A project to draw down Cravath and Trippe lakes in Whitewater began Monday and is expected to continue through September.


A project to draw down Cravath and Trippe lakes in Whitewater began Monday and is expected to run through September.

City staff opened the dam at Cravath Lake, city officials said in a Facebook post Friday. Monday was the first day when the city released water, and City Manager Cameron Clapper released more Wednesday.

City officials marked a nearby rock to track how much the water level has dropped.

The city wants to enhance the lakes’ recreational use, but the bodies of water have become choked with weeds. Some invasive aquatic plants the city wants to freeze out and control include starry stonewort and Eurasian milfoil.

The project is estimated to cost nearly $1.3 million. The city expects about 81,000 cubic yards of material to be removed—44,000 from Trippe Lake and 37,000 from Cravath Lake.

An earlier city presentation said the lakes continue to fill with sediment, look bad and offer shrinking fish habitat—all on top of having less recreational use.

The city website has answers to 19 frequently asked questions. Officials plan to post updates online as the project moves along.

The drawdown involves opening the dams, which means the water level will slowly go down until the area becomes a stream bed, according to the city.

Eric Boettcher, city parks and recreation director, was not immediately available Friday. He has previously said a typical daily drawdown is about an inch per day, and officials want to be done by the end of September to avoid interfering with turtle and frog hibernation.

“Staff will monitor the amount of water that is removed from Cravath Lake and make alterations as needed to stay on track,” the Facebook post states.

The lakes are expected to be refilled in spring 2021.