State Announces Its 2010 Fall Drawdown of Lakes
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) announced today that the annual fall drawdown of the lakes and ponds controlled by dams owned by DES will be initiated according to the schedule below.
|LAKE||RIVER||TOWN||START DATE||DEPTH (in feet)
|Angle Pond||Bartlett Brook||Sandown||Oct. 11||2’|
|Akers Pond||Greenough Brook||Errol||Oct. 11||1’|
|Ayers Lake||Tributary to Isinglass River||Barrington||Oct. 20||3’|
|Ballard Pond||Taylor Brook||Derry||Oct. 11||2’|
|Barnstead Parade||Suncook River||Barnstead||Oct. 11||1.5’|
|Bow Lake1||Isinglass River||Strafford||Oct. 11||5-7’|
|Burns Lake||Tributary to Johns River||Whitefield||Oct. 11||1.5’|
|Chesham Pond||Minnewawa Brook||Harrisville||Oct. 11||4’ to 2’|
|Crystal Lake||Crystal Lake Brook||Enfield||Oct. 11||4’|
|Crystal Lake||Suncook River||Gilmanton||Oct. 11||3’|
|Deering Reservoir||Piscataquog River||Deering||Oct. 11||5’|
|East Washington Pond||Beards Brook||Washington||Oct. 11||2’|
|Glen Lake/Greggs Falls||Piscataquog River||Goffstown||Oct. 30||1.5’|
|Goose Pond||Goose Pond Brook||Canaan||Oct. 11||7.5’|
|Grafton Pond||Bicknell Brook||Grafton||Oct. 11||2’|
|Great East Lake||Salmon Falls River||Wakefield||Oct. 1||3’|
|Great Pond||Powwow River||Kingston||Oct. 11||1’|
|Highland Lake||North Branch Contoocook River||Stoddard||Oct. 11||3’|
(aka Weare Reservoir)
|Piscataquog River||Weare||Oct. 16||5’|
|Horn Pond||Salmon Falls River||Wakefield||Oct. 1||1.5’|
|Howe Reservoir||Tributary to Minnewawa Brook||Dublin||Oct. 11||6’|
|Island Pond||North Branch Contoocook River||Stoddard||Oct. 11||3’|
|Lake Kanasatka||Tributary to Lake Winnipesaukee||Moultonboro||Nov. 1||1.5’|
|Kezar Lake||Lane River||Sutton||Sept. 30||2’|
|Kingswood Lake||Churchill Brook||Brookfield||Oct. 11||4’|
|Little Sunapee Lake||Kidder Brook||Sunapee||Oct. 15||1’|
|Lovell Lake||Branch River||Wakefield||Oct. 11||3’|
|Mascoma Lake||Mascoma River||Lebanon||Oct. 11||3’|
|Mendums Pond||Little River||Nottingham||Nov. 9||7’|
|Milton Three Ponds||Salmon Falls River||Milton||Oct. 11||3’|
|Newfound Lake||Newfound River||Bristol||Oct. 11||3.5’|
|Nippo Pond||Nippo Brook||Barrington||Oct. 11||2’|
|North River Pond||North River||Nottingham||Oct. 11||1’|
|Northwood Lake||Little Suncook River||Epsom||Oct. 9||6’|
|Opechee Lake||Winnipesaukee RIver||Laconia||Oct. 11||5’|
|Ossipee Lake||Ossipee River||Effingham||Oct. 11||3.25’|
|Pawtuckaway Lake||Pawtuckaway River||Nottingham||Oct. 11||7’|
|Pequawket Lake||Tributary to Swift River||Conway||Nov. 1||2’|
|Pine River Pond||Pine River||Wakefield||Oct. 11||8’|
|Pleasant Lake||Tributary to Little Suncook River||Deerfield||Oct. 11||3’|
|Sawyer Lake||Badger Brook||Gilmanton||Oct. 11||3’|
|Shellcamp Pond||Academy Brook||Gilmanton||Oct. 11||2’|
|Silver Lake||Minnewawa Brook||Harrisville||Oct. 11||3’|
|Squam Lake||Squam River||Ashland||Oct. 11||2.5’|
|Sunapee Lake||Sugar River||Sunapee||Oct. 11||2.5’|
|Suncook Lakes||Suncook River||Barnstead||Oct. 2||5’|
|Sunrise Lake||Dames Brook||Middleton||Oct. 18||2’|
|Sunset Lake||Suncook River||Alton||Oct. 11||7’|
|Trickling Falls||Powwow River||East Kingston||Nov. 1||1’|
|Webster Lake||Chance Brook||Franklin||Oct. 11||2’|
|Winnisquam Lake||Winnipesaukee River||Belmont||Oct. 11||2’|
1Bow Lake – The drawdown will be 2 feet deeper than normal for the period from November 1st to November 12th to allow for repair of the Town-owned dock. After the repairs are completed, the lake level will be raised to its normal drawdown depth of 5 feet.
