April showers bring May flowers...and varying water levels in Hyde Lake! But, did you know that we can control just how much water is in this 80-acre lake?
Maintaining any body of water is a big job, and with a lake this large, the hardworking Park's Operations Team keeps a close eye on water levels every day to help prevent erosion along the shores and to help prevent flooding around the lake. Even the most gentle waves can erode the banks!
This valve allows us to raise the lake levels. It is opened during dry conditions when we are trying to collect additional rainwater runoff to raise the lake level back to normal (“full”) conditions.
This photo is the lowering valve that is in the center of the lake spillway.
We can't control the weather, but we can preventatively control water levels! The Operations team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts, and when significant rainfall is predicted, whether over a multi-day period or a large amount in a short window of time, they can release water through a special gate on the lake's western edge, lowering the overall water level in the lake and making room for new water. The water flows under Farm Road and, thanks to the watershed, eventually makes its way to the Wolf River. Did you know that one inch of steady rainfall can raise the lake by more than three inches?! And rain isn't the only precipitation that can raise water levels⏤the lake levels were adjusted to accommodate run-off from melting snow and ice in February 2021!
So, the next time you are walking the trail around Hyde Lake and think the lake looks a little different than the last time you saw it, you could be right!
Work is being done by MLG&W near the Walnut Grove bridge at the Wolf River in the Lucius Burch Natural Area. Pleaes be alert in this area.