Water levels on Lake Weslemkoon are maintained by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The MNRF does their best to follow the planned Madawaska Water Management Plan but are often constrained by how much water they can release from the lake as too much would damage the infrastructure downstream of Weslemkoon.
LWCA Director Marty Blake stays in contact with the MNRF, communicating any concerns about high or low water levels or the functioning of the dam.
We are always concerned about lake levels. As you may recall, in late April 2019, water levels were VERY high. Docs were under ice, and when as the considerable snow in the bush melted, the lake rose even higher. This caused all sorts of damage to boathouses and docks.
Nathan Hack from the MNRF gave the LWCA directors a tour of the dam in September. There are a few things worth noting about the Dam:
The graph at the top of this section was produced and shared by Nathan Hack who works with the MNRF. He gave several of the LWCA Directors a tour of the dam in mid September 2022.
Looking at the chart, you can see that the blue is the actual lake level and the green line is the target level. (The blue line stops just prior to Sept. 15, as that's when the tour was.)
Below are a few excerpts from the Madawaska Water Management Plan and a water level discharge chart for this year as of Mid September:
The following information originated in the Weslemkoon Lake Dam Operation Plan, 1985, and was reproduced as Table 9.24 in the Madawaska Water Management Plan:
In anticipation of high flows, one to two weeks prior to the freshet the lake level
should be drawn down as slowly as possible yet succeed in providing at least an extra 0.3 m of additional storage below the summer minimum level. After spring freshet, the level should be in the upper portion of the summer range unless the watershed is saturated and/or rainfall is expected (lower portion of summer range should be used).Lake level should be maintained in late spring in its upper summer range by having approximately eight stop logs in the dam.
As the summer begins, eight to nine stop logs will be required to hold the water
level in the upper half of the summer range between 317.8 m and 318.05 m.
The lake should achieve its minimum summer level by the Thanksgiving weekend. By the end of October, a lake level of 317.8 m or lower should be achieved and held constant throughout the winter.
A log setting of six to seven logs should hold a level of 317.8 m.
This photo shows the electronic water gauge stystem that is attached to the dam.
There were report over the May long weekend of the possibility that the dam is leaking. Marty reached out to Nathan Hack - here is the reply from Nathan: Its normal for it to leak like that at this time of year. We haven’t Jacked it down yet since spring so the logs aren’t completely sealed. We normally let them leak to provide us with a little bit of flow until the time we start to need to reduce flow as much as possible for summer. Right now the water level is above our summer target of 317.95m so we probably wont worry about jacking for a little while.
Photo Credit: Steve Latto