Truesdale Lake  

South Salem, New York

Lake Drawdown


Related past article links:

2019 Update

Why drawdown the lake?

The main benefit of a drawdown is weed control: the exposed lake bottom will compact, desiccate over time, and freeze, thus killing off the weed roots and tubers.

Drawdown will also compact the shoreline soil reducing the “muck” in some places — and increase the usable depth of the lake.

A drawdown will also allow homeowners on the lakefront to:

  • clean up any debris, branches, leaves, or trash that may become visible once the lake bottom is exposed,
  • cut invasive phragmites on the waters edge,
  • make repairs to walls and docks (in kind repairs generally don’t need permits, but check with town wetland consultant before undertaking anything big to avoid potential fines),
  • begin new construction projects (seawall, dock, others?)
    • All new docks on the lake require DOCK COMMITTEE APRROVAL,
    • plus all projects in the wetland buffer require PROPER TOWN WETLAND and PROPER TOWN BUILDING PERMITS).
Truesdale Lake Watershed:
~2380 acres  ⁄  Lake size ~83 acres = 23:1 ratio.

Truesdale Lake Watershed (~2380 acres)

Diagram of siphons

[Historic Information below from first drawdown attempt]


Greetings! This is to let you know that plans are in place for Pond and Lake Connection (the company that has managed Truesdale Lake weed and algae control for the past two years) to commence work on the Truesdale Lake drawdown for 2018. They will install the necessary pipes and pumps in early October. The actual drawdown will take place between October 15 – December 1, 2018. It is estimated that by the time that the drawdown is complete, the lake will be 2 – 3 feet lower than its usual winter height. Riparian homeowners will have a chance to rake out the areas in front of their homes, or to work on stone walls or docks.

Click to view some Frequently Asked Questions about our drawdown.

Click for more information about drawdowns from the lake manager handbook.

Presentation on how the Truesdale Lake Planning Group came to recommend drawdown.

Once the drawdown is in place, the lake will be kept at that height until February 1, 2019. This will provide time for the lake bottom to compress, and also for (hopefully) cold winter weather to freeze exposed weeds.

Beginning on or about February 1, 2019, the drawdown will end and the lake will begin to refill. Given historical records, it is anticipated that the lake will be back to its usual height by about May 1, 2019.

Obviously, the exact timing of the drawdown and all of these plans will be weather dependent.

We will provide updates about the Truesdale Lake Drawdown from time to time as there is information to report via Next Door, the Truesdale Lake email list and posting to

Lake Drawdown Do’s and Don’ts


  • Remove or untether your docks if necessary before the drawdown begins on October 15
  • Clean up the area exposed by the lower water level and remove branches, fallen trees or other debris


  • An Excavation/Fill in Navigable Waters permit is required from the NYS DEC for any excavation or fill below Mean High Water (MHW)
  • The MWH is the level of the lake at its highest in the summer – not the level where the water will be after it is drawn down
  • The DEC can impose fines as high as $1500/day on any work done in the lake without a permit.