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Along the Lakeshore: Oct. 16

Progress on lake levels, concerns about pedestrian safety

The waterfowl have been nonexistent since I wrote last week’s report. The mallards don’t seem to go anywhere for winter other than the creek where they are well cared for by the residents. They are also found messing around the lake shore in the winter. I’m principally interested in the buffleheads which have shown up as early as Oct. 15, but that was a fall with early frosts and measurable snowfall.

We have been blessed with three to four weeks of exceptional fall weather and the ducks will stay put until an extended cold front drives them south. That’s because they have no real estate commitments which have been bought and paid for and are not reimbursable. I’m sure there are times when human snowbirds would rather stay home if they hadn’t already paid or did not need significant out-of-state days to exclude New York State income tax.

The water is sluicing down the outlet in grand fashion in the amount of 120 million gallons per day. The gates were opened about a week after the dam controller said that he would lower the lake 6 inches a week. According to levels in the Press, the level is now 0.21 of a foot lower. This is about 2.54 inches and a lot less than the advertised 6 inches per week. However, we must give the city some leeway, as the flow is about as high as can be tolerated in downstream backyards. I hope that they can get down to their target of 861.5 by Nov. 1. The extreme rain of Oct. 7, certainly worked against their goal.

The fact that they are selling 11 million gallons per day fewer than when their guidelines were formulated might explain why the water level never quite gets down to the required goal of 860 on Jan. 1. It is interesting that the study that created the lower limit which requires the city to buy water from Onondaga County Water Authority also created the 863 on July 1 and 860 on Jan. 1 recommendations.

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