There have been questions about why the flashboards at the dam are still in place at this point of the year. President Rudy Davis responds to these concerns:
Yes, the flashboards are still up, and the new Dichotomy operators have decided not to remove them as their experience at their other dams throughout New England is that leaving them up serves as a 'pop off' for excess flow and they can better manage winter - spring water levels through flow-thru operations. As well, the effort, danger and delay of board installation in the Spring will be eliminated. This suggests that the 322.8 'summer level' should be easier to achieve by Memorial Day.
The current operating permit actually does not specify when flashboards must be down (or up) by a specific date, only that lake levels must be within certain targets by certain times of the year.
SLA has held several conversations with the owners, sharing historic experience with lake levels, and have a commitment from them to lower the lake level by late winter (no later than March 31) to the same level it is typically lowered to in October after the boards have historically been removed. (~318' above sea level). This would be in compliance with the operating permit. At the time of our last call (early Jan), they had drawn the lake down to ~319' already, in anticipation of getting to the 318 level.
We have found the company responsive so far to our concerns, and at this point we'll have to wait and see if their practice of leaving the boards up results in spring problems or not. Meanwhile, we continue to talk with them on a regular basis and SLA is formulating plans to propose further modifications of the Operating agreement if needed.
This announcement will be updated if we receive additional information.