Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Ack! What Happened to the Water in the Sheldrake Reservoir?

I am writing this email in hopes of obtaining some information about the dramatic drop in water level at Sheldrake reservoir.  In my 15 years as a resident, I cannot recall ever seeing so much water released from the lake.  Aside from the aesthetic detriment, I can only image the effect on the fish and wildlife this body of water supports.

Are you aware of what’s happening there?  Is there a rational, environmental reason for this drop?  I would greatly appreciate any information you might have.

Peter Carpenter
New Rochelle, NY

Editor’s Note: Mr. Carpenter isn’t the only one wondering where the water went. So many residents called or emailed Mamaroneