Upgrades continue at Moosomin dam

Public asked to stay off thin ice

November 15, 2023, 10:15 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Work continues on Moosomin Dam and there are warnings of thin ice on the lake while construction continues.

Moosomin Lake is a very attractive place, drawing visitors to its beauty year-round. However, the public is being asked to avoid areas around the dam as construction efforts on the spillway continue.

“Some of the drains that were underneath the spillway were giving problems. It wasn’t serious, but it was something that had to be addressed,” said Mayor Larry Tomlinson, adding that a lot of it has been jack-hammered out with new cement to be poured including drains going into it. Cofferdams have been installed above and below the spillway in an effort to keep water away.

Back in the end of July, the Water Security Agency lowered the reservoir by 30 cm so the construction activities could take place. Before winter freeze-up, the WSA will lower the reservoir a further 15 cm.

“This adjustment will reduce the necessity for mid-winter releases due to potential snowmelt, preventing the formation of thin ice in the downstream channel and on the reservoir,” said the WSA in a media advisory.

Given the depth of Moosomin Lake, lowering the level even 45 cm total does present some concerns as well.

“In doing that, we’re worried about the fish in the lake,” Tomlinson said. “In order to keep the oxygen level up, the regional park has an aerator at the bridge on the way to the lake that’s already in place and working.”

Another aerator situated on a floating platform where the depth is about 25 feet is also in place, but won’t be able to be hooked up until firm ice is present at that spot.

“Aeration is required to support the dissolved oxygen levels in the lake to maintain the viability of overwintering fish,” the WSA said. “These aeration systems will result in areas of thin ice or open water on the lake.”

Signage and fencing will be placed around affected areas advising people to stay out, plus the road going to the dam will be blocked for further safety.

“During construction, public access to the dam embankment crest road will be closed,” the WSA confirmed.