The graph below represents the level of Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake over time as well as the opening of the gate in the Crescent Lake Dam for a given date. As you pass the mouse cursor along either line, the actual numeric values for the lake level (blue line) and the gate opening (red line) on a given date are displayed at the top left corner of the chart.
What the numbers mean
The lake level numbers above refer to gauge readings at the Crescent Lake dam or in the Smith River at the Whitten Neck bridge (where a gauge has been calibrated to match the one at the dam). The readings apply to both Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth.
The numbers on the right side of the graph represent feet above sea level, so that a reading of 34.10 on the gauge represents a lake level of 534.10 feet above sea level. The same principle holds for the water levels referenced in the state order described below.
The gate opening numbers refer to the distance the sluice gate has been opened at the time the respective water level reading was taken. The gate determines the flow rate from Crescent Lake through the dam to the river below.
As the gate is only 4 feet tall, the maximum distance that the gate can be opened is 4 feet. If the table shows a gate opening of 0 feet, the gate is fully closed and there is minimal water flow through the dam.
State water level schedule
The state of New Hampshire requires the town of Wolfeboro to operate the dam in accordance with the following schedule:
- From June 15 to Labor Day, the water level is to be at 34.20 on the gauge but not below 32.70 on the gauge, with the variation being permissible to allow for evaporation and/or below average rainfall.
- By Columbus Day the water level is to have been decreased to 33.20 on the gauge, and by December 15 is to have been further decreased to 32.20 on the gauge.
- From December 15 to April 15, the water level is to be maintained at 32.20 on the gauge.
- From April 15 to June 15, the water level is to be increased from 32.20 on the gauge to 34.20 on the gauge, with frequent inspections by the owner to control discharge to prevent damage due to high water.
- At all times care is to be exercised to prevent water from flowing over the permanent crest of the dam.
- Once every five years beginning on September 10, 1993, the water level is to be drawn down to 30.70 on the gauge by the following October 10 and held at that level until the following November 10 to permit repairs to lake shore properties and installations.
- During periods of drought or flooding, the level of Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake may fall below or extend above the limits set forth in the state order. These conditions are considered to be natural occurrences and are not to be attributed to the dam owner.
Do you have questions or concerns about the current lake level? The Town of Wolfeboro Public Works Department, Scott Pike is responsible for operating the dam and adhering to the parameters above set by the Bureau of Dams at NH Department of Environmental Services. Our friends at NH LAKES, sat down with Jim Gallager, who heads up the Dam Bureau in 2021 to learn more about Dams and lake levels in NH. You can watch that talk HERE
To save yourself time, we suggest skipping to 8 min 30 seconds into video to hear about dams in general and some of the dams on likes nearby including- Ossipee, New Found, Winnipesaukee. At 18 mins, he begins talking about draw downs and why. To learn about wildlife concerns for flood storage skip to 30 mins. Snow pack and water content are discussed in decision making for flood control decisions for spring run off at 35 mins.