Thank you to the members who voted on whether or not to change the fall dam opening date. The Watchic Lake dam is owned and maintained by the Watchic Lake Dam LLC. 77% of those members who responded agreed with the suggestion from some lake residents to move the dam opening date from the mid-October date of Columbus Day to November 1. Most members agreed and commented that the later opening date would allow property owners to enjoy boating on the lake for a couple of extra weeks each year. Our earlier research with Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and Maine DEP indicated that extending the date has no impact (positive or negative) to wildlife or water quality. The Watchic Lake Dam LLC is comfortable that moving the opening date will not adversely affect dam operations.
As is currently the case, November 1 is the TARGET opening date. This might change by a few days based on the lake level and predicted weather. During the fall, the dam will be opened to the number one position to slowly lower the level for the winter. In mid-November the dam will be set in the full open position. Winter water levels (about 18 inches below full pond) should be achieved by mid to late November, depending on weather.
A few members raised concerns about shifting the time for shore repairs from late October to early November. We will help address this concern by ensuring timely notice of the actual opening date. Note that some work along the shore of Watchic Lake, even if not likely to impact the environment, requires Maine DEP approval under “Permit-by-Rule” regulations. For example, shoreline stabilization with vegetation or riprap, movement of rocks or vegetation, maintenance of more than 50% of an existing retaining wall, or replacement of structures along the shore all require Permit-by-Rule applications. More information can be found at Maine DEP Permit-by-Rule. and the form found here Maine DEP Permit-by-Rule Notification form. The DEP has been great to work with, and will be quick to address your questions. DEP’s Southern Maine Office On Call program is at 207-822-6300.