The Dam

Old photo of original dam

Watchic Lake Dam CA 1912

A dam at the north end of the lake controls the water level of the lake. The dam was constructed in 1850 and was deeded to the Watchic Lake Association by Central Maine Power in 1956. It is currently owned and managed by the Watchic Lake Dam LLC. Regular maintenance of the dam is provided by the WLA Dam Committee and WLA membership fees.

The dam is opened to lower the water level on about October 15 (generally Columbus Day), and is closed again to raise the water level shortly after ice-out (between mid-April and early-May). This helps to avoid shore damage from ice. Depending on rainfall during the season the dam is opened and closed in an attempt to maintain the water level in the lake. Check this website for updates on dam opening and closing dates.

Thanks to contributions for WLA members and others, the dam was completely rebuilt in 2010 after nearly 90 years of use. In late 2013 new safety measures were put in place.

2015 New Dam Gate Installed October

After over thirty years, it was time to replace the gate on our dam. Two WLA volunteers, David Bradbury and David Ross, guided the installation of a new gate late in October. This new gate was built by David Bradbury and Donal Drew from hemlock farmed and milled on David’s property. David Ross fabricated the various fittings needed to secure and operate the gate. This new gate should make for a more consistent water level, be easier to operate…and last at least another thirty years!

Lowering in new gate

Dave B and Dave R installing new brackets

New gate about ready. From behind the dam.

2015 Dam Report 

David Bradbury

The dam functioned another year without problems. The gate was closed mid-April 2015 at ice out to raise the lake level for the season. Full pond level was reached the first of June. This was later than usual. The gate was open to position one June 28th for two days due to heavy rain. This was the only time the gate was opened during the summer. The lake level was maintained within one inch above full pond to one half inch below full pond for the summer. A steady flowage from the lake was maintained for the year once full pond was reached in the spring. The gate was fully opened on October 15th to lower the lake so that the new gate could be installed on October 30th. Normally the gate is only opened to position one in the fall to lower the lake slowly, then fully opened in November for the winter.

The new dam gate was installed October 30th after several years of discussion. The gate was constructed and installed by the dam committee members and Paul and Nancy McNulty. The lumber for the gate was donated by Hickory Hill Farm and the steel by David Ross. This completes all items included in the dam upgrade project.

During the winter of 2014-15 there was some spalling of the concrete on the west wall of the raceway. This is not a structural problem but a wear and maintenance issue. David Ross repaired the area with grout last spring. Spots like this will occur on the old concrete walls from time to time and will need to be repaired as a maintenance item.

  1. The dam is opened for the winter on Columbus Day, which will be the October 10th 2016, and closed at or just before ice out.
  2. The new gate has a wider summer spillway. This should under most conditions provide summer water level control without opening the gate.
  3. All labor and most material to operate and maintain the Watchic Lake Dam is done by Watchic Lake Volunteers

 Earlier Dam Reports