The Smart Report: Notes from the Lake

Freedom — July 18, 2005 — Mother Nature is playing with Ossipee Lake again. At 2 pm on Sunday, July 3rd the water level finally reached the target of 407.25′ above sea level. This was achieved after several months of frequent adjustments to the control dam at the east end of the lake in response to actual and anticipated rain amounts.

Most of the time the level was over 407′ and it took weeks of heavy flow to drop the level. Then the anticipated rain did not come and the level dropped below 407′. Close attention was paid to frequent and moderate adjustments at the dam with the goal of reaching the planned summer level by the 4th of July weekend.

On Tuesday, June 28th, after the dam had been closed to a trickle for several days, the level got up to 407.22′. Then we had some area showers and the level reached 407.41 at 10 AM the next day, Wednesday, the 29th. So some of the gates were opened.

At 9 AM on Thursday the 30th the level was up to 407.47′ so more gates were opened. On Friday, July 1st the level had stabilized at 407.47 but the prediction was for heavy local rain plus a blast from the remains of the hurricane so more gates were opened.

A Trick

Then Mother Nature tricked us. The predicted rain storm split in the center and went north and south of the lake area, plus the hurricane remnants never got this far north. The lake level continued to drop, and on Monday, July 4th at 3 PM it was at 407.08, so some of the open gates were closed.

Water inflow continued to be strong from some of the seven rivers and streams that flow into the lake. On Saturday, my 16 year old grandson and I took the 14′ fishing boat for a ride from North Broad Bay up the Danforth stream. When the engine quit we tried to row up to the Ossipee Lake Road Bridge but never made it because the current was too strong. The reward for our efforts was a toboggan ride back the marina.

The water level stabilized just above 407′ (3″ below plan) for the next several days while the rain amount came in below predictions. On Tuesday, July 12 at 10 AM, with a water level of 407.00′, all south side gates were closed and a moderate flow of water was coming over the north side boards. The lake level should begin to rise.

Message from Steve

On Friday I received this message from Steve Doyon from DES:

“We were at 407.35 this morning, so I opened one gate fully, which will add about 220 cfs to the discharge. This action should hold the lake steady or see it drop slightly over the weekend. Not much in the forecast for precip. on the horizon. At this point I’m trying to gage inflow and match it at the dam to hold the lake as close to 407.25 as possible.”

And, this is not the end of the water level roller coaster ride for the summer provided by Mother Nature. Control would be much more accurate if we knew when, where and how much rain is coming so the level you see today is what you can expect until September 6th when they pull the plug for the season.

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