Water Levels on the Reservoirs Rising
Since many of our members have expressed concern about low lake levels this spring, we are writing to share the information we have at hand.
Your CEWF Executive Committee is maintaining regular communication with the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) management team and we are posting all water management statements issued by the TSW or MNRF.
The extremely cold and relatively dry winter resulted in very little winter runoff, record low or very low levels on most reservoirs and below normal water equivalent in the snowpack over the reservoir area. As of mid-April reservoir levels are rising but in many cases are still near to record lows for this date. We are aware that the TSW has been undertaking log operations on most of the reservoir dams since mid-March in an effort to capture the spring runoff.
At this point last year after low spring levels we were experiencing snowmelt and rain, and rapidly rising levels. This year there was much less water in the snowpack and much of the snow has already melted and levels are rising more slowly especially on the southern reservoirs. TSW noted that the peak flow on the Burnt River this spring was one of the lowest on record.
TSW has logs in all reservoir dams and in most cases the flow is shut off to capture what runoff there is to bring the reservoir levels up. This will likely result in lower flows and levels in the connecting rivers and the flow though lakes. Spring rainfall events will be very important in filling the reservoirs this year. It is worth recalling that in late April 2013 and again in June last year extreme rainfall events resulted in high levels and flooding.
At this point there remains much uncertainty regarding water levels but TSW is actively working to capture the runoff and fill the reservoirs. There is thick ice still on many reservoir lakes and the potential for shoreline damage in high winds as levels rise and ice melts. If low levels persist there are risks that levels will continue to rise through June impacting loon nests as occurred last year in some areas. There is always the risk of flooding if we experience the kind of extreme rainfall events we have seen in recent years.
If you follow the Parks Canada link in the upper right corner of this website you can connect to the water level graphs for specific lakes on the Parks Canada website.