USACE to host open house for Blue Marsh Lake Master Plan revision

USACE Philadelphia District
Published March 9, 2023
Blue Marsh Lake provides year round recreation activities including fishing, hiking, and sight-seeing.

Blue Marsh Lake provides year round recreation activities including fishing, hiking, and sight-seeing.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will host an open house on March 23, 2023, to kick off a process to revise the 1975 Blue Marsh Lake Master Plan. The open house will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Berks County Agricultural Center, 1238 County Welfare Road, Leesport, PA 19533. 

During the open house session, there will be no formal presentation. The public is invited to visit at any point during the 5-7 p.m. timeframe to interact with USACE team members. Team members will be stationed around the room and can share information about the revision process, provide the general schedule, and gather initial feedback from the public. 

Master Plan Overview

The Master Plan is defined as the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of all recreational, natural, and cultural resources throughout the life of the water resource development project. It defines "how" USACE will manage the resources for public use and conservation. 

The current Blue Marsh Lake Master Plan, last approved in 1975, needs revision to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends, and the USACE management policy. Key topics to be discussed in the revised Master Plan include revised land use classifications, new natural and recreational resource management objectives, recreation facility needs, and special issues such as invasive species management and threatened and endangered species habitat.

The Master Plan revision WILL NOT address the technical and operational aspects of the lake related to flood risk management or the water conservation missions of the project. 

Initial Comments
An initial 30-day comment period will begin March 23, 2023, and end April 22, 2023. The public can send comments, suggestions, and concerns during this time. Comments must be submitted in writing at the open house or digitally via the comment form on the Master Plan Revision webpage:

The webpage also contains a presentation which will be available during the open house. The presentation provides a schedule as well as details on an additional comment period after the draft report is released (currently scheduled for February 2024).

About Blue Marsh Lake
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Philadelphia District 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Blue Marsh Lake is located northwest of Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania. This is a multipurpose project built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District. The dam was authorized by Congress for flood control, water supply, water quality and recreation. Construction began in 1974 and was completed in 1979. The dam is located on the Tulpehocken Creek, and the project's water control practices benefit downstream communities. Blue Marsh Lake provides flood risk management benefits primarily for Reading, Birdsboro and Pottstown areas. Water supply and water quality management practices benefit areas further downstream, including Philadelphia. While the main purpose of Blue Marsh was to provide flood control to part of the Schuylkill River Valley, over the years the lake has become a recreational hotspot. With more than 36 miles of trails, thousands of acres of land, picnic areas, a small beach and boat launches the lake can accommodate all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. Blue Marsh Lake receives approximately 900,000 visitors per year.

Scott Sunderland
Steve Rochette

Release no. 23-004