Spring Lake Levels

Spring lake levels are always a concern for lakeshore property owners. This year, after record snowfall, there have been many questions from our members. According to NOAA, the water equivalent of the peak snowpack in this area was approximately 5.2 inches.  We get a “Projected Lake Elevation Level” of 897.3 on Chisago Lake using the formula from the Channel & Weir Operation and Maintenance Plan and Chisago Lake starting elevation of  896.4 .

Basically the formula is telling us that the snow melt has the potential to add about 1-foot of elevation to the lakes.  This would not trigger an action from the plan for the Lofton Weir (leads from south Chisago Lake to Green Lake).   It is important to understand that there are many factors that would influence this in either direction such as:

  • If we get a slow snow melt much of the water will evaporate or infiltrate resulting in less of an increase
  • If we get  a large rain event on top of the snowmelt this could result in a higher increase
  • Local Groundwater trends could also have an influence

The lake level for South Lindstrom/Chisago lakes on November 16, 2018 was 896.54.  The Ordinary High Water (OHW) level is 900.2.  The November lake level was 3.66 feet below OHW.

According to the Lake Improvement District’s 2016 Channel & Weir Operations & Maintenance Plan the Lofton Avenue Weir (Chisago Lake Outlet) will be opened if the actual level of Chisago Lake exceeds elevation 899.2.  South Lindstrom/Chisago lake levels will need to rise 2.66 feet over the November 2018 level.  Another option for opening the weir is if Chisago Lake’s level is projected to rise above the OHW of 900.2 based on snowmelt projections.

Below is a chart showing historic lake levels.  The November 2018 lake level is above the Lofton Low weir and below the Lofton Permanent outlet elevation.

historic lake levels

Property owners can be assured that the LID is working closing with the water resource engineers to stay on top of the water levels and if needed the weirs will be opened to relieve excess water .

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