DEXTER - The Dexter Utility District has operated the town-owned Wassookeag Dam for years without any specific plan in place, until now.
The Town Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a lake and dam management plan that provides guidelines for lake levels during specific times of the year. The product is the work of the Lake Association, the Dexter Utilities District and town officials with help from MBP Consulting of Portland.
"I think this plan goes a long way" in addressing the lake levels while protecting wildlife, regional biologist Bobby van Riper of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told the council Thursday. "It's probably the best I've seen."
The water levels identified in the plan are good for wildlife and spawning, he said.
Rich Pfirman of the dam committee told the council Thursday the plan is a way to try to quantify dam operations and minimize flooding and associated property damage, while keeping in mind that the output capacity of the dam is only 19 percent of a 100-year flood.
The plan attempts to keep the maximum fluctuation between a low of 432 feet above sea level to a high of 434.5 feet above sea level, according to Pfirman.
A source-water production plan for Lake Wassookeag also was discussed, but action to approve it will be taken at next month's meeting.
Resident Peggy Kaufman told the council that the goal of the plan developed by Lake Wassookeag source-water protection stakeholders including the Dexter Utility District, is to protect the town's drinking water and reduce or eliminate potential risks.
"I feel like this is an insurance policy," Kaufman said Thursday. She said the plan consists of a series of tasks aimed at public education and watershed protection and security but it does not prohibit recreational use. "We want recreational use of the lake to remain."
In other business Thursday, the council voted to hire GL Frost Architecture of Bangor to design the town hall project. The firm submitted a bid of $15,500 for the work, the lowest of three bids.
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