NOTTINGHAM — Residents are insisting the state provide solid answers before making a decision to change the draw-down levels on Pawtuckaway Lake.
About 100 residents and property owners attended a public hearing at Nottingham Town Hall Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the proposed change to officials from the Department of Environmental Services.
Many expressed worry about how the proposed change would increase water levels and the probability of ice damage in the winter.
Selectmen Chairman Mary Bonzer promised DES officials that the town would challenge the state if draw-down levels were changed.
“No one is in favor of the draw-down — either in winter or summer,” Bonzer said.
The DES held the meeting as part of the process to revise the winter draw-down levels, in which water is systematically drained from lakes and ponds in the fall. The state is seeking to reduce the draw-down from 7 feet to 4.82 feet in Pawtuckaway Lake — or to 20.18 feet on the Dolloff Dam gage.
The proposed change in the draw-down amounts is closer to natural levels, according to Wayne Ives, instream flow specialist with DES’s watershed management bureau.
“Dams affect the lake level and the level of the streams below,” Ives said, adding the state calculated 0.1 feet of water released from the lake results in 20 cubic feet of flow on the Lamprey River for a two-day period.
The water released from Drowns Dam on Lake Pawtuckaway feeds into the Pawtuckaway River and the North River, a tributary of the Lamprey River.
The lake level investigation is part of the state’s Lamprey River Instream Flow Program, as part of a watershed management plan, which was unveiled last year.
DES’ Kent Finemore said the officials will address concerns before the state makes a decision next month.
Questions regarding the investigation of levels of inland waters at Pawtuckaway Lake should be directed to Kent Finemore at 271-0566.
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