The Sebec Lake Association was able to take a lake level reading on 7/15/21 and, in spite of the recent rain fall, the lake level is still about 18" below the normal operating level (The normal operating range is measured at 322.3 feet to 322.8 feet above sea level.) Let's split the difference and call it 15" below the desired summer level.
A return to a normal level at this time is totally dependent on additional rainfall; there is barely any flow through the dam, the boards are in since May 14. Keep in mind, the ground in our 327 square mile watershed is also extremely dry, so most of the recent rain was likely absorbed by the soil.
Pray for more rain...
SLA Board of Directors
NOTE: There was a recent Facebook post making false claims about the boards, the flow out of the lake and the date for removing the boards this fall. Please note that the boards have been in since May 14, and the dam operators are allowing minimal flow through the sluice gate, based on the agreement that requires the dam provide a minimal flow to Milo. The boards will stay in until the salmon have spawned, usually mid-October. Tim Obrey, biologist with Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife lets the Operators know when they can take out the boards.
For accurate up-to-date information, please check the SLA website announcements and page information.
Original post 6/7/2021: Recently, the Lake Association has had questions/comments related to the current level of the lake. In spring of 2021, the concern is that the lake level is too low. We have to remind ourselves that Mother Nature is always in charge; less precipitation in the winter means that the water in the spring will be lower than normal. This winter saw one of the lightest snowpacks in a very long time. That, combined with a dry spring, means the watershed is "under supplying" the lake. At this point, we need to hope that Mother Nature supplies some rainfall soon.
The Sebec Dam operators have some control of the level during the spring to fall season by adjusting the outflow through the turbines. The 18 inch "boards" are put in during the spring when it becomes safe for the dam operators to install them. Again, they can only work with the precipitation or lack thereof that they are given by Mother Nature.
Some interesting background information: The area of Sebec Lake is 10.27 sq. miles. The area of the watershed that feeds into the lake is 327 sq. miles. If all the water of a 1" inch rainfall landing on the Lake and its watershed arrived at the lake "instantaneously," the lake level would rise 33"! Obviously, this does not occur. First, not all the water landing on the watershed reaches the Lake, although anywhere from 20% to 90% of it does (referred to as the water collection efficiency), depending on recent rainfall amounts and the time of year. Secondly, the rate which the watershed rain reaches the lake depends on the local terrain of the eighteen brooks and streams that feed into the Lake, recent rainfall amounts, and type of ground cover (forested, fields, etc.).
The bottom line is that those of us who use the lake have very little control. We can all talk about the issue, but we cannot change it. Climate change will only make it more of a problem in the future.
Last year we solicited suggestions for an official name for our annual Newsletter... We received many suggestions from our readers, finalists were chosen and the SLA Board of Directors chose....The Sebec Lake Current! When you receive your copy this spring, you'll see a new cover with the new name. We hope you like it.