The Smart Report: Fall, 2021

Freedom—September 24, 2021—Finally we are back to the “Same Old, Same Old.” The Danforth Brook Bridge is completed and working, and the Berry Bay (north side river flow) Dam is completed, and all construction debris and old dam material have been removed, and everything is working as designed.

John Picard of Ossipee, president of the Ossipee/Freedom Dam authority, is working with Dan Mattaini of the State Dam Bureau in Concord to coordinate on decisions and daily adjustments to the water flow—and they are doing a very good job. This may require several adjustments each week, based on the amount and timing of rain.

Winter draw down is scheduled to start on Columbus Day (10/11/21) and drop the level gradually until it reaches 404.1 feet by end of the year. There is an “Operating Rule Curve” of scheduled lake levels issued by the state and last revised in 2006. The Rule calls for a gradual and uniform draw down until the winter level is reached at year-end.

[Historic Note: The state took over management of the lake level and ownership of the dam from Main Power Company in 1998. In June  that year, we had the last “100 year Flood” and some negative comments regarding the lake level. One of those comments concerned early winter drawdown and low water depth that exposed the sand bottom in front of the  Long Sands residential area in the south end of the big lake. Heavy wind from the north was blowing the sand exposed by a deep drawdown onto homes and property there. This situation and other concerns resulted in a fall meeting at the Ossipee grade school of state and local representatives who discussed the situation, resulting in the revised “Operating Rule Curve” which has been followed ever since].

Earlier this week I had a telephone conversation with Greg Freeman, Regional Manager for Eagle Creek Renewable Energy with offices in Parsonsfield, ME. He is responsible for operation of the three electrical generators that are powered by water from the Ossipee River. There is a long and interesting story here, but for a later time. Net result is his information that when the flow rate is down to 300 CFM, all generators are shut down. When the flow increases, one or more generators are started up. The used water is returned to the Ossipee River for more use down stream before emptying into the Saco River.

The next important event on the lake will be “Ice-In.” Last year the date was 12/19, and it is my best guess for 2021. Ice-Out should be mid-May 2022. THINK SPRING!  

Bob Smart

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