Schroon Lake Steering Committee Report to the Membership

As many of you know the Steering Committee (SLSC) represents both our lake associations and the three towns.  We address issues that have an impact on our entire watershed and are of concern to our membership.  With that in mind the extreme changes in the water level in Schroon Lake was discussed in great detail at our last meeting.  We  had a Hydrologist from the Unites States Geological Service come to our lake and prepare a report on what we can do to mitigate these extremes.   The results were not pleasing.  For now there is very little anyone can do to affect our water levels resulting from major rain events.  The current dam configuration/design is not sufficient to allow for a more rapid release of water. A larger spillway and or the addition of a third gate would be most helpful in expediting the removal of high water.  Opening the gates prior to a major rain event while the water level is low would have minor impact on our level, as the dam doesn’t have the capacity to handle the immense amount of water flowing into the lake.  Having that extra gate would lessen the overall rise and quicken the return to normal, but we do not have that.  What the Hydrologist suggested is a study of the relationship between rain fall in the watershed and the rise in water level.   We need historical data to properly plan the next dam, modification to the current dam, or in case of a failure be ready with the necessary scientific data on water levels to rebuild the dam.

What was proposed is the installation of a lake level monitoring system at the north end of the lake.  This information would be sent via satellite to the USGS.  Matching rainfall to water levels is the information we need; however, there is a little problem called MONEY.  Installing the system by USGS would be free of charge, but there would be an annual operation and maintenance cost of $8,600.

The benefits of a Lake Elevation Monitoring System include:

  • Real-time, accurate information about lake elevation. This would assist the Schroon Lake Park District (SLPD) target appropriate lake elevation.
  • Develop a long-term historic record of how the lake elevation changes in response to changing watershed inputs and dam operations.
  • Build a scientific understanding of the role the 5-mile river reach between the lake outlet and dam plays in controlling lake elevation.
  • Provide an online graphical report for all lakeshore property owners to view at will.

We have formed a small committee to look into possible funding sources for this project and a Resolution will be submitted to the three Town Supervisors and respective Town Boards.  Just know that your association is looking at every option and we are aware of the damage high water can cause.   Please when the water is high try not to throw a wake up on the shore as this just magnifies the problem

Just as a point of interest for every foot the water rises in Schroon Lake, we have an additional 174,240,000 gallons of water.  This does not include the expanded areas now under water.

Bill McGhie
Schroon Lake Steering Committee

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