(Beaver Dam) The public comment period is open for those wanting to weigh-in on the city’s plan to drop the water level of Beaver Dam Lake over the winter. The city held a public hearing in June and advanced a revised “water level order” to the state Department of Natural Resources. The DNR established a 30-day period for comments from the public effective August 7 and remains open through the first week in September.
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.
More information about the public comment period on the Beaver Dam Lake winter draw-down proposal can be found here: