I’ve archived the June 2016 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the June chart is how little the lake level fluctuated over the course of the month. This is due primarily to two factors. First, the dam’s gate has been closed to within about 7″ of being fully closed for the entire month and this has limited the daily lake level fall to around 1/10th inch (0.01′) per day. Second, the lack of rainfall over the past few months has resulted in almost no runoff from what little rain we have received. For example, on the 28th & 29th we just received 0.87″ of rain which so far has only brought the lake up 0.36″ which almost doesn’t even make sense: you would think the lake would at least rise as much as the rain we received. I suspect what is actually happening is that the water table around the lake (which is a lot like a damp sponge) is being replenished by water from the lake. We received a total of 3.20″ of rain for the month which is only a little less than the average 3.54″ for June. For the year we’re still only 1.23″ below normal but we were short of rain in April and May.
We started out the month at -55.80″ below the top of the dam on June 1st, rose to a high of -54.00″ on the 8th of June, and ended the month, at -58.68″ this morning, only 2.88″ lower than we started. This relatively stable water level has been beneficial to the loons currently trying to nest on Clary Lake though it is feeling too much like the new normal.
I presume the reason the dam owner has lowered the dam’s gate is to comply with the Clary Lake Water Level Order requirement that minimum flows be maintained. DEP calculated approximate gate openings necessary to let out the required volume of water, and included them in the WLO as follows:
- 11.3 cfs (0.7 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between January 1 and March 15;
- 35.9 (or 1.6 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between March 16 and May 15;
- 8.3 cfs (0.6 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between May 16 and June 30;
- 1.9 cfs (or 0.2 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between July 1 and September 15;
- 3.5 cfs (or 0.3 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between September 16 and November 15; and
- 15.5 cfs (0.9 feet of opening above the invert of the outlet) between November 16 and December 31.
The gate is currently open approximately 0.6 feet (~7″). I would expect the dam owner will lower the gate further in the next day or so to within a couple of inches of being completely closed in an attempt to maintain compliance with the minimum flow requirements. Time will tell.