STEWARTS LANDING DAM UPDATE ( 5/18/18 )
CLCA met with DEC management team including Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann in Northville on May 15. Also attending were Caroga and Stratford Town officials and a representative of the Stewarts Landing Assn.
Purpose of the meeting was for DEC to update on status of dam restoration work planned for Fall 2018 and for dialogue on managing the dam and water-level events going forward:
*Current low water in Canada Lake results from late ice-out date. DEC does not close the dam gate for Spring until all ice is out of the lake. This year ice went out May 4 and most of the Spring run-off had already occurred by then. CLCA will post daily water level readings on the website until low levels abate.
*The dam restoration is expected to begin with water draw-down to winter levels starting September 10.Completion expected by early Spring ’19. There is no automated gate mechanism included in the plan. Operation of the dam will be as before, manual with power assist. Contract is expected to be awarded soon.
*DEC presented detailed modeling of Canada Lakes water flow dynamics, including the impacts of various amounts of rainfall on lake levels. CLCA historical data has shown higher lake level increases than DEC modeling at times. Several variables factor into actual outcomes, including duration of rain events, ground saturation levels, vegetation conditions, and operation of the dam gate.
*DEC evaluation of modeling data is that the core issue is mainly the nature of the channel to Stewarts Landing, and less-so the dam operation. They liken the situation to “a bathtub emptying into a straw”. CLCA position is that the channel does greatly complicate the challenge of moving high water out of the lake but that pro-active and timely dam management is critical, especially in advance of likely major rain events. To that end, CLCA continues to provide DEC with daily data and recommended actions (if any are warranted ).
*CLCA and Town of Caroga officials underscored threats to environment, property and public safety posed by high-water events, with specific reference to erosion and wildlife habitats.
*There was extensive discussion of communication and responsiveness issues, particularly during times of heightened risk. It was agreed that DEC, CLCA, SLA and the Towns will build deeper and better contact lists and parameters for emergency communication. That work has already begun.
*CLCA relies on water level and dam-opening gauges at Green Lake and at the dam for its daily reporting. Specific evaluations, repairs and improvements were committed to by DEC, with short turn-around times for completion.
*Region 5 Director Stegemann closed the two-hour meeting with a summary of DEC follow-up steps. We anticipate receipt of DEC meeting minutes further detailing those steps as well as long-term plans and recommendations for the dam and its operation.
*CLCA believes the meeting was useful in laying groundwork for better communication, responsiveness and cooperation. It was agreed that similar meetings should be attempted every year.
*Attending for CLCA were Chris Rohrs, Bill Fielding, Tim Mitchell and Henry Eifert. Bill Fielding, on behalf of the CLCA and in consultation with Henry Eifert of the Stewart's Landing Association, communicates continuously with DEC with data and recommendations regarding water levels and dam openings.
2018 Lake Level Log: click here
Bar Chart graphing 2018 Lake Level:click here
2017 Lake Level Log: click here
Bar Chart graphing 2017 Lake Levels: click here.
The July 26, 2017 letter from the DEC announcing the early draw down: click here
2012 Lake Level Log: click here
Bar Chart graphing 2012 Lale Level: click here