Low Water Levels – Will It Happen Again?
No one will forget last summer’s weather –major storms, especially the one on July 1st, and more rain than in previous summers. Those of us on the St. Croix Flowage, however, remember that even with the above average amounts of rain, suddenly in August, the water in the Flowage dropped alarmingly. Pontoons were left stranded, props were damaged, and large amounts of plants and debris were exposed all over the Flowage. After several phone calls, it was verified that boards (fifteen we found out later) were removed from the Gordon Dam in response to complaints that lakeshore properties on Upper Lake St. Croix were being flooded. This is an old, old story, and last summer another chapter was added. Upon checking with the County Forestry Department, who controls the level of the water at the dam, and the Wisconsin State DNR, who administers the ruling on water level, it was discovered that there was a change as to where the levels were being read. The change was initiated by a local resident of Solon Springs, based on a 1980 ruling by the WDNR after an earlier study. The County Forestry Department rather than wait on a ruling from the WDNR agreed to put in a gauge at the Gordon Ranger Station and use that gauge to control water levels. The Flowage Association board members met with the County Forestry Department and the WDNR to resolve the question. The WDNR agreed with the Flowage Association that the Gordon Ranger Station gauge was rescinded by the 1980 order and should not be used to control water levels. The County Forestry Department went back to the earlier practice of using the gauge at the Gordon Dam. Several Flowage Association members attended a County Forestry Committee meeting when this issue was discussed, and voiced their opinions. This show of support was greatly appreciated. Although we are happy with the WDNR decision, the battle is not over. Some residents believe the Gordon Dam is the reason there is flooding the Upper St. Croix Lake in Solon Springs. There have been numerous studies (5) that prove otherwise. The fight is not over and will continue. Be prepared to let your voice be known to your County Supervisor and the County Forestry Department.