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Jasper Utility Service Board Examines Beaver Lake Dam

In the Monday night Jasper Utility Service Board meeting, the Board gave an update on the Beaver Lake Dam, relative to the feedback that has been received from residents who insist that the water level in the lake is lower now than before the new dam was constructed.

Brian McKenna with Christopher Burke Engineering – the original engineering firm on the new dam – gave a presentation on why there might be differences in the lake levels.

McKenna admitted that the lake is “roughly ½” lower” than it was before.

And, he said that there are three factors that might be impacting the level of the lake:

  • Lower spillway by the “roughly ½ inch lower”
  • Old water channel might have been clogged with debris and other items which caused the water level in the lake to be artificially high.
  • New spillway is much more efficient.  Old spillway was only 30 feet wide, but now there is more capacity with the new spillway for water to flow out of the lake.

USB President Wayne Schuetter told the attendees that the docks could have been forced up by the quick filling of the lake.

Schuetter admitted that the hydrology of the lake has changed due to the new spillway allowing more water to flow out of the lake easier, which means that the lake levels might be lower.

He says that water levels stabilize quicker after rains and runoff add to the water.

Several citizens talked about dramatic level differences from before the new spillway was added to the lake.

Jasper Gas and Water Manager Mike Oeding suggested that in the east end of the lake, referenced by one owner, Steve Messmer, the change could be due to “sedimentation from runoff.”

Another resident said that he didn’t care what the engineering study showed; the information presented about the lake levels is incorrect.

Schuetter made it clear that the City will continue to work with residents on the lake levels and said that they will be monitored during the summer months and urged residents to mark their docks where the water levels come up to, so that comparisons can be made this fall when the lake is lowered to winter pool levels.