DCWF Receives Grant from the Community Trust Foundation

The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation received a grant from the Community Trust Foundation to help fund a free rain barrel distribution event in Garrett County. Through the generosity of community donors to the Foundation there are going to be one hundred free 50-gallon rain barrels given to participants. The only stipulation is that you attend a free class through University of Maryland Extension to learn more about maintaining and using the barrel. Classes are planned for late June.

A rain barrel is a container that is used to capture rainwater to help mitigate stormwater. The water can then be used for non-potable tasks such as washing vehicles or watering ornamental gardens/lawns. The goal is to slow down the water and let it soak into the ground after the rain event. If you are interested in earning a free rain barrel, please contact Ashley (email abachtel@umd.edu or call 301-334-6960) with University of Maryland Extension.

For more information on the benefits and approach for rain barrels, please click here to access our Rain Barrel Fact Sheet.

NEW! Groundwater Recharge and Completion of the Water Budget Model

The completion of the water budget model (WBM) is in response to Goal One and Goal Twelve of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The water budget model (WBM) will help predict water levels based on measured and estimated inflows, which would in turn will improve the decision process for the timing and volume of Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan water releases. Currently, the model created by the Foundation relies on a bookkeeping scheme that keeps track of the required releases and the water remaining in the pool. It is advantageous because it is updated daily, and a daily prediction is made of the number of days remaining until the lower rule band is reached. The first step in the journey to a completed water budget model was the installation by USGS and financed by the Foundation of a recording water level and water temperature gauge near Meadow Mountain Run. The output from this gauge as well as lake water temperature is recorded every fifteen minutes on a data retrievable website. The gauge serves as a backup to the gauge that the power plant operator maintains as a part of the water appropriation permit. The power plant data record is unavailable on the internet except for daily levels and other data. The Foundation paid $15,310 to USGS for this installation. The gauge data will show how the water that comes into the lake affects the water levels when combined with rainfall and discharge records. Two more continuously recording precipitation gauges in the watershed to augment the precipitation gauge at North Glade Run and discharge records available in real-time from the power plant will afford the data to construct a groundwater recharge model for the lake basin. Using the same bookkeeping technique, the recharge model will extend the predictable lake levels from days to months. We have added precipitation recording capability to the existing Hoyes Run USGS flow gauge on the Youghiogheny River and at the existing USGS flow gauge at Cherry Creek. The recorded precipitation data added to the longer precipitation record from the North Glade Run precipitation gauge will afford better precipitation records for the watershed. There are long term USGS precipitation records available from the gauge at Oakland on the Youghiogheny River to inspect the correlation. USGS has installed a river flow gauge upstream of the Deep Creek nexus with the Youghiogheny River. We refer to this gauge as the Top Yough Gauge. The additional gauge will provide flow data in conjunction with the Hoyes Run gauge. Factoring in the travel time between the gauges, it will be possible to infer the amount of water leaving the watershed. The Property Owners Association donated the capital cost of $21,750 and we have a donation of $17,970 for annual operation and maintenance for the gauge on the river upstream of where Deep Creek joins the Youghiogheny. The completed Water Budget Model will account for the water coming into the lake; the lake level data will show how the lake reacts to the rainfall and how the water coming out of the watershed into the river relates: Water In – Water Out = Change in water level. COMPLETED AND CONTEMPLATED JOINT PROJECTS WITH USGS INCLUDE
  Gauge build and Equipment Purchase Annual Operation and Maintenance Foundation Contribution USGS Match Total Cost
Recording Lake Water Temperature Gauge at State Park $1,200  $3,050  $4,250  $0  $4,250 
Recording Lake Water Level Gauge at State Park $4,800  $6,260  $11,060  $0  $11,060 
Co-located Precipitation Gauge at Hoyes Run $8,155  $4,575  $12,730  $0  $12,730 
Co-located Precipitation Gauge at Cherry Creek $8,155  $4,575  $8,155   $0 $12,730 
Stream Gauge upstream of Brookfield Power in Youghiogheny River $21,750  $18,600  $39,660  $0  $40,350 
The Deep Creek Lake Manager has agreed to pay for the operation and maintenance costs associated with the new Cherry Creek recording precipitation gauge at Cherry Creek and the water temperature gauge. Funds will be required from our Donors to have USGS operate and maintain all these gauges to the tune of $28,735 every year. The WBM completion hinges on the ability to evaluate the simple relationship of Water In minus Water Out equals Change in Water Level…  Easy to say, but gathering the input data will require a precipitation record over the lake recharge area, discharges from Deep Creek and the power plant into the river, and a record of water levels, all retrievable from a USGS digital database. A recent bathymetric survey of Deep Creek Lake by DNR confirmed the Stage-Storage relationship determined when the lake was built by Youghiogheny Hydro-Electric Company in the 1920s. One of the reasons for partnering with USGS is that they record the data they collect, which is readily available in real-time on the internet.  Our long-term goal is to use the water budget model as a basis for a water use management plan. Once the recharge model is incorporated, a predictive capability will afford the Water Appropriation Permit holder under the direction of the Maryland Department of the Environment the ability to equitably allocate the water that comes into Deep Creek Lake. The current appropriation permit requires that the operator use a predictive model to control operation. While the Deep Creek watershed has been blessed with abundant rainfall in recent years, a dry summer will happen. A water level management plan containing provisions for equitable water allocation when and if a shortage occurs will avoid contention between the stakeholders for the resource. A robust water budget model will afford the predictive ability needed to plan for times of low precipitation. For example, Lake Management can inform the lake users that water levels around docks will be lower than normal. The whitewater rafting community can accommodate in advance their release schedules appropriately to the available supply. Fisheries can tailor the temperature enhancement releases to fit the available supply. The power plant will be able to plan how much power it can produce and when. The completed Water Budget Model will make it possible to manage how the lake waters are used to equitably benefit all the stakeholders.
More About

