What a year for Pawtuckaway! Challenges have been met; agreements have been made.
Lake Levels - Winter Drawdown- Lamprey River Watershed Instream Plan
On October 5, the PLIA signed a Partnership Participation Agreement with the Department of Environmental Services (DES), the first of its kind in NH with a lake association. We believe that it safeguards our seat at the table of any changes from State authorities that may affect the lake and watershed.
Accordingly, DES has drawn down Pawtuckaway Lake to the 4.8 foot level (245.5 of elevation). As we did last year, DES will hold at this lake level for a few days to give lake front owners another opportunity to review this level with respect to their shorelines and docks. A table of hourly lake levels can be seen at http://www2.des.state.nh.us/rti_data/PAWNH_TABLE.HTML.
This week, DES is lowering the lake to 5.0 feet and will not lower it any further over the Thanksgiving weekend. Stream flows currently are low, although conditions are not as low as would require an actual winter release. It is expected that there may be over an inch of rain in the next three days, and therefore DES intends to conduct a two-day test pulse release beginning December 10, since there won't be stable conditions nor will the lake level be down to the proposed 5.0 foot level until then. Also, we will be sending out a notification of the planned test pulse release prior to the test, as a trial of the notification procedure. Our goal is to see how far we can draw down the lake and still have an effective emergency pulse flow in Newmarket.
So far, almost ALL of the water has left Pawtuckaway through the Northern Dam (Drown's), as the goal is to have 70% of annual drawdown up there where the heavy phosphorous content originates. This is working better than expected, even drawing water to the dam from the south channel! I am very pleased with the new cooperation between PLIA, DES, and Nottingham regarding the lake. I thank all of you who participated in the hearings and made comments to make this happen.