Last year was challenging for us with our Espanola AND island dams. We seemed to have almost an isolated drought in this area which cased a lot of water to evaporate quickly! The challenges the lake residents had on Manitou were similar across the western portion of the district.
We do have methods of sealing some leaking water (like dropping cinders upstream) but are not favorable in our cold water lakes do to their fisheries concern and sensitive ecosystems.
As we all know all our dams leak to some degree and this is necessary for downstream habitat.
In Lake Manitou’s case, we also have a half log(or a 2/3 log) that we do keep in the dam throughout the year to provide adequate flow downstream.
In the case of the last two years we have removed that log and replaced it with a full log bc water levels we inching down.
This will likely be the case very soon this year as well.
So to keep it simple. All full logs will likely be in place in the next couple of weeks and some leakage by logs will remain to provide some flow downstream.
During the months of sept/oct we typically aim to have 2 -2.5 logs out of the dam in total…to provide more flow for any fish coming up in the fall. Come November through February we can see anywhere from 4 – 6 logs out of the dam in total.
Having said that, there is always the chance of a wet fall/winter where a 7th log may be pulled.
I believe we were sitting at around 224.40 ish last fall which is 25 cm below winter levels (which is very low)
Right now we are sitting at 224.97 which is approx.10 cm above the top of the summer operating range.
We DO know that the lake residents like to have the water on the high side as do many others on other lakes.
We do always aim for higher levels in the spring and early summer with the anticipation of a hot dry summer but we still have to keep in consideration that some lake residents have lower shorelines and can be susceptible to flooding if levels are too high. And we do also have to consider draw down in the fall to provide room for the spring frachette so with high lake levels in the fall, this can create high levels downstream for river residents when the water is released.
Tricky system but we do our best to accommodate everyone.
I hope this helps and if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask.
Lake Manitou Area Association
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