The depth of drawdown listed above is not from the current level, but is from the normal full pond level. Since the hydrologic conditions and recreational uses of these water bodies vary, the degree and date of the start of drawdown for each lake vary and could be affected by the amount of rainfall during the period. In addition, the actual date at which the drawdown will begin could vary by a few days based on operational constraints. However, at three dams, the drawdowns will be initiated on a specific Saturday in October to provide recreational opportunities for canoeists and kayakers in the rivers below these dams. The schedule for these recreational opportunities is as follows:
- On October 2rd, approximately 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the Suncook River from the Suncook Lake Dam in Barnstead.
- On October 9th, approximately 250 to 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the Little Suncook River from the Northwood Lake Dam in Epsom.
- On October 16th, approximately 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the North Branch of the Piscataquog River from the Horace Lake Dam in Weare.
These special releases will start at or near 8 AM for the dates specified above, and will be reduced to near normal levels by 4 PM that same day. DES reminds people that canoeing and kayaking have inherent risks, and paddling the state’s lakes and rivers is at the paddler’s own risk.
Lake drawdowns are conducted each fall to reduce winter ice damage to shoreline properties and to reduce spring flooding. Drawdowns also give property owners an opportunity to conduct any necessary repairs to their waterfront property, provided they first secure a permit from the DES Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147.
Generally, lake levels are allowed to return to the normal full pond level in the spring. However, Angle Pond is allowed to return to normal at the beginning of December, and Chesham Pond is lowered by 4 feet starting after Columbus Day for a period of 6 to 8 weeks and the level is brought up to 2 feet below the normal full pond level for the remainder of winter. In addition, the drawdowns of Opechee and Winnisquam Lakes, which occur on a two-year interval, last only approximately two weeks. This year, the lowering of Opechee Lake will begin on October 11, and it will likely take two days to pass the water from Opechee Lake downstream through Winnisquam Lake. Therefore, the level of Winnisquam Lake is not expected to drop noticeably until October 18. On October 25 flows at Lakeport Dam will be increased to refill Opechee Lake, and the level of Winnisquam Lake should begin to rise late in the day on October 26.
Not included in this schedule is Lake Winnipesaukee. Unlike the other lakes in this schedule, Lake Winnipesaukee is not purposely drawn down in the fall. Instead, each year on Columbus Day, the releases from Lakeport Dam are reduced from a normal minimum of 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a flow between 30 and 50 cfs for a period of up to two weeks to allow for maintenance of the dams and hydropower facilities on the Winnipesaukee River. The flow of 30 to 50 cfs is the minimum flow needed to maintain the downstream aquatic life during this period.
By the middle of the fall, Lake Winnipesaukee is, on average, 15 inches below its springtime full level due to evaporation and releases from the lake that have occurred over the course of the summer. As a result of the reduction in the amount of water released from the dam after Columbus Day, the lake level does not drop for the remainder of the month of October and is generally maintained at this level through the month of December. Depending on the amount of snow on the ground in the winter, the lake level may be lowered further beginning in January to a depth of two feet below the normal full level.
A plot of the average lake levels throughout the year for Lake Winnipesaukee is provided on DES’s website at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/dam/winni_levels/index.htm. Also included are updated plots of this year’s lake levels, releases from the dam, and precipitation.
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