March 2017 Water Level Chart Archived

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March 2017

I have archived the March 2017 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the March chart is the relatively stable water level throughout the entire month. The water level started out at -36.48″ below the high water mark [HWM], hit a high four days later of -30.48″ below the HWM on the 4th, and after falling very gradually it ended the month only 2.28″   lower than it started, at -34.20″ below the HWM, and this with the gate wide open for the entire month! Where did the runoff come from to offset all the water leaving the lake?

With the gate wide open and the lake level this high, the water level should fall the better part of 1″ per day but we saw a drop of only a small fraction of that amount. We only DSC_3807_compressedreceived 1.70″ of precipitation for the entire month, and only 1.36″ of that after the lake level reached its highest level. That much precipitation with a 4x runoff multiplier should have brought the lake up about 7″ which isn’t nearly enough to even begin to offset the expected drop in lake level with the gate wide open, even taking into account channel friction, snow cover, and frozen ground. Apparently less water has been passing through the gate than expected given it’s fully-open status. There is a good deal of relatively fresh beaver sign in the area; DSC_3809_compresseddid some beaver move in and and try to plug the leak? Without a convenient means of measuring actual outflow, it’s hard to say what’s going on. Over the last 5 years, I’ve been able to pretty much account for all the water flowing in or out of Clary Lake, but this last month has me somewhat baffled. The spring melt has yet to begin and with the gate wide open, I would have expected the lake to have dropped close to 2 feet over the course of the month, not just a few inches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining!

We received 1.70″ of rain in March, about half the average rainfall of 3.37″. For the year to date we’re well below normal, at 5.98″ against an average precipitation of 8.43″ This does not bode well for groundwater conditions this spring though according to the  National Integrated Drought Information System we are not experiencing drought conditions at this time indicating ground water supply is full up.

3 thoughts on “March 2017 Water Level Chart Archived

  1. George Fergusson Post author

    Several people have told me about seeing a red pickup truck parked at the dam several times last month and a man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt poking around in the mill pond above the Clary Lake dam, apparently tending traps A beaver trapper? Did the dam owner hire a someone to trap out the beaver? Plausible. Trapping season for beaver in this area ended March 31st.

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