MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WATERSHED – The annual fall draw down of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority’s (MVCA) network of dams is underway.

“Draw downs on Shabomeka and Pine lakes as well as the Carleton Place dam began in September,” MVCA Water Resource Technologist Jennifer North released in a statement yesterday (Oct. 5). “The Mazinaw Lake dam is being operated to pass additional flows from the draw down of Shabomeka Lake without increasing lake levels.”

The draw down of Kashwakamak, Mississagagon, Big Gull, Summit and Widow lakes will start following Thanksgiving weekend.

“The drawdown on Mazinaw Lake will not start until early November to account for boat traffic through the narrows during hunting season,” North said. “Winter target levels are normally reached before freeze up but are dependent on how much rainfall the watershed receives over the fall season.”

Seasonal conditions are expected over the next two months.

The following chart provides fall drawdown dates on lakes that are used to provide storage for flooding for next spring.

Lake/Dam, Drawdown Start Date, Drawdown End Date
  • Shabomeka Lake dam, Mid September, Early October
  • Pine Lake dam, Mid September, Late September
  • Mississippi Lake/Carleton Place dam, Mid September, Early October
  • Kashwakamak Lake dam, After Thanksgiving weekend (Mid Oct.), Early December
  • Mississagagon Lake dam, After Thanksgiving weekend, Mid October
  • Big Gull Lake dam, After Thanksgiving weekend, Mid November
  • Summit Lake dam, After Thanksgiving weekend, Mid October
  • Widow Lake dam, After Thanksgiving weekend, Mid October
  • Mazinaw Lake dam, After hunting season (Mid Nov.), Mid December

“Residents are urged to use extreme caution around these structures as strong currents will be present while water levels decrease to normal fall levels during this time and should ensure that all boats, floating docks, etc., have been removed,” North said.