SPECIAL POST: Questions about lake levels

Flood peak drone image shows water and weed levels (Image by Shane Fry)

Flood peak drone image shows water and weed levels (Image by Shane Fry)

On Thursday, Sept 20, there will be a committee of the whole meeting. You can read more about that here.

Last weekend, I attended the Belle Isle Neighborhood Association potluck where I heard from many of you about concerns and questions you have. I knew some of them, and some of them I need to ask of the experts. I have compiled your questions below. I have shared this with County Staff, and committee members who have been working on these issues, so that they can address them during the presentations. If you have any other questions that you would like answered, please reach out to me: buckingham.tanya@countyofdane.com.

Also, remember that you can livestream the meeting, and save yourself a trip to the City County Building. The link to livestream seems to be down as of tonight (Wed, Sept 19). If that is still the case, watch my Dane County Facebook page for updates.

Questions from you:

Lake levels -

What is the plan to deal with flooding in the future?

Is the control and lowering of Mendota permanently as the control lake going to be addressed? 

It seems that the handling of our lakes is very reactive, rather than proactive. Can you say a bit about how the decisions are made with regard to the level of the lakes?

It seems that the lakes are rarely at the low level to start the winter, what impact does it have if the lakes are high before the freeze?

Why are the current lake levels, specifically summer maximum levels, for Lakes Mendota and Monona not adhered to, followed or enforced?  And who is responsible for enforcement?

Infrastructure -

I would like to better understand what concerns there are regarding a potential failure of the Tenney Lock Dam. 

Some areas of concern are the following: a) are we worried about erosion around the dam, b) a mechanical failure of the gate, c) something else, and d) is there an emergency plan in such an event?  There was recent maintenance a year or two ago.  What was fixed then? 

Are there plans to somehow shore up the lock and dam or other preventative measures being taken to avoid this catastrophe? 

What additional infrastructure is needed to make sure that there is no bottleneck of weeds at the narrow parts of the chain of lakes?

Water quality -

How is runoff in the north being dealt with to mitigate blue-green algae?

Does slow-no-wake play a role in blue-green algae?

Why has the health of the water deteriorated so drastically in the recent past? What can be done about it?

Can you explain why the lake debris that I collect is not regularly collected?

Wildlife -

Why is Lake Mendota managed as a trophy lake with reduced bag limits which greatly increases fishing pressure, fishing tournaments and boat traffic on the rest of the Madison chain of lakes.  Should they not be managed in an equitable way so that all of the lakes receive the same pressure?

BellE Isle Neighborhood Meeting, September 16

BellE Isle Neighborhood Meeting, September 16