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Indian Lake Will be Drawn Down this Winter

For Immediate Release: 9/28/2022 4:16 pm

The City of Worcester Department of Sustainability and Resilience advises residents of the Indian Lake area that the lake will only be drawn down six inches during the winter of 2022-23, beginning in early November. The water level will be reduced several inches per day over the course of a week. The lake will then be maintained at this level throughout the winter. The water will be brought back up to its normal level by no later than April 1st.

This is a change to the previous practice of drawing down water up to 6 feet in Indian Lake. Water level drawdowns are a lake management practice used to reduce the density of invasive aquatic plants, specifically Eurasian milfoil, by exposing them to the winter elements. Previously, Indian Lake had a permitted annual drawdown of up to six feet which was approved by the Worcester Conservation Commission for the management of invasive vegetation. While effective, these drawdowns are not designed to be annual events, as they cause stress on the entire lake ecosystem. During the summer of 2021, an herbicide treatment was used on the milfoil which was highly effective and essentially eradicated this invasive plant, eliminating the need for the drawdowns to continue. Until it is determined to be necessary for the management of invasive plant species, the drawdown will be limited to approximately six inches for the purpose of accounting for the wintertime accumulation of ice and snow.

Understanding the need for a transition for lake abutters who were used to the more severe drawdowns, fliers were distributed to all abutters in the fall of 2021, and a listening session took place. Additionally, Indian Lake was drawn down three feet in the winter of 2021-22 to allow for a smoother transition and enough time for preparations to be made to docks and waterfronts to accommodate the future change, while incurring reduced stress to the lake.

Please feel free to reach out to DSR’s Lakes and Ponds Program for more information at GreenWorcester@worcesterma.gov.  

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