Beaver Dam Lake May See Winter Draw Down

(Beaver Dam) The water level on Beaver Dam Lake may be dropping over the winter from now on. The city held a public hearing this week and advanced a revised “water level order” to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The current water level is 88.3-feet year-round with the exception of four weeks in the spring when it is reduced by seven-and-a-half inches to 87.7-feet. The proposed change would keep the lake at 87.7-feet from mid-October until mid-April, or whenever the lake is free of ice, whichever is later.

Beaver Dam Director of Utilities Rob Minnema says the change will prevent winter damage including ice-heaving and shoreline erosion. Minnema says Beaver Dam is one of the few lakes in the state without a winter draw down.

Bill Foley with the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association says the change would positively benefit both farmers and lake enthusiasts. While it will not affect every farmer, Foley says many ag producers would have seven-and-a-half less inches of water backing up onto their fields while also helping to control runoff. More nutrients will infiltrate into the ground, which means less phosphorus and nitrates needed in the springtime.

The timing is also meant to accommodate the life-cycle of aquatic and amphibian life around the lake.

The matter is now in the DNR’s hands and state officials are awaiting a formal request and permit fee payment from the city before moving forward with a public hearing period and final decision.