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

NRCS Agriculture Mapping

Create a Photo Map of Historic Shorelines From NRCS Agriculture Mapping

The time-rate of shoreline changes can be documented by rubber sheeting the photos onto a base map using features visible on the base map and on each sheet as it is brought in. Because of the spatial size of the project, it will need to be done digitally. From the file, the time rate of shoreline change can be documented and evaluated. The project partially fulfills Goal 3 of the Watershed Management Plan.

River Flow Gauge on Youghiogheny River Above Deep Creek Nexus

River Flow Gauge on Youghiogheny River Above Deep Creek Nexus

Our next objective is to accrue donor funding of $21,750 in capital costs and a commitment of $17,970 for annual operation and maintenance for the gauge on the river upstream of where Deep Creek joins the Youghiogheny. The existing flows at that point subtracted from the flows measured at the Hoyes Run gauge will indicate the discharges from the Deep Creek watershed, including flows from the power plant and groundwater discharges.

The Completed Water Budget Model will be able to account for precipitation, groundwater recharge, flows through the power plant plus the discharges around the dam, factoring in the discharges required through the power plant by the Water Appropriation Permit. An apparently simple relationship determines the water levels in the lake: Water In – Water Out = Change In Water Level.

A recent bathymetric survey of Deep Creek Lake confirmed the Stage-Storage relationship determined when the lake was built by Youghiogheny Hydro-Electric Company. The project partially fulfills Goal 1 of the Watershed Management Plan.

The new USGS flow gauge upstream of the Swallow Falls Bridge on the Youghiogheny River will measure the river flows upstream of the power plant. The difference in flows, adjusted for travel time, will afford an indication of the discharges from the Deep Creek Watershed.

The discharge from the watershed (Water Out) is a component in the analysis of the groundwater recharge and the precipitation (Water In). The other component is a record of lake water levels.The public doing recreational boating and swimming in the river reach from Swallow Falls to the Sang Run Bridge will be safer because the river flow rate is conveniently available on the USGS

Aquatic Invasive Species Legislation

Aquatic Invasive Species Legislation

Legislation is needed to address the lack of enforceable regulations regarding the launch and operation of boats that have been exposed to aquatic invasive species (AIS). The Policy Review Board* has formed a committee managed by Eric Null and Bob Browning. The Assistant States Attorney assigned to Deep Creek Lake has agreed to help craft the legislation. At this time the costs to the Foundation are unknown. The project partially fulfills Goal 3 of the Watershed Management Plan.

*  The Policy Review Board (PRB) is a Maryland State Board which is charged with advising the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on matters relating to lake fees, budget and management. In addition, the PRB and DNR were mandated to issue a Deep Creek Lake Recreation and Land Use Plan by June 2001 that provides for the wise use, protection and management of the natural and recreational resources of Deep Creek Lake. More information about the PRB can be found at the website for the Department of Natural Resources.

Precipitation Gauge Array Completion

Precipitation Gauge Array Completion

The two new USGS precipitation gauges will augment the USGS recording gauge at North Glade Run and afford reasonably good precipitation records. An analysis of the lake levels USGS measures on our behalf compared to the precipitation will show the relationship of groundwater recharge to the precipitation record. The first precipitation gauge was added to the stream flow measurement at Hoyes Run near the power plant. The second was added to the stream flow gauge at Cherry Creek. The installation cost is $8,155 each, and the annual operation and maintenance cost is $4,575 each. The project partially fulfills Goal 12 of the Watershed Management Plan.

10-10 Shoreline Vegetation Project

10-10 Shoreline Vegetation Project

The goal of the 10 in 10 Project is to reforest the buffer strip along the Lake shore with at least 10% of woody vegetation in 10 years using native trees shrubs and ground covers.  A demonstration project in partnership with the Lake Management/DNR office at Deep Creek Lake State Park will be displayed along the 300 yard strip of waterfront to the right of the Launch Dock.  This display will serve as a prototype. The purpose for a vegetated barrier is not just to prevent erosion but also to protect the water quality and shore and stream habitat.

Visitors to this site will find a meandering path and signage that identifies suggested landscaping plants all designed to enhance lake views while creating a healthy shoreline.  Participation of property owners is voluntary. Other community partners include Property Owners Association (POA), various civic groups and Ashley Bechtel-Bodkins, one of our advisors and a Senior Agent at University of Maryland Extension Office in Garett County who will be involved with the planning.

DCWF does not have a cost estimate at this time.  The 10 in 10 Project partially fulfills Goal 6 of the Watershed Management Plan.  The Plan will be posted here upon completion.

Support for Dock Launch Stewards

Support for Dock Launch Stewards

In partnership with the Lake Manager and Garrett College, we purchased jackets and inspection equipment for the launch stewards stationed at the State Park Launch Ramp. We have committed $1,000 per year to support this effort. This project partially fulfills Goal 1 of the Watershed Management Plan.

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

(703) 975-8485

P.O. Box 376
Oakland, MD 21550


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