Recharge Report 3 April 2024

Data for Deep Creek Lake was extracted from the USGS websites for Deep Creek Lake levels, precipitation for North Glade Run, Cherry Creek, and Hoyes Run, and the flow in the Youghiogheny River at Hoyes Run.
The data was plotted using Excel and AutoCAD to draft all the parameters in the same drawing. When plotted on letter-sized sheets and assembled into one, the results are over eight feet long… So, the days are plotted individually and included as .pdf documents so that they can be accessed readily.

During periods of rainfall, the precipitation is immediately added to the water level. This is evident on the 10th and 15th of March. The stream flow in the Youghiogheny River reacts later due to the travel time. Incidentally, twelve hours after the end of a rainfall event all of the runoff has occurred. The remainder soaks into the ground and is taken up by evaporation and entering the groundwater table.

The discharge from the power plant is inferred by subtracting the baseflow from the river discharge. From the area under the plant discharge record above, the estimated base flow per unit time indicates the plant discharge. The time of discharge signature is more discrete.

The total estimated power plant discharges for the period total 2,943 Ac-Ft (One acre of water, one foot deep). Using the storage-vs-lake level derived from prior work by the Maryland Geologic Survey and power plant records, the net change in lake storage minus the discharge is 1,662 Ac-Ft. In other words, 2,943 Ac-Ft through the power plant plus the 1,662 Ac-Ft increase in lake level for the period is 4,605 Ac-Ft.

An average of 1.13 inches of water fell on the watershed during that period. Assuming a drainage area of 40,000 acres for the lake and assuming that all of the water entered the lake during the period, 3,767 Ac-Ft would have been added. Arithmetic indicates that at least a thousand acre-feet of more water came into the lake than went out. Note that the lake level on the 22nd was about 0.4 feet, or about 5 inches higher than at the beginning of the period, considering about one inch of rain on the watershed and close to three thousand acre-feet of power generation.

This brief analysis is similar to the work that our consultant CEC will perform over a much longer period of time to measure the influence of groundwater recharge and incorporate it into the completed water budget model.
Respectfully submitted,
Morgan C. France, PE(ret)

Newly Appointed Secretary of DNR Visits Deep Creek Lake

DEEP CREEK LAKE — Newly appointed Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Josh Kurtz, visited Deep Creek Lake on July 26.

This visit included a boat tour of the lake and a buffet at Ace’s Run hosted jointly by the Deep Creek Lake Property Owners Association (POA) and the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation (DCWF).

The agenda of the visit included discussions of projects, plans, and current needs in the area. The success and benefits of past projects, the importance of the wellbeing of the lake and the importance of the relationship between the POA, DCWF, and the DNR were also discussed.

In attendance were State Senator Mike McKay, Garrett County Commissioners Paul Edwards, Ryan Savage, and Larry Tichnell, POA President Bob Sutton, DCWF President Bob Hoffmann, as well as lake and park managers and other POA and DCWF members.

Some of the topics discussed at lunch included the need for more manpower for lake management, park management, and NRP, future funding for the lake, and the successful relationship between DCWF, POA, and the DNR.

“It was a wonderful trip”, says Secretary Kurtz, “I think one thing that stood out to me was how well everybody in this room works together, and I think that’s a testament to the success you see on the lake, and the opportunities for us to continue to do more…I mean the number of people that are investing their money to make the lake better really stood out.”

Senator Mike McKay compared the relationship between the organizations to a three-legged stool.

“As much as we appreciate all the beauty here, it has to be properly managed…if one leg is longer than the others, we’ll fall off the stool so it’s a proper balance,” said McKay.

DCL POA President Bob Sutton said, “We all appreciated Mr. Kurtz taking a day to visit the lake and are looking forward to working with him and his staff in the future!”

Deep Creek Watershed Foundation Recipient of Garrett County of the 2021 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award

On Saturday morning, October 1, 2022, The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation (DCWF) will be honored as the recipient for Garrett County of the 2021 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award. This award will be presented to the DCWF by the State of Maryland’s Comptroller, Peter Franchot. More information about this annual award and program can be found at the link below:
The DCWF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization formed in 2016 and designed to accept tax deductible donations and use those donations over time to support the implementation of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The WMP was created in a collaborative effort between citizens of Garrett County, Garrett County Government, and the Maryland State Department of Natural Resources. It was clear to some of those citizens who assisted in the development of the plan, that neither the State nor County would alone be able to fund the myriad of projects necessary to implement the plan. To address this fiscal reality, the DCWF uses a methodology of creating public/private partnerships to fund projects DCWF and the projects if has supported thus far as well as planned for the future can be found on our Projects Page

The DCWF has an all-volunteer Board of Directors as well as a very supportive group of Advisors and Volunteers who assist the board in a wide variety of ways.
Financial support is received from individual donors, event sponsors, and grants, nearly, all of which, is applied to projects. Individuals wishing to donate may go donate via PayPal or forward checks to:

The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation
P.O. Box 376 Oakland, Maryland 21550

Read this article online.

Deep Creek Watershed Foundation Recipient of Garrett County of the 2021 William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award page 1

Deep Creek Watershed Foundation Recipient of Garrett County of the 2021 William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award Page 2

Arrowhead Stream Biological and Water Quality Survey

Arrowhead Stream Biological and Water Quality Survey


Arrowhead Cove in the site of a pilot dredging project in Deep Creek Lake.  The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation is using this opportunity to conduct a biological and water quality survey of Arrowhead Run, a tributary to Deep Creek Lake.

The area of interest encompasses an approximately 0.4 mi. reach extending from a natural wetland at the upstream boundary to its confluence with Deep Creek Lake.  Two in-stream 100-m sampling stations will be designated and georeferenced – (1) below outflow of wetland; and – (2) above confluence with Deep Creek Lake where stream channel is well-defined. At each site a water sample will be collected, fish community composition will be determined by electrofishing, and macroinvertebrate community sampled by kick or sweep netting. An in-stream habitat evaluation score will be determined at each sampling site.  In addition, water samples will be collected above and below the wetland to determine its effect on downstream water quality, particularly nutrient and suspended solids loadings. A project summary will be prepared based on analyses described above that can serve as a baseline for future biomonitoring and bioassessment.

Water quality.  On-site measurements of temperature (C), pH, specific conductance uS/cm2 will be taken at the time of biological sampling at Stations 1 and 2.  A sample will be taken for analysis of total alkalinity (mg/l as CaCO3) in the laboratory at California University.  Samples will also be collected above and below the wetland and transported to a certified laboratory (H&H Water Controls, Carmichaels, PA) for analyses of nitrates, phosphates, and total suspended solids (TSS).

Habitat. In-stream habitat quality will be scored and presented for Stations 1 and 2 employing the US EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment methodology (Barbour et al. 1999).

Fish. The fish community at each Station will be sampled over each 100 m reach by back-pack electrofishing. All collected individuals will be identified to species, enumerated, and released.

Macroinvertebrates. Macroinvertebrate sampling will be conducted at each Station by kick or sweep-netting according to substrate characteristics (Barbour et al. 1999). All organisms will be preserved in 70% isopropyl alcohol and transported to California University for processing.  Organisms collected will be identified to the lowest practicable taxonomic level and enumerated.  

Assessment Summary. The status of resident fish and macroinvertebrate communities are recognized indicators of stream health. Data from water quality and biotic analyses will be integrated into a comprehensive report on the condition of Arrowhead Run and provide a baseline for future biomonitoring and assessment.

The Foundation is negotiating with the University to have conduct this research to establish a base line for the stream.  It is the Foundations wish to extend this work into all of the tributaries in the  Deep Creek Watershed.

The Foundation will be pleased to accept donations for this effort.  Go to the Donations page to do so.

The Invasive Species Prevention Campaign


DNR is continuing its boat-cleaning, warning and education programs to prevent the introduction of invasive organisms into Deep Creek Lake, and we are planning to expand our efforts to assist them.As the first step in this new campaign, we’ve produced a new brochure that will be distributed throughout the watershed area, warning boaters to “STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS!”

Update: The Water Level Projects

Report to Donors to the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation:

The Water Level Projects

By David Myerberg

(This document is a deep dive into the problem, the role and success of the Foundation in its most expensive project to date.)


Deep Creek Lake property owners, renters and others need an adequate depth of water in the lake for recreational purposes. Every year, in the fall through the winter, the Deep Creek Dam operator releases water to prevent ice from damaging the dam and eroding the shoreline. In the spring, the dam releases less water and natural runoff causes the water to rise to the limit of 2461 feet above sea level. The spring/summer recreational season runs from April to October.

The dam operator follows a permit, issued by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) which specifies releases for hydroelectric generation, temperature enhancement for fish health in the Youghiogheny (at the warmest time of the year), white water boating opportunities in the Youghiogheny, and maintenance of minimum flows. The permit also defines an operating range for the lake’s water level, called the upper and lower rule bands. (See table, below.)

Defining the Problem: Competing interests

Some stakeholders are interested in releasing water from the dam and, of course, others are interested in keeping water in the lake to assure adequate depth for recreational boating.

The Dam Permit which governs water releases attempts to balance these competing interests. The permit is renewed every 12 years, but challenges to the permit can be submitted and addressed in the intervening years.

In 2010, lake residents experienced serious problems due to low seasonal precipitation and the fact that, during that season, the dam operator ran the lake levels near the lower rule band. This resulted in the water dropping below the lower rule band and led to both significant loss of dock usage, (especially in the shallow coves) and limitation of releases for whitewater runs in the Youghiogheny.

When the water level gets as low as the lower rule band, roughly two-thirds of the whitewater releases are suspended, leaving only the weekend releases. This substantially cuts into the whitewater businesses and activities which are headquartered in Friendsville, MD.

