Water Level On Agenda at SLSC Meeting

The Schroon Lake Steering Committee to is set to meet on November 5, 9 a.m. in the Town of Chester. High on the agenda is Lake Water Level. ESSLA Board of Director Rich Nawrot is chair of the Lake Level Committee, formed earlier this year by ESSLA to address the widely varying levels of water on Schroon Lake. Early spring we saw very low water levels, but then early June rains brought the water level so high docks and boats were floating away. This autumn the water is again very low, with mud flats visible in some areas.
The Starbuckville dam largely controls the lake water level. The Schroon Lake Park District (SLPD), appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the Towns of Chester, Horicon and Schroon, control the dam and make decisions regarding water level manipulation. The primary objective of the SLPD is to maintain an almost constant water level of 807 feet for the lake, no small feat given the 202,575 acres comprising the Schroon Lake watershed.
During the summer, when the lake level at the dam exceeds 806.2 feet the gates will automatically adjust every 15 minutes, as needed. From October 15 to May 15 the gates are put on manual and left completely open. In the case of high water conditions, such as in the spring during snow melt or a heavy rain, the gates are placed back on automatic and adjusted manually, as needed, to avoid flooding both upstream and downstream.
Stable lake water level is extremely important to the ecological viability of the lake, as a whole, and to wetlands in particular. It’s also very important to the more than 2200 property owners residing within the SLPD tax district, which extends to 1500′ of the shoreline. In addition, the recreational, commercial and aesthetic values of the lake can be impacted by lake level fluctuations. Access to the lake can become difficult or even impaired and bank destabilization can occur when the lake level is erratic, resulting in excessive shoreline erosion. The property of riparian landowners (e.g., docks, dock houses, beaches, lake fronts, retaining walls, etc.) can also be damaged if proper lake levels are not responsibly maintained. (Ref. www.warrenswcd.org/reports/schroon.pdf)
The Schroon Lake Steering Committee is open to the public. It’s being held in the Town of Chester at 9 a.m. on November 5th. Voting members of the SLSC are Jane Smith and Rich Nawrot for ESSLA; Eric Cordis and Eric Bright for SLA; Roger Friedman and Don Sage for Town of Schroon; Edna Wells and Kim Frazier for Town of Chester; Bob Olson and Bill McGhie (Co-Chair and former ESSLA President) for Town of Horicon. Advisors are Jim Lebrerum and Bob Bombard from Warren County Soil & Water, Beth Gilles, Lake Champlain Lake George Regional Planning Board, Dave Reckahn and Tiffany Pinheiro of Essex County Soil & Water and Steve LaMere, Adirondack Ecologist, and our partners in conservation, the Towns of Chester, Horicon and Schroon.

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