The Lake in the Winter – Part 1
As Fall moves to Winter, we see more than the change in the color of the leaves. We see changes occurring on the lake – both natural and man-made. The first, which has already occurred, is the lake turnover. This phenomenon, generated as the lake water temperature equalizes top-to-bottom, results in mixing to temporarily eliminate stratification. A previous article was written which goes into more detail on this phenomenon.
The next change that you may see is the lake level lowering. If all is going as planned, the Village will proceed with opening the spillway to allow the lake water level to drop. As past years can attest, the success depends on the amount of rainfall we experience during the fall. Typically done to kill nuisance aquatic plants which we did not observe this year, it also accomplishes several other results. It removes some of the nutrient rich water, to be replaced with either clean snow melt or the spring rains. It also gives the lake ample capacity to accept the potentially heavy spring rains without causing problems due to flooding. If we can believe the long-range forecast for the coming winter, we may experience a warmer but wetter season. So, it may be a battle! If the models are wrong, lake lowering can, to some extent, protect shoreline structures from ice damage.
But also important is that with the water level lower we have an excellent opportunity for those of us with lakefront properties to inspect the shoreline. Erosion is a constant issue that, over time, can degrade the integrity of a dock, rip-rap (rock wall) or seawall. Look for holes or other types of damage in erosion control structures and seek remedies to reinforce them. Reinforcement of shoreline barriers, confirming clear drainage channels, and checking dock supports and surrounding areas safeguards your property as well as the other residents of Lake Roaming Rock.
With the water level low, it also gives the opportunity to do some self-dredging around your dock and seawall. However, make sure that you or your properly registered contractor has obtained the proper permits from the RRA before proceeding.
The next installment will go over what happens as the water continues to cool and ice forms.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE