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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE:
September 16, 2011
CONTACT:
Dan Mattaini, (603) 271-8867

State Announces Its 2011 Fall Drawdown of Lakes

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) announced today that the annual fall drawdown of the lakes and ponds controlled by dams owned by DES will be initiated according to the schedule below.

LAKE RIVER TOWN START DATE DEPTH (in feet)
FROM FULL
Angle Pond Bartlett Brook Sandown Oct. 10 2'
Akers Pond Greenough Brook Errol Oct. 10 1'
Ayers Lake Tributary to Isinglass River Barrington Oct. 20 3'
Ballard Pond Taylor Brook Derry Oct. 10 2'
Barnstead Parade Suncook River Barnstead Oct. 10 1.5'
Bow Lake Isinglass River Strafford Oct. 10 4'
Burns Lake Tributary to Johns River Whitefield Oct. 10 1.5'
Chesham Pond Minnewawa Brook Harrisville Oct. 10 4' to 2'
Crystal Lake Crystal Lake Brook Enfield Oct. 10 4'
Crystal Lake Suncook River Gilmanton Oct. 10 3'
Deering Reservoir Piscataquog River Deering Oct. 10 4'
East Washington Pond Beards Brook Washington Oct. 10 2'
Glen Lake/Greggs Falls Piscataquog River Goffstown Oct. 23 1.5'
Goose Pond Goose Pond Brook Canaan Oct. 10 7.5'
Grafton Pond Bicknell Brook Grafton Oct. 10 2'
Great East Lake Salmon Falls River Wakefield Oct. 1 3'
Great Pond Powwow River Kingston Oct. 10 1'
Highland Lake North Branch Contoocook River Stoddard Oct. 10 3'
Horace Lake (aka Weare Reservoir) Piscataquog River Weare Oct. 16 5'
Horn Pond1 Salmon Falls River Wakefield Oct. 1 6.0' to 1.5'
Howe Reservoir Tributary to Minnewawa Brook Dublin Oct. 10 6'
Island Pond North Branch Contoocook River Stoddard Oct. 10 3'
Lake Kanasatka Tributary to Lake Winnipesaukee Moultonboro Nov. 1 1.5'
Kezar Lake Lane River Sutton Sept. 30 2'
Kingswood Lake Churchill Brook Brookfield Oct. 10 4'
Little Sunapee Lake Kidder Brook Sunapee Oct. 15 1'
Lovell Lake Branch River Wakefield Oct. 10 3'
Mascoma Lake Mascoma River Lebanon Oct. 10 3'
Mendums Pond Little River Nottingham Nov. 9 7'
Milton Three Ponds Salmon Falls River Milton Oct. 10 3'
Newfound Lake Newfound River Bristol Oct. 10 3.5'
Nippo Pond Nippo Brook Barrington Oct. 10 2'
North River Pond North River Nottingham Oct. 10 1'
Northwood Lake Little Suncook River Epsom Oct. 10 6'
Ossipee Lake Ossipee River Effingham Oct. 10 3.25'
Pawtuckaway Lake Pawtuckaway River Nottingham Oct. 10 7'
Pequawket Lake Tributary to Swift River Conway Nov. 1 2'
Pine River Pond2 Pine River Wakefield Oct. 10 8'
Pleasant Lake Tributary to Little Suncook River Deerfield Oct. 10 3'
Rob Reservoir North Branch Contoocook River Stoddard Oct. 10 2'
Sawyer Lake Badger Brook Gilmanton Oct. 10 3'
Shellcamp Pond Academy Brook Gilmanton Oct. 10 2'
Silver Lake Minnewawa Brook Harrisville Oct. 10 3'
Squam Lake Squam River Ashland Oct. 10 2.5'
Sunapee Lake Sugar River Sunapee Oct. 10 2.5'
Suncook Lakes Suncook River Barnstead Oct. 1 5'
Sunrise Lake Dames Brook Middleton Oct. 17 2'
Sunset Lake Suncook River Alton Oct. 10 7'
Trickling Falls Powwow River East Kingston Nov. 1 1'
Webster Lake Chance Brook Franklin Oct. 10 2'

1Horn Pond – will be having a special drawdown to allow for repairs to be done at the dam in the fall. The work will be done before ice forms on the lake, and the water level will be allowed to rise back to the usual historical drawdown level of -1.5 feet after the work is completed.

2 Pine River – the pond is drawn down rapidly every third year. 2011 falls on the 3rd year so there will be a rapid drawdown.

The depth of drawdown listed above is not from the current level, but is from the normal full pond level. Since the hydrologic conditions and recreational uses of these water bodies vary, the degree and date of the start of drawdown for each lake vary and could be affected by the amount of rainfall during the period. In addition, the actual date at which the drawdown will begin could vary by a few days based on operational constraints. However, at three dams, the drawdowns will be initiated on a specific Saturday in October to provide recreational opportunities for canoeists and kayakers in the rivers below these dams. The schedule for these recreational opportunities is as follows:

  • On October 1st, approximately 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the Suncook River from the Suncook Lake Dam in Barnstead.
  • On October 8th, approximately 250 to 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the Little Suncook River from the Northwood Lake Dam in Epsom. The flow rate will be cut off afterwards and the lake level held to its usual elevation until the drawdown date listed above.
  • On October 15th, approximately 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) will be released into the North Branch of the Piscataquog River from the Horace Lake Dam in Weare.

These special releases will start at or near 8 AM for the dates specified above, and will be reduced to near normal levels by 4 PM that same day. DES reminds people that canoeing and kayaking have inherent risks, and paddling the state’s lakes and rivers is at the paddler’s own risk.

Lake drawdowns are conducted each fall to reduce winter ice damage to shoreline properties and to reduce spring flooding. Drawdowns also give property owners an opportunity to conduct any necessary repairs to their waterfront property, provided they first secure a permit from the DES Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147.

Generally, lake levels are allowed to return to the normal full pond level in the spring. However, Angle Pond is allowed to return to normal at the beginning of December, and Chesham Pond is lowered by 4 feet starting after Columbus Day for a period of 6 to 8 weeks and the level is brought up to 2 feet below the normal full pond level for the remainder of winter.

Not included in this schedule is Lake Winnipesaukee. Unlike the other lakes in this schedule, Lake Winnipesaukee is not purposely drawn down in the fall. Instead, each year on Columbus Day, the releases from Lakeport Dam are reduced from a normal minimum of 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a flow between 30 and 50 cfs for a period of up to two weeks to allow for maintenance of the dams and hydropower facilities on the Winnipesaukee River. The flow of 30 to 50 cfs is the minimum flow needed to maintain the downstream aquatic life during this period.

By the middle of the fall, Lake Winnipesaukee is, on average, 15 inches below its springtime full level due to evaporation and releases from the lake that have occurred over the course of the summer. As a result of the reduction in the amount of water released from the dam after Columbus Day, the lake level does not drop for the remainder of the month of October and is generally maintained at this level through the month of December. Depending on the amount of snow on the ground in the winter, the lake level may be lowered further beginning in January to a depth of two feet below the normal full level.

A plot of the average lake levels throughout the year for Lake Winnipesaukee is provided on DES’s website at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/dam/winni_levels/index.htm. Also included are updated plots of this year’s lake levels, releases from the dam, and precipitation.

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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