2014 Dam Report
By David Bradbury
The dam continued to operate this year without any problems. It was closed April 16, 2014 at ice out to raise the lake level for the season. Full pond water level was reached the middle of May 2014. The dam was opened to position one on May 22 due to heavy rain and closed on the May 26. During the summer of 2014, the dam was opened to position-one 6 times for a total of 11 days. This maintained the water level from two inches above full pond to one inch below full pond for the summer, well within the plus or minus three inch goal.
On October 1, 2014 the dam was opened to position one to slowly lower the lake for the winter. November 3, 2014 the dam was opened to position three to maintain this lower level.
The dam gate, which controls the water flow through the dam, has not been replaced but is being scheduled for the not too distant future. Materials have been donated and prepared for installation by the volunteer Dam committee members.
All of the 2013 safety issues have been addressed and the remediation work completed.
The dam was closed on April 13 2015 which was a little before ice-out. The dam is closed and the water level monitored to ensure the healthiest habitat for loons.
For more details you can download the Watchic Lake Dam Committee 2014 Annual Report March 2015.
2013 Dam Report
By David Bradbury
The dam operated flawlessly for the year. The dam was closed April 14, 2013 at ice out to raise the lake level for the season. Full pond water level was not achieved until June, due to the light spring run-off. During the summer the dam was opened 8 times to the first position for total of 23 days. This maintained the lake level within plus or minus 1 inch of full pond for the summer well within the plus or minus 3 inch goal. A steady flowage from the lake was maintained for the whole summer once full pond was reached in the spring. The dam was opened to the first position October 14, 2013 to lower the water level for the winter. By opening to the first position the rate of lowering the water level was spread over several weeks compared to several days if the dam had been fully opened. November 2 the dam was opened to the full open position for the winter season.
The gate had been tentatively scheduled for replacement in 2013. This did not get accomplished and will be rescheduled. No additional risk was involved by not replacing the gate in 2013, but it still has to be done in the next few years.
The WLA board of directors has been concerned about safety and liability at the dam for years. Liability insurance has not been available. The area around the dam has been used by locals not knowing the risk for years. The board then decided to remediate the risk as much as possible by improving safety at the dam. This work was completed in the fall of 2013, with new signs and buoys being installed
2012 Dam Report
By David Bradbury
The dam gate was closed on March 19, 2012, because of the early ice out. The Lake was at full pond on May 18 taking two months to fill, due to very light snow melt run off. The end of May came with heavy rains and the gate was opened on May 30 and not closed until June 10. During this time, we had additional heavy rains and the volume of water exceeded the capacity of the dam to drain water through the gate. The redesigned and lowered spillway could easily handle the volume. The water level was only at a maximum of 2 inches above the targeted level during the first week of June. Without the lowered spillway the lake level would have been considerably higher. For the rest of the summer the lake level was within the targeted range. The gate was opened to the first position on October 9 to lower the lake to winter levels at a slow rate. This was done to provide a more natural level change. On the October 28 the gate was fully opened for the winter.
The targeted level for the lake or full pond is the top of the dam spillway. We try to maintain this level within plus or minus three inches. While maintaining the level we also maintain continuous water flow out of the lake. This helps the lake water quality and is required for the downstream eco system. To accomplish this goal the top of the gate is 3 inches below the spillway when closed so that water flows over the gate when the lake is at full pond. When the lake level is more the 1 inch above full pond or a heavy rain is forecast the gate is opened. When the lake is back to full pond the gate is closed and water then flows over the gate. If the level is lowered below full pond we would not have the water to provide continuous flow out of the lake to maintain water quality and downstream health.
A visual inspection was made of the dam and the structure is in very good condition. A patch made in 1985 on the right wing wall fell out over the winter and will need minor repair. The lumber for the new gate has been cut and is drying in the gate house. We plan to build a new gate this summer and to install it next fall after the water level is lowered.