO diverted water to the Tippecanoe River under a federal order to protect the river's mussels.

But there remains no short-term timeline to bring relief to Lake Freeman property and business owners who have watched their profitable economic asset become almost unusable.

On Aug. 1, the lake began dropping as NIPSCO diverted more water through its Oakdale Dam to alleviate pressure on water-starved mussels. The lake level reached a low of 23 inches below normal, stranding boats and revealing submerged logs and other safety hazards. It was 15 inches down Thursday.

Several businesses tied to the lake have laid off staff.

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