The summer-long drought has taken its toll on the water levels of Crystal Lake.
Now, at season's end, sand bars are emerging in several areas near Lake Park at Main Beach, 300 Lake Shore Dr., Crystal Lake.
The measuring stick Crystal Lake Park District officials use to check water levels by the lake's outlet at Lake Avenue and Riverside Drive stands atop a soggy sand bar, as well. Another stick has been placed further out in the water to compensate.
Down at West Beach bay, 2330 Lake Ave., Lakewood, weeds spurred on by lack of ice and abundant sun last winter, spring and and summer are creating a nuissance for boaters.
The water level itself, having just dropped another six inches in the past 20 days, measured Tuesday at 2 feet, 3.75 inches lower than the norm, said Jeremy Husnik, engineering technician for Hey and Associates.
Based in Volo, the water resources engineering company has been charged with the task of monitoring all aspects of the lake since 2005.
While the company this year implemented a more aggressive aquatic-safe herbicide treatment program for the non-native invasive Milfoil weeds, there's nothing anyone can do about dropping water levels. Only Mother Nature can fix that problem.
"This is just about as bad as the drought in 2006," Husnik said. "I think that year the lake water was down another half foot lower (than now). But the next year, it just rained and rained, and then we had too much water over by North Shore Drive."
8th Annual Lake Planning and Management Meeting
Husnik will discuss the health and many other aspects of Crystal Lake at the upcoming 8th Annual Lake Planning and Management meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Crystal Lake Park District administrative office, One East Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake. The public is invited to attend.
The purpose of the meeting is to share information, answer questions and concerns regarding the lake, offer an explanation of the lake management process, and provide an overview of what is planned for the future.
"The lake meeting will be very informative," said Jason Herbster, executive director for the Crystal Lake Park District. "The drought will likely be the biggest topic, but they'll talk about the plant survey, any special work they've done this year, and more."
In the meantime, Herbster said boaters should consider removing their boats from Crystal Lake for the season. Water levels could soon drop low enough near the boat launches at Main and West beaches making it difficult for users to back trailers into the lake and load the boats, he said.
"We're encouraging people to get their boats out as soon as possible," Herbster said.
The good news, Husnik said, is that Crystal Lake is a very healthy body of water.
"The health of the lake is fine," Husnik said. "It's a very clear lake. It's a really good lake, and I would have no problem swimming in it."