Lilly Lake high water

The no wake sign will be up until the next town board meeting.
In the background is what is left of the public beach.

Members of the Lilly Lake Protection District came to talk about the water level of Lilly Lake. What they thought was one question, actually turned out to be three separate questions. What should be the normal height of the lake? If it is too high, should there be a way to lower it back to normal? What should be the water level that ‘no wake’ should be imposed? These have become urgent questions because of the occurrence of high water the last two years.

Len Roecker, Town Engineer for the past 25 years, tried to inform and guide the discussion.

Lilly Lake is a kettle lake. Rain and springs fill it.  Evaporation lowers it.

A range of 2017 759 ft to 2012 755.7 ft.

757 ft is the average high. It is unknown what is was decades, ago. The DNR has a regulatory high-water mark. 8/10 above your average high.

The rains this year have the height almost as high as 2017.

The lake district decides what is the high level for wake/no wake. It is set by ordinance. The height for wake/no wake is not necessarily the same as the normal/ideal height of the lake. Wheatland Town Chairman Bill Glembocki said it would be in the next Town Board agenda. The lake will be closed until then.

The main focus of the meeting was to decide if they should look for a draw down mechanism to reduce the lake to the ordinary level.

A fixed weir, would allow gravity to let the extra water drain out. The idea of pumping would be very difficult for 80 acres.

One option is to do nothing. Otherwise, the group was presented with two concepts, for draining water. One to the west, or one to the south.

The concept to the west, Palmer Creek, a trout stream, didn’t get any consideration. No one saw any feasibility to the plan.

The south option.

The option to the south was another matter.

It was a chorus of agreement, that a natural outlet existed on the south side of the lake. The town did look for remains of an old culvert when 80th St was redone, but didn’t find it.

According to long-time residents, all that land in Kersting’s Subdivision, on the south, was swampland, that was filled in. That was the overflow for the lake. The water from there, travels into the wetlands, to the Fox River.

Homeowners aren’t happy with the lack of background information from the Town. Homeowners aren’t happy that the homes were built and now there is a problem. It is acknowledged that the homes were built with permits and according to process. Some homeowners’ properties are being damaged by the high water. Others feel they are being punished by the ones who feel they are getting damaged.

After further discussion, the go-ahead was given for engineering study for water relief project on the south side, not to exceed $20,000.

Roecker requested any historical documentation about drainage or lake levels, anyone would have, please get it to Town Clerk Shelia Siegler.

GIS map 1963.
GIS map 1963.

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