Nature Note – Lake Level Low

It’s not that dry…yet.

For eight of the last nine months the lake level has been below average level (based on the average from 1970 to 2011). The only break in the period since last September has been a wet spell in January, but by the end of that month the lake had once again receded. During spring runoff, the lake usually reaches about 98.5 feet above sea level. So far this year it topped out at 97.88 feet on April 27. This is only the second time since 2002 (the first year we started tracking levels) when the spring peak was less than 98 feet.

After extensive flooding in 2011 public concerns about increasing lake levels and wet weather events was rampant. Yet climatologists warned that drought was also a likely effect of a changing climate, particularly during the summer months. The generally dry period we have been experiencing does not count as a drought, though as of May 12 the region was listed as ‘abnormally dry’.

Low lake levels have pluses and minuses. On the downside, access by kayak to spring flooded forests has been limited. On the plus side spring clean-up has been easier. Chuck Woessner, LCC board member and park manager for Woods Island and Knight Island, reported that he was a week ahead of schedule in prepping the grounds for campers because there was less debris to deal with.