Lakes Drawdown Updates
In an effort to freeze out invasive species, restore navigation channels, and improve overall health within the lakes, the City of Whitewater began the process of draining Tripp and Cravath Lakes in July 2019. Originally planned to last 24 months over three calendar years, the project was extended an additional year to ensure the maximum amount of lakebed exposure for freezing and/or dredging. Check the updates provided below to better understand the project and current status.
Take a look at the updated Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the page to help answer some of your current questions.
Update Timeline- Choose the date tab to learn what happened during that month.
March 8, 2022
Week of February 28, 2022
Dredging Project Finishing up!
The dredging portion of project has come to an end. With the warmer temperatures our contractor is now demobilizing and should be out of the lakes by Wednesday. The total estimated dredged out was close to 70,000 cubic yards of material. This was close to the 81,000 cubic yards that was originally planned. Cravath Map (PDF) and Trippe Map (PDF) of the area dredged.
Now that the dredging portion is wrapping up the plan moves on to the restoration plan. This will consist of another controlled burn of the lake bed (Mid - March – April) along with revegetation of the shoreline along the park areas as well as along the dredged areas (Mid-April through May). The timeframe for this is from April through May.
So when will the lakes be refilled?
As we move forward with the restoration plan the target date to refill the lakes is June 10, 2022. We will begin to bring the lake levels back up and hopefully be back up by the end of June. Again these are all target dates and weather dependent.
Week of February 21, 2022
Work Schedule for week of February 21 - February 28
- The Dredging portion of the lakes project has been going strong. As of Sunday, February 20th approximately 65,000 – 70,000 cubic yards of material has been removed. The total amount to reach is 81,000 cubic yards. We are getting close!
- Here’s what is scheduled to be happening on the lakes next week! Work will start up again on Wednesday weather permitting. The navigation channels are almost complete. Now the focus will be to complete the dredging in front of the park areas.
- No work scheduled for Monday or Tuesday due to warmer temps and snow
- Crews will work Wednesday through the weekend.
- Wednesday – Sunday 24 hours a day.
- (Schedule dependent on weather and worksite conditions)
Week of February 13, 2022
Work Schedule for week of February 13 - February 19
- The contractor continues to work when temperatures allow. For the most part, they are working at night and ending before noon while temperatures are below freezing. Conditions on Trippe Lake continue to be better than conditions on Cravath Lake. Trucks on Trippe Lake are able to haul ¾ to full loads while trucks on Cravath are only able to haul about ½ full loads.
- Dredging is scheduled to continue this weekend and into next week (the week of Feb 14), again as the weather conditions allow. While sunny skies are nice this time of year, the sun is not helping in maintaining frozen surface conditions during the day.
Week of February 6, 2022
Work Schedule for week of February 6 - February 13
- Crews will work through the weekend (Feb 4-6), one crew on Sunday working Trippe Lake.
- No work is scheduled for Monday or Tuesday due to warmer temperatures and snow.
- Wednesday through Sunday, crews will plan to work 24 hours with most work occurring at night due to the cold temperatures.
*All work is dependent on weather and the worksite conditions. The ground must be frozen by 18" in order to allow large equipment to drive on and add dirt to loading trucks. Mats are laid on the ground that is not frozen enough to allow vehicles to drive on without sinking. If warmer temperatures and the sun begin to defrost the ground, work must stop to keep equipment from sinking and work can resume when the outdoor temperatures drop again.
Dredging started this past Wednesday and crews are working from the middle of Trippe Lake and moving south at this point. They will continue to remove sediment along the planned channel eventually moving north in the following week.
Dredging on Cravath started this past Wednesday, Feb 2nd. The dredge area at the south end of the lake and they will continue to work north towards the park over the next week.
Lakes Continue to Refill
Cravath and Trippe Lakes continue to refill since the process started on June 13,2022. The lakes will continue to refill through out this summer. Currently the south end of Cravath is about 6 inches from its original level at the start of the project and Trippe lake has about another 10 inches to come up by the gate and spillway area. The rain levels over the past week should help this process. The lakes fill from north to south making the south ends of the lakes the last area to fill.
Vegetation in the Lake
The vegetation in the lake is made up mostly of cattails and grasses that grew in while the lake was drawn down. This is to be expected. Once the lake level returns to normal a majority of those plants will die off. City staff will continue to work with the WDNR to monitor the vegetation. Additional measures such as cutting and harvesting measures will continue next spring and into the future to help manage the vegetation in our lakes.
Plans for restocking of fish are underway. Fish stocking will occur in the fall of 2022 and 2023. Crappie, bluegill, perch and additional feeder fish will be added from fish farms first followed by bass. Additional fish will also help populate the lakes as they move in from upstream. Larger fish such as northern pike will be added by the WDNR as part of their restocking procedures.
Planned Dredge Areas
Week of January 31, 2022
Work Schedule for week of January 31-February 5
- No work scheduled for Monday or Tuesday due to warm temperatures and snow.
- Wednesday - Saturday - 24 hours
- Saturday work to finish by 7pm
*All work is dependent on weather and the worksite conditions.
Construction crews will continue to lay down matting on the lake bed to prep for dredging. Due to a few wet areas, mats have been put in a variety of places along the dredging area on Cravath. Dredging will start as soon as enough frost builds up in the ground along the dredging area to allow for work to commence. Once dredging starts, the hope is to work around the clock including some potential weekends in the near future. Dredged material will be removed through Cravath Lake Front Park boat launch area.
