skip navigation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

Media Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: September 11, 2018
CONTACT: Dan Mattaini, (603) 271-8867
des.nh.gov
twitter.com/NHDES

State Announces Its 2018 Fall Drawdown of Lakes

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced today that the annual fall drawdown of the lakes and ponds controlled by dams owned by NHDES will be initiated according to the schedule below.

 

LAKE RIVER TOWN START DEPTH
(in feet)
FROM FULL

Akers Pond

Greenough Brook

Errol

Oct. 15

1'

Angle Pond

Bartlett Brook

Sandown

Oct. 15

2'

Ayers Lake

Tributary to Isinglass River

Barrington

Oct. 15

3'

Ballard Pond

Taylor Brook

Derry

Oct. 15

2'

Barnstead Parade

Suncook River

Barnstead

Oct. 15

1.5'

Bow Lake

Isinglass River

Strafford

Oct. 15

4'

Burns Lake

Tributary to Johns River

Whitefield

Oct. 15

1.3'

Chesham Pond1

Minnewawa Brook

Harrisville

Oct. 15

4'

Childs Bog2

Tributary to Minnewawa Brook

Harrisville

Oct. 15

4' +/-

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake Brook

Enfield

Oct. 15

4'

Crystal Lake

Suncook River

Gilmanton

Oct. 15

3'

Deering Reservoir

Piscataquog River

Deering

Oct. 15

4'

East Washington Pond

Beards Brook

Washington

Oct. 15

2'

Glen Lake/Greggs Falls

Piscataquog River

Goffstown

Oct. 27

1.5'

Goose Pond

Goose Pond Brook

Canaan

Oct. 15

7.5'

Grafton Pond

Bicknell Brook

Grafton

Oct. 15

2'

Great East Lake

Salmon Falls River

Wakefield

Oct. 1

3'

Great Pond

Powwow River

Kingston

Oct. 15

1'

Highland Lake

North Branch Contoocook River

Stoddard

Oct. 15

3'

Horace Lake (aka Weare Reservoir)

Piscataquog River

Weare

Oct. 13

5'

Horn Pond

Salmon Falls River

Wakefield

Oct. 1

1.5'

Howe Reservoir

Tributary to Minnewawa Brook

Dublin

Oct. 15

6'

Island Pond

North Branch Contoocook River

Stoddard

Oct. 15

3'

Lake Kanasatka

Tributary to Lake Winnipesaukee

Moultonboro

Nov. 1

1.5'

Kezar Lake

Lane River

Sutton

Oct. 1

2'

Kingswood Lake

Churchill Brook

Brookfield

Oct. 15

4'

Kilton Pond3

Smith River

Grafton

Oct. 1

3'

Little Sunapee Lake4

Kidder Brook

New London

Oct. 15

2'

Lovell Lake

Branch River

Wakefield

Oct. 15

3'

Mascoma Lake5

Mascoma River

Lebanon

Oct. 15

3'

Mendums Pond

Little River

Nottingham

Nov. 9

7'

Milton Three Ponds5

Salmon Falls River

Milton

Oct. 15

3'

Newfound Lake5

Newfound River 

Bristol

Oct. 15

2.5'

Nay Pond

Dead River

Milan

Oct. 1

7.5"

Nippo Pond

Nippo Brook

Barrington

Oct. 15

2'

North River Pond

North River

Nottingham

Oct. 15

1'

Northwood Lake

Little Suncook River

Epsom

Oct. 27

6'

Opechee Lake

Winnipesaukee River

Laconia

Oct. 13

5'

Ossipee Lake

Ossipee River

Effingham

Oct. 15

3.25'

Pawtuckaway Lake

Pawtuckaway River

Nottingham

Oct. 15

4.8'

Pequawket Lake

Tributary to Swift River

Conway

Nov. 1

2'

Pine River Pond

Pine River

Wakefield

Oct. 15

8'

Pleasant Lake

Tributary to Little Suncook River

Deerfield

Oct. 15

2.2'

Shellcamp Pond

Academy Brook

Gilmanton

Oct. 15

2'

Silver Lake

Minnewawa Brook

Harrisville

Oct. 15

3'

Squam Lake5

Squam River

Ashland

Oct. 15

2.5'

Sunapee Lake5

Sugar River

Sunapee

Oct. 15

2.5'

Suncook Lakes

Suncook River

Barnstead

Oct. 1

5'

Sunset Lake

Suncook River

Alton

Oct. 15

7'

Trickling Falls

Powwow River

East Kingston

Nov. 1

1'

Webster Lake

Chance Brook

Franklin

Oct. 15

2'

Whittemore Lake

Tributary to Contoocook River

Bennington

Oct. 15

1.5'

Winnisquam Lake

Winnipesaukee River

Belmont

Oct. 15

2'

  1. Chesham Pond will be drawn down most of the winter into the spring to allow for dam repairs.
  2. Child's Bog will be drawn down to allow for dam repairs. The level may go lower than 4 feet if required.
  3. Kilton Pond will have a three foot drawdown for about a three week period for the purpose of repairing flashboards at the dam.
  4. Little Sunapee lake will have its once every five year scheduled deeper drawdown.
  5. These larger lakes generally do not reach their full drawdowns until mid or late March. The values listed above are generally the maximum levels reached, although during any given year the levels reached can be either higher or lower due to weather conditions.

The depth of drawdown listed above is not from the current level, but is from the normal full pond level. Due to changing ice and hydrologic conditions, these levels can vary throughout the winter. 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 or accelerated 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 13th, 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.
  • On October 20th, 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 27th, there will be a release performed by EagleCreek Renewable Energy into the Piscataquog River from Gregg Falls Dam in Goffstown, dependent on weather conditions.

These special releases will start at or near 8 AM for the dates specified above for the Horace Lake Dam and the Northwood Lake Dam, and 10 AM for the Gregg Falls Dam. At the first two the flow will be reduced to near normal levels by 4 PM that same day.  NHDES reminds people that canoeing and kayaking have inherent risks, and paddling the state's lakes and rivers is at the paddler's own risk.

Note: As a general rule most of the drawdowns start on Columbus Day. With Columbus Day being early in the month this year, NHDES has moved most of the normal drawdowns a week out to the 15th of the month.

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 NHDES Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147.

Generally, lake levels are allowed to return to the normal full pond level in the spring.  However, 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 13th, 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 15th.  On October 29th 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 30th.

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, in the fall after 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.  This year the reduction will be begun on October 16th.

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 NHDES'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.

The NH Fish and Game Department recommends that if special drawdowns are to be conducted  for the purposes of repairing property such as retaining walls or private boat ramps they occur only once in every 5 years.  In the event a party may wish to conduct such a drawdown, please contact the NHDES Dam Bureau immediately after receiving all permits required for such work, so that the drawdown can be coordinated with any other work at the same water body being proposed by other parties.  In this way the number of special drawdowns can be limited, and unexpected delays (up to 5 years) for your project can be avoided.




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire