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I have archived the November 2019 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable thing the November chart shows is nothing much! We got a lot of rain (3.75 inches), but not as much as in a normal November (4.58 inches), the month with the highest rainfall on average. We were hoping to keep the lake level around 1 foot below the HWM without overspending our water budget and we did mostly OK until a series of rain storms in the latter half of the month brought the lake level back up to within less than 1/2 foot of the top of the dam. Rather than overspend our water budget, we ended up with water in the bank so to speak. Not really a problem, but not what we were looking for. We ended the month only a 10th of a foot or so lower that we started. We’re currently letting out close to 60 cfs in an attempt to drop the lake to a more normal level for this season. Continue reading →
The Maine Lakes Society (of which the Clary Lake Association is a member) has published their Fall 2019 Newsletter. It’s packed full of interesting information. For example, check out the article on Freshwater Jellyfish on page 5. Who knew?
On behalf of the Clary Lake Association Board, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and bountiful Thanksgiving. We’ve certainly got a lot to be thankful for this year! Enjoy family and friends, don’t overeat, don’t drink and drive, and most important, DON’T TALK POLITICS 🙂
I have archived the October 2019 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable thing the October chart shows is Holy Hannah did we get a lot of rain 🙂 We started the month 0.85 inches BELOW average and ended the month just shy of 3 inches ABOVE average for this date. All told we received 8.28 inches of rain in October whereas average rainfall for October is a “only” 4.45 inches. We received almost twice that. We’re now at 39.02 inches for the year, just 5 inches shy of what we’d expect to receive for the whole year, and we still have 2 months to go (see Precipitation chart below). All that rain complicated our efforts to draw the lake down this fall, and currently the water level sits at around 0.60 feet below the HWM, give or take- a level more appropriate for mid to late Summer. Continue reading →
Last spring when the water level reached the top of the Clary Lake dam we discovered a few leaks that were missed during major repairs last fall. There were three gaps between stones near the south end of the dam by the red building, obscured by vegetation, and one small hole at the north end of the dam. At the time we just used sandbags to staunch the flow and made plans to repair the leaks properly this fall when the lake level was down.
We began the fall draw down back in mid-September and as of today the lake was 1 foot below the HWM, plenty low enough to allow us to make the repairs. Two bags of high strength Quickrete mortar mix and an hour and a half and we were done. Many thanks to Dam Operations Committee members Dave Knight and Steve Cowles for helping out with this project! Here are a few pictures from this morning’s work:
We’ve wrapped up another season of water quality monitoring on Clary Lake and took this selfie to celebrate. For David Hodsdon, this completes his 44th year of water quality monitoring (he started in 1975!). For Kelsie French it is her second, and for me, my sixth. Jack Holland also helps out when he can. I think he’s been doing it for close to 20 years. We’ve got a good team doing good work.
Clary’s water quality this past summer was better than what we’ve come to expect in recent years despite a mid-summer high Phosphorus reading of 0.028 mg/liter (the 4th highest we’ve ever recorded). That’s considerably higher than we’d like to see it. The high P sample was likely attributable to the 15″ of rainfall we received in April, May, and June as runoff from rainfall is the primary source for Phosphorus. We did see a small burst of cyanobacteria growth no doubt in response to the high P in the lake water, but it dissipated quickly and didn’t raise any real concerns. The results of our last Phosphorus sample (we take 3 samples per season) taken on September 27th) aren’t back from the lab yet. We’re hoping it shows improvement.
The average of 13 transparency readings over the summer was 3.6 meters (11.8 feet) which for Clary is Great! Transparency never fell below 3.15 meters (10.3 feet) and got as high as 4.20 meters (13.8 feet) in early May. You can see on the chart of secchi disk readings at left that overall transparency in 2019 easily bucked the historical downward trend we’ve seen during the years of our water level crisis. We expect our newly restored water level regime will result in good water quality going forward, but we’ve got to remain vigilant. Lakes are fragile ecosystems and many issues can affect water quality.
Here’s a link to our water quality monitoring data going back to the beginning of 2012. Historical data is available upon request:
Last weekend marked the conclusion of the Clary Lake Association’s first Courtesy Boat Inspection season and I’d like to thank our volunteers who gave of their valuable time to help out at the boat launch this past summer. In no particular order: Dave & Gayle Knight, Dan & Dolly Burns, Gareth Bowen, Wynne & Michael Keller, Malcolm Burson, Jack Holland, and George & Margaret Fergusson.
The purpose of the State’s Courtesy Boat Inspection Program is to prevent the transport and introduction of invasive aquatic plants into lakes in Maine, and this is the 19th year that the program has been in existence. With the repaired dam and newly restored water level this Spring we anticipated a significant increase in boat traffic and our concerns understandably turned to protecting Clary Lake from the chance introduction of invasive aquatic plants. It took a little while to get up and running, but finally, in early July, about a dozen CLA volunteers attended a short training session put on by Midcoast Conservancy (see “Courtesy Boat Inspection Training Set For July 1st“) and we started up our inspection program the following Saturday. Our goal was to have a courtesy boat inspector at the State boat launch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am until 3 pm. We broke the days up into 2 hour shifts. Continue reading →
Here’s a link to a Public Service Announcement (PSA) forwarded to me by CLA President Dave Knight, he thought it would be of interest to Clary Lake shore owners who’ve been impacted by these little buggers. Dave lives over on Hodsdon Lane, an area which was particularly hard-hit this past summer. Judging from the looks of the oak trees around Clary Lake this fall, next year is going to be another bad one.
I have archived the September 2019 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable thing the September chart shows is how dry it’s been! We received only 1.97 inches of rain, just a little over 1/2 the September normal rainfall of 3.84 inches. As of the end of August we were 1 inch above normal rainfall, but the lack of rainfall in September means we’re now 0.85 inches BELOW normal for this date. Hopefully precipitation will pick up later this fall.
Despite the lack of rainfall in September, the lake level remained well within our target range of -0.50 to -1.0 feet below the HWM (high water mark) while maintaining the required minimum flows. We attribute this relative lake level stability to our management practices (as described in our Water Level Management Plan) and the repairs we performed last Fall which have reduced leaks to a minimum. Per our plan, we will continue to gradually lower the lake level in October to between 1 and 1.5 feet below the high water mark, and we expect to reach the maximum draw down of approximately 2 feet below the HWM by the end of November where it will remain until early Spring.
There is a new Maine Public program on algal blooms and climate change that is well worth watching (or listening to). Here on Clary we have avoided a severe algal bloom this season though we’ve seen them in the past; we did have a mild, short-lived bloom back in early July, no doubt brought on by a spike in phosphorus levels due to heavy rainfall and the resulting runoff in April, May, and June. While Phosphorus levels have remained high this summer, transparency has remained greater than 3 meters all season. We’ve been fortunate. We are most at risk however in September and October as the lake water “turns over” mixing phosphorus at the bottom of the lake into the upper layers of water where it can feed blue-green algae.