DNR Approves Lower Water Levels For Beaver Dam Lake During Cold Weather Months

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Lake will see lower water levels during cold weather months starting later this year. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last month approved the city’s application for a permit establishing the level of the lake over the winter months. The city advanced a revised “water level order” request to the DNR following a public hearing last spring.  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 approved change will keep the lake reduced to 87.7-feet from mid-October all the way until April 1, or whenever the lake is free of ice, whichever is later. Beaver Dam has had one of the few lakes in the state without a winter reduction. Bill Foley with the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association says the change should prevent winter damage including ice-heaving and shoreline erosion.

Foley says over a period of time, the shallow bays at the shoreline will allow sediment to aerate and compact so that when the water returns in the spring, the phosphorus is not drawn out of the sediment layer. That means the phosphorus should remain in the sedimental and not in the water.

Foley says the change should positively benefit farmers. He says the highest amount of critical runoff occurs between January and March. The reduction should allow farmers to retain more nutrients on their field and allows more moisture to sink into the soil for a better spring crop.

While it will not affect every farmer, Foley says many ag producers will also have seven-and-a-half less inches of water backing up onto their fields.

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