July 21 – 27, 2023Vol. 25, No. 6

Riding the Roller Coaster

by Dick Greenan

What a roller coaster of a week it’s been for your Dams Committee! With daily forecasts of scattered thunderstorms and the potential for heavy rain, we ended up with just 0.44″ of precipitation for the past ten days. How are we expected to maintain full ponds with such forecasts, when our neighbors up north in Jay, received 6″ of rain in just a few hours with a similar forecast? Six inches of rain would have brought up Long Pond a whopping 18″! I guess that is why they pay us the big bucks!! We wish! In reality, we’re all volunteers and donate our time and blood because, like you, we care about our lakes.

So what would you do if you just received this weather alert from Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency within the past hour?: “A Series of systems will bring a more widespread threat for showers and thunderstorms with embedded heavy rainfall and increasing flooding threat through the weekend.″

Would you open all of the gates to make room for the pending doom, or toss the dice, take your chances and leave all of the dams at their pretty much full pond for the summer visitors, with a serious potential of flooding out our streams, roads, loon nests, docks? We try to rely on some science here but it’s not easy and you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t — no pun intended! But we do have our hands on the switch in the event that we do get Armageddon!

For the time being, the Village spillway dam is presently at 2.76″ above full pond with one gate opened just 1′. Long Pond, at the Wings Mill Dam, is 2.28″ below full with both gates at 20″ and 24″ respectively with upper Long Pond exactly at full pond. Snow Pond is at 5.16″ below full probably to make some room for the impending doom! Salmon and McGrath are in great shape right at full pond with the 1 cfs-calibrated valve still opened 15 turns.

If you have a particular questions regarding our Dams and/or water levels, please email your inquiry to dickgreenan@outlook.com. We will try to answer your question either in this column or via email.

Enjoy the family, your vacation and please keep your fingers crossed that we miss another one of these storms. Of course, by the time you read this, you’ll will have already known the answer.

Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed Dams Committee. He submitted this report on July 13, 2023.

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