[CT Birds] Winter drawdown effects on lake ecosystems

Anthony Zemba Anthony.Zemba at gza.com
Fri Apr 20 16:50:24 EDT 2012

Thanks for sharing.
A lot of "recent" money was a result of dike failures from Katrina.  Most of our CT Lakes are not natural - they are impounded drainages or ponds whose outlets were dammed to increase open water area and deepen the waterbody for various reasons.  As a result, many have dams that are subject to regulation by the state and are periodically inspected and subject to repair orders and other notices of deficiencies.  I suspect that like after every major disaster (think Mianus River Bridge and the ensuing bridge repairs that occurred throughout the state thereafter for years) regulators decided it was time for wholesale inventory and assessment of dams and levees. I'll bet that the horrible impact that Katrina had on the built environment spurned a "flood" (not trying to be funny there) of money from the Army Corps of Engineers for dam and impoundment inspection, repair, modification.  Many of these repairs are more easily handled during a drawdown.  Also, drawdown is one way of controlling certain species of invasive aquatic vegetation, which if left unchecked, could also seriously impact the ecology of a lacustrine or palustrine open water system. Drawdowns require and are subject to a CTDEEP permit.  The applicant must present alternatives to the proposed action and why the action cannot be avoided.  There are often ways to avoid, control, or minimize the impact to the lake or pond ecology.  Sometimes, for dam or levee repair, there are fish salvage programs where fish are stored in temporary frac tanks until the work is over, sometimes portions of the waterbody can be partitioned off so that the entire waterbody does not have to be drawn down, etc, etc, etc,.  Typically there are seasonal requirements and other conditions and constraints attached to the permits in an effort to minimize the impact. If you'd like to learn more we can talk off-line, but I hope that answers some of your questions about the need, how, and why of drawdowns.
P.S. Hopefully I wasn't redundant as I have not read the article yet myself......

Anthony Zemba CHMM
Certified Ecologist / Soil Scientist
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

655 Winding Brook Drive
Suite 402
Glastonbury, CT 06033

1350 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01103

860-966-5888 (cell)
413-732-1249 (fax)
anthony.zemba at gza.com

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of paul cianfaglione
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 4:20 PM
To: CT Lists
Subject: [CT Birds] Winter drawdown effects on lake ecosystems

Here is an article that some of you may be interested in from the Jan/Feb
2012 Connecticut Wildlife Magazine regarding lake draw downs.
I have to wonder what is pushing so many towns throughout the state of CT to draw down water levels and repair dams (including Batterson Pond last winter)?? Did this money for dam repairs magically appear?? With draw downs having the potential to cause irreversible harm to the lakes, I suspect there may be other reasons for this other than dam repairs. Recreational users of these areas may request more draw downs to eliminate aquatic vegetation, making it easier for them, but harmful to wildlife. I don't trust what I see.


Paul Cianfaglione
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