Week of January 24, 2022
- Wednesday - Friday - 7am - 7pm - anticipate hauling in and out of Tripp Lake (weather dependent)
The first week of the dredging process was to prep the lakes and has been weather dependent. This week, in order to safely drive the hauling trucks and machinery on the lakes, the ground must have at least 18 inches of frost. Because of the cold weather we have been experiencing, we are very close to hitting that number and anticipate hauling trucks on the lake later this week. Crews may work later into the evening to benefit from the colder weather. If the ground has not frosted over enough to safely drive on, mats will be laid out for clearing and building additional routes. Tripp lake is freezing quicker than Cravath allowing for crews to work on Tripp this week and plan to begin working on hauling routes on Cravath in the upcoming week.
Week of January 17, 2022
Work Schedule for week of January 17-21
- Monday & Tuesday 7am – 7pm
- Wednesday - Friday morning 24 hours
- Friday work to finish by 7pm
Prep Week! This week the contractor will be setting the stage for dredging. This includes laying out the wood matting as well as skinning off the snow and vegetation to allow for more frost to set into the lake bed. Our contractor will be working through the night Wednesday and Thursday to remove as much snow and vegetation from the lake bed surface. The colder temperatures through the later part of the week and weekend will allow for frost to work its way down creating a good base to work on. This will reduce the amount of matting needed to perform the project.
January 14, 2022- Lakes Dredging Project to Begin Monday, January 17, 2022
The dredging portion of the lakes project will begin on Monday, January 17, 2022. The City of Whitewater has contracted with A-1 Construction to perform the work. A-1 will have two teams (one for each lake) begin preparing next week with the hopes of starting to dredge material by the following week. The project is scheduled to take place over the next 5-6 weeks weather permitting. Construction work will be performed Monday through Friday from 7am - 7pm. The project sites at Cravath Lakefront Park and Trippe Lake Park will require the parking lot areas to be closed during this time. The dredged material will be stockpiled at our designated deposit sites. The plan is to create a navigation channel through the lakes and dredge around the park waterfront areas. The city received its permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to remove up to 81,000 cubic yards of material from the lakes. The lakes will remain drawn down through this process and are scheduled to be filled back starting June 10, 2022.
January 12, 2022- City Signs Dredging Contract with A1 Excavating and Stout Construction
Staff worked with A1 Excavating and their subcontractor, Stout Construction to finalize a contract for services on Wednesday. The arrangement will allow Stout Construction to get started on the project within the coming week.
•The Lakes Drawdown and Dredge Project that began on July 8,2019 with the drawing down of the lakes has been extended another year. After the first season of the drawdown Cravath Lake has been fully drawn down.
•To help with the drawdown of Trippe Lake, siphons were added over the spillway in the summer of 2020. This allowed the continuous drawing down of the lake over the past year.
•Both lakes have been drawn down as of August 2021.
•The dredging phase of the project is scheduled to begin January of 2022. Both lakes will be drawn down through this entire process and are scheduled to be refilled in the spring of 2022. The hope is to improve water quality and depth, reduce aquatic vegetation and eliminate certain invasive aquatic plant species. Please follow our website www.whitewater-wi.gov for more information as this exciting project begins.
•Lakes remain drawdown in 2021
•Apply for all needed permits September 2021
•Potential bidding for dredging Fall of 2021
•Potential controlled burn for emergent vegetation November 2021
•Dredging (mechanical) potentially in the Winter of 2021-22
•Potential controlled burn for emergent vegetation April of 2022
•Allow lakes to refill June of 2022
Update Video 8-17-21
Drawdown Time frame
Approximate Dredging Volume and Cost
Week of July 8, 2019
Cravath Lake Drawdown Update July 26, 2019. Tripp Lake planned to start in early August.
- Why don’t they just deposit the dredged material on the farm fields close by the lake?
- I noticed the contractor was not working during the hours that were listed as what would be worked this past week?
- Why are they not dredging the whole lake area?
- The mats or timbers on the lake bed don’t follow all the way down the lake. Does this mean they will not dredge all the way down to the south end?
- How much frost is in the ground and how much is needed to work on the lake project?
- How long will it take to complete the project?
- What is a lake drawdown?
- What are our personal dredging options during the drawdown? Are there any exemptions? Can I remove any material without a permit?
- Why would the City of Whitewater do a lake drawdown?
- When will the drawdown begin and how fast will it go down?
- Is there concern about how long it will take to fill back up?
- What will happen to the fish and other wildlife in the lake?
- Is there a list of contractors providing shoreline work?
- Can we remove trash from the exposed bed? Can we remove material such as broken glass?
- Can we use this opportunity to add pea gravel?
- Can we remove large boulders/rocks?
- Can I replace or repair my rip rap?
- Can I put in new rip rap? If not, what are other options other than rip rap for shore stabilization? What if I need rip rap to protect from man-made waves (boat traffic)?
- Will the starry stonewort be sent downstream during the drawdown?
- Will I be able to walk on the lake bottom?
- Will the boat launches be open this Fall, Winter, Spring?
- Can I remove the plants from the bottom of the lake in front of my house?
- What plants or algae will die during the freeze and which will come back next spring/summer?
- This year there was all this green stuff floating on the water over the past few weeks, what is that and will it go away next year?
- I’m losing 2 seasons of my lake use; will this really work?
DNR Contact Information
General Inquiries: DNR Waterway and Wetland
Call Intake Team Email: DNRWMSPublicInquiry@wisconsin.gov
Phone: (608) 267-3125
Project Specific/Technical Inquiries:
Walworth County Water Management Specialist
Phone: (262) 282-4740
DNR Waterway Main Webpage: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Waterways/