Lake Champlain Water Level: Up, Up, UP!

Lake Champlain is Rising Up, Up, Up
Lake Champlain is Rising Up, Up, Up

Any time water levels rise significantly I inevitably, anxiously flashback to the 2011 Lake Champlain  floods. Until recently my concerns were first and foremost the flooding of our boathouse which spent nearly two months underwater during that miserable month four years ago.

This year the lake level roller coaster’s been a little different. We started the spring/summer with unusually low Lake Champlain water levels.

This year the lake level roller coaster’s been a little different.

For one thing, we started the spring/summer with unusually low Lake Champlain water levels. On the up side, this was exciting because it meant that we had 10+ feet of sandy beach in front of our stone retaining walls, typically what we experience in July. We anticipated enjoyable beach time with our nieces when they come to visit us soon. On the down side, boaters on the lake had begun to worry that extreme low water levels late in the season would be inevitable and potentially dangerous. (Think shallow bays, river deltas, shoals, etc.)

Lake Champlain water level continues to trend up, up, up. Rain is supposed to abate after today, June 23, 2105 (via USGS)
Lake Champlain water level continues to trend up, up, up. Rain is supposed to abate after today, June 23, 2105 (via USGS)

But there’s been another consideration too. This is the first spring that we’ve been balancing ski-surf boat use/planning with sailboat use/planning. And — as the graph above clearly indicates — those early season low water levels have dramatically and rapidly flip-flopped. Lake Champlain water levels today are high. Really high!

The rising Lake Champlain water level threatens our dock and runabout.
The rising Lake Champlain water level threatens our dock and runabout.

And this means that we’re worrying about the lift/docks. The runabout is nearly at the top of the lift range. If the water rises any higher we’ll have a problem, especially on a rough day. The dock is already getting doused with waves and will need to be pulled back in tomorrow.

Essex Shipyard’s docks are at best flush with the water level. In many instances they are actually lower than the water level.

And the marina, Essex Shipyard’s, docks are at best flush with the water level. In many instances they are actually lower than the water level. That’s not ideal for boats that rely upon fenders to minimize the change of damage. The fenders sit on top of the water, eliminating any protection, and instead boat owners cobble together “spider webs” of spring lines to keep boats from colliding with docks or other boats.

Lake Champlain water level has exceeded out Essex Shipyard dock, June 23, 2015.
Lake Champlain water level has exceeded out Essex Shipyard dock, June 23, 2015.

The photos tell the story. Pretty. Inconvenient. Worrisome…

Fingers crossed that Lake Champlain water level begins to fall. Soon!

Lake Champlain water level has exceeded out Essex Shipyard dock, June 23, 2015.
Lake Champlain water level has exceeded out Essex Shipyard dock, June 23, 2015.

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