The Smart Report: Lake Level On Target

Freedom — August 3, 2007 — Water level in Ossipee Lake is now at the target level of 407.25′ above sea level (at 7 p.m. Wednesday night the level was 407.23. Data for Thursday has not appeared on the State website). The water is scheduled to remain at this level until Columbus Day in early October when winter drawdown to 404.5′ will begin.

This is quite a different report than the one I drafted but was never published in mid-July because of the negative comments received. I titled it, “YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK” and paid a compliment to the State and local dam bureaus for paying attention to level conditions and making five adjustments at the dam in eleven days that maintained a level ranging only 3″ either side of plan.

Then on Friday July 20, four gates were opened because of a prediction for heavy rain. No rain. The level dropped 4″ below plan by Sunday morning when the gates were closed. Lots of angry boaters using shallow areas that weekend. It has taken two weeks for the lake level to come back to plan.

Some interesting thoughts came out of this experience: 1. Is the State gauge correct? I think it is because it matches the benchmarks my neighbor and I have been using for several years.

2. The fluctuation was 6″ or more rather than my reported 3 – 4″. If measured from early July when the level was 3″ over plan to the 22nd when it was 4″ under plan, the fluctuation was indeed greater than 6″. I will continue reporting activity based on the plan level.

3. When the dam is opened, the level drops faster in the east end bays than it does in the big lake, so places like the Danforth stream drop faster than the State gage on the big lake records. This may be true and in fact was suggested in the State report on website.

The point to all of this is to ask those with waterfront locations to put a flat stone or other marker in the water in the next few days and mark it with a reference line. What you have today is the plan from June 1st to Columbus Day.

I maintain my position that Steve at the State office and John in Ossipee are watching the lake and trying to take action that will keep the level at plan. Their decisions are correct more than 51% of the time.

Note: As part of Freedom Old Home Week activities there is a canoe and kayak trip planned from Broad Bay to the Danforths and back starting at 10a.m. on Wednesday. The organizers did make a trial run early last week and could paddle through. They met one power boat that was also going through but with the main outdrive out of the water.

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