As we move into the middle of spring of 2021 there are concerns and questions about the water level of Lake Koshkonong and Rock River. After a heavy snowpack followed by a no runoff snow melt with rainfall 3+ inches below normal we have a water level we have not seen in years, yet we are still exceeding our mandated winter maximum today, (May 6, 2021) by .16. Winter and summer water levels were established by Wisconsin DNR for a balance of recreation and environmental and ecological concerns. Those mandated levels are the result of WDNR operating orders at the Indianford Dam. Winter operating orders for a maximum of 776.0 are in effect September29 until June 14. RKLD has not reached that mandated level for many years and the proximity to that level is the result of the 2021 spring weather conditions.
Since the establishment of the Rock Koshkonong Lake District, RKLD has struggled with water discharge capacity at the Indianford Dam resulting in minor and major flooding with millions of dollars in property damage as well as frequent slow-no-wake orders. In January, the RKLD Board of Commissioners was successful in an application for grants to increase the water flow capacity of the Indianford Dam. Qualifying for this grant will help RKLD complete this water control project with six additional gates at the powerhouse structure at Indianford. The additional water control will open the discussion of higher water levels during the recreation periods on Lake Koshkonong and the Rock River and better meet the winter level goals for a healthy lake and river system.
For three months RKLD Board has been in discussion with the Town of Albion, Dane County about a boat landing on the northeast side of Lake Koshkonong at Bingham Rd. Many negotiations about land purchase, construction, ownership, maintenance and need of this landing have come to an impasse. A small group consisting of two appointed by the Town of Albion, two appointed by the Town of Sumner, Jefferson County and two appointed by RKLD was agreed to give recommendations to both Towns and the RKLD Board to attempt an agreement.
I am grateful to the RKLD Board, our administration for the hard work these volunteers offer for the efficient and open operations of this lake district. This group has accomplished much in two short years for operations and opportunities and a new standard of management of your lake district.
Alan Sweeney, RKLD Chair