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Water Dropped Beneath Ice in Cedar Lake
Posted: 01/31/2013
NASHUA – The water level in Cedar Lake, northwest of Nashua in Chickasaw County, has dropped due to a break in a hydraulic hose on one of the seven gates in the dam.

“There is no danger to the dam or to people downstream of the dam,” said Jon Garton with the DNR’s dam safety program.

However, it is not safe to venture out on the ice.

“There’s dead air space between the water and the ice, so the loading capacity of the ice is weaker without the water to support it,” said Randy Schnoebelen, district law enforcement supervisor in north central Iowa. “Ice anglers and snowmobilers should avoid the lake.”  

The city estimates the water level has dropped at least one foot below the ice and continues to drop after the hose break occurred earlier this week. The city is working to fix the hose and the gate. However, the dam is on the Cedar River which has extremely low flows. It will take considerable time to refill the lake while maintaining adequate flow in the river downstream.  

Schnoebelen said the ice will eventually settle, but he recommends staying off it this season.

“Ice is never a uniform thickness and it freezes and thaws at different rates, so there will be a lot of cracks and weak spots in it,” he said.