Another related issue occurs when the lake is left at a very high levels. At this time, there can be substantial erosion of the shore line in various areas. Barriers on the waterfront to prevent this erosion are limited. Traditionally, the cost of such barriers accrue to homeowners, despite the fact that the land on which such barriers are built is owned by the State. Although there is some movement by Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and MDE to make permitting for walls and rip-rap somewhat less expensive, the cost to the average homeowner of doing this work is exorbitant. Furthermore, the effect of leaving the water level high through the season has not been studied in Deep Creek Lake.

Following 2011, the dam operator realized their mistake and kept the water levels near the upper rule band during the season. Erosion of the shoreline from boat wakes and weather induced waves was not studied prior to or during this time.

Role that the Foundation Played regarding Low Water Levels

Some changes were made to the dam Permit on June 1, 2011, based on the problems with dock access and limitation of whitewater releases during the prior year, but, by no means did these changes address the potential of future problems with water allocation.

By the time the Foundation formed in 2016, through their work on the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan, many on the Board and Advisors knew that neither MDE, who issues the permit, the Dam operator, the outfitters in Friendsville nor DNR/fisheries were agreeable to substantial future changes in the permit.

By funding pointed scientific study, the Foundation sought to help resolve the conflict among the stakeholders who use the lake water in very different ways.

What did we do?

Through a generous donation, the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation spent nearly $100,000 to address the issue of low water levels on Deep Creek Lake.

In 2007 and 2008, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and MDE had performed measurements of the depth of Deep Creek Lake along its entire 70-mile shoreline. This is called bathymetry analysis. In 2017-18, the Foundation hired an engineering firm to calculate the actual number of docks disabled by lowering water to certain levels from this bathymetry data.

The Foundation hired the same engineering firm to develop a Water Budget Model (WBM).[1] This was a “proof of principle prototype” that showed that one could predict when the water was going to approach the lower rule band and could adversely affect both whitewater activities and access to lake docks. If the water level drops close to the lower rule band, this WBM could warn the Dam operator to diminish releases and prevent a further drop in levels.

How did the Foundation’s investment in the WBM and the Bathymetric Analysis change the dynamic?

First, the Foundation prepared its campaign to change the permit more than a year before it was due for renewal. Second, the Foundation presented the WBM and the Bathymetric analysis to local legislators and governmental officers. This was well received. Third, the Foundation traveled to Baltimore to present the WBM and the Bathymetric Analysis to MDE, DNR and the Dam operator, to emphasize that the dam permit not only could be changed to the advantage of those who used the Lake’s water on its surface, but for those who use the water in the Youghiogheny River.

Fourth, Senator George Edwards arranged a meeting between the Foundation, the dam operator, MDE, DNR and representatives of the Governor’s office so the Foundation could present its grievances and solutions regarding the dam permit. Fifth, the Foundation (and representatives of the Property Owners Association and their lobbyist) met in Baltimore with John Grace, the point person at MDE for the permit renewal to further define the position of lakefront owners.

The studies enabled by the major donation allowed the Foundation to present irrefutable scientific evidence that if water levels were too low, a specific number of lakefront property owners were adversely affected. Likewise, the WBM was mathematically proven to be a method that would keep this from happening under most future scenarios. The Foundation was able to involve and convince local and State elected officials of these facts and to show the dam operator and MDE that there was some political will in Annapolis in support of needed changes in the permit and the permit process. All parties were involved and on-board early and helped to assure that the permit process in 2019 was going to be transparent and broad-based.

The Result

The 2019-2020 permit process was very different and much better than earlier permit stakeholder assemblies. The present Dam operator, Brookfield Renewable Power, funded three lunch meetings moderated by MDE for the stakeholders at WISP, in which Brookfield, lake stakeholders, whitewater interests and fisheries presented information. The Watershed Foundation’s President presented summaries of the Bathymetric and Water Budget Model studies. Question sessions were thorough. These meetings occurred from February through the fall of 2019 and a Comment Period occurred. A Public Hearing occurred by Zoom in October, 2020.

Following the Public Hearing, MDE issued the permit and a 36-page response to all formal comments/questions. John Grace told the Foundation’s President that when he started in this permit process at MDE, around 2000, there was no background material for him to read and no one who was unbiased to consult. The detailed process in 2019 enabled him to give comprehensive answers to every question raised by stakeholders which he hopes will provide a more complete background for future permit renewals.

In the 2020 Permit, the dam operator is required to adopt and use a predictive model [similar to the WBM] to keep track of the lake water levels through the recreational season. Likewise, the dam operator is required by tight specification to maintain the water level as close as possible to the upper rule band throughout the season.

Despite the fact that the POA and the Foundation felt that there needs to be a permit requirement for predicting potential breaches of the lower rule band and for taking specific corrective action using some kind of modified protocol, MDE would not go that far. We assume that they believe this would only happen in the worst drought conditions, which may be true.

The Foundation’s Future regarding Water Levels in Deep Creek Lake

First, the Foundation has funded a project by the USGS which installed a lake level meter. The Foundation has committed to continued funding of this meter so stakeholders (including the Foundation) can follow this important variable and will have accurate data for future study.[2] This tool also has a recording water temperature component paid for by the Foundation. This will be valuable to fishermen and to biologists interested in the semi-annual temperature inversion which is the exchange of bottom water and surface water due to warming and cooling of the surface.

Second, lakefront owners are concerned about erosion caused by maintaining the water level at high elevation through the season. Erosion is already addressed as a problem in the Foundation’s guiding document, the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan. The accurate measure of water level funded by the Foundation will add another dimension to studies of lake shore erosion and the Foundation hopes to support the necessary studies to help bring this under control.

Third, if a protocol is developed by stakeholders and MDE that defines actions for allocation of lake water in the case of severe drought, the Foundation will help with these deliberations.


This chapter in the Foundation’s history shows what we can do with tax-deductible donations, thoughtful application of science and working in a sensible way with government and other stakeholders to the advantage of the lake and watershed.

The concept and development of the Water Budget Model was done in large part by Morgan France, now Director of Projects for the Foundation. The implementation of the permit requirements, and indeed the management of the water levels, are based on knowing what the water level is. That is not a simple measurement of water levels based on the current geodetic datum. The elevation of the water levels in the lake assumes that the overflow weir at the dam is at elevation 2462 in the permit, and in subsequent records. 2462 was the elevation that was determined at the time the dam was built. The difference between the lake datum (2462) and the current geodetic datum is about minus 1.8 feet. The current lake level gauge maintained by Brookfield is based on the 2462 datum. The readings from that gauge are available on the internet. However, this gauge is a “single point of failure” for the management process. The annual report for the preceding year is filed with MDE and available usually in February of the following year. The new recording lake level gauge sponsored by the foundation has daily real time lake level data retrievable back to August of 2020.

Deep Creek Water Quality

Water Quality Monitor Campaign Sees Success

The DCWF’s Water Quality Meter Campaign was initiated in the early part of 2020 and will continue during 2021. Board Members and Advisors to the Foundation realized that assisting the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deploy “state of the art” meters is critical to ensuring good water quality in Deep Creek Lake (DCL) for both the near term and long term. Biologists and other DNR Staff identify, through the data collected by the meters, potential impacts on Water Quality for further investigation and/or the application of appropriate remedies.

Due to the generosity of a wide variety of donors responding to our campaign and associated requests for support, the DCWF is able to purchase FOUR Water Quality Meters which will be donated to DNR for exclusive use at DCL in the coming years. The purchase of these meters represents a donation from the DCWF in the amount of $60,000 as part of the Foundation’s public-private partnership with the DNR which benefits DCL and the watershed. But there is more! In addition to all the above good news, the Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake (POA) also made a one-time contribution of approximately $15,000 to the DCWF enabling the purchase of a total of FIVE WATER QUALITY METERS which will be donated to DNR. These new meters will enable DNR to increase the breadth and specificity of water quality data which can be shared with the public.

YSI, the company which makes the meters, assisted with very reasonable pricing for this multiple meter purchase. In addition, the DCL Manager, Eric Null, and Natural Resources Biologists Julie Bortz and Christine King were instrumental in making certain the meters purchased by the Foundation and the POA contained the proper specifications to ensure their compatibility with those purchased by the DCL Manager for use at DCL.

From the Foundation’s perspective, the WQM Campaign thus far has been truly a successful team effort on the part of many folks and as the campaign continues this year we hope many more folks will donate to it so the Foundation will be able to do even more for DCL and the Deep Creek Watershed.

Please visit the DCWF website at: www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org for more information and ways to donate.

Sedimentation Mitigation Plan

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation and Sedimentation Mitigation Plan


Goal #5 of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan1: “Manage SAV in Deep Creek Lake to maintain and improve the ecological stability of the lake, while working with waterfront landowners to minimize the interference of SAV with recreational uses of the lake around docks.”

Goal #6 of the Plan: Prevent erosion and sedimentation to the greatest extent possible to protect water resources from increased sediment loading and associated water quality problems.


A solution to the mitigation of sediment and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) impacts to dock owners around Deep Creek Lake may be to lower the water level of the lake during winter months to the lower rule band (LRB).

A. SAV Impact Mitigation

During the outlet structure repair of the impoundment at New Germany State Park the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that the excessive SAV growth, particularly in the upper reaches of the impoundment could perhaps be mitigated by allowing the beds to freeze while the winter water levels were down during construction. After the trial DNR determined that the method was not successful. Two factors contributed to that failure. 1. The water level was not dropped as far as contemplated. The contractor submitted a request to use a coffer dam so that the water level would not have to be dropped down so far as originally contemplated. 2. The winter was mild.

Dropping the lake level to the LRB from November to February would allow the SAV beds to freeze and inhibit the growth. It is not the goal to remove them. The exiting beds are mainly native plants. If these beds are destroyed by dredging or poison other invasive species will populate the niche.

B. Shoreline Sedimentation Mitigation

For most of the history of Deep Creek Lake the water levels peaked in June and declined rather sharply toward Labor Day. Based on the elevation of what was an island off what is now The Blakeslee, the water level was about 2457 by Labor Day.

Beginning about 1970 there was pressure brought to bear to keep the water level higher to afford development back in the shallow waters. Keeping the water high through the summer and into fall saw shoreline erosion, and beaches went from sorted pebbles and cobbles to mud. Page 17 of the WBCM Deep Creek Lake: A Sediment Study, DGS Project No. 008-132-0102 states “In some areas the current shoreline (2012) does appear to vary from the 1972 shoreline by approximately 5-15 feet.”

The 5-15 feet of shoreline loss noted above is now sitting ten to fifteen feet out from the “new” shoreline. That deposition is the basis of most property owner’s complaints. Mud around docks also promotes the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The nutrients from the sheet flow from lawns that extend to the high-water line and nutrients introduced into the water from the resident goose population have also fueled the increase in SAV impacts.

Proposed Solution

Lowering the lake level to the LRB from the 15 October level to 2456 by 31 October and to 2455 by 30 November, and remain at 2455 until 31 January will inhibit the growth of SAV in the lake bottom above 2455 by exposing them to freezing temperatures.

The lower lake levels will allow normal existing sediment erosive action to remove sediment and nutrients to a lower level. When the water level returns to full pool there will be six feet of water above the 2455 contour placing some of the plants under six feet of water with the attending attenuation of the sun strength.

Lowering the lake levels to the recommended depths will not require any permit or study work, and will be successful in reducing SAV growth and will mitigate the impact of sediments around the docks.

For future consideration, if the recommended procedure is deemed to be effective, the lake levels could be reduced even further to enhance the benefit.

Please address questions or comments to:

Morgan C. France
729 Chadderton School Road
Oakland, Maryland 21550
silverdaggr@gmail.com 301 616 5097
Respectfully submitted,

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

(703) 975-8485

P.O. Box 376
Oakland, MD 21550


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: DCWF. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Connect With Us

©2024 – Deep Creek Watershed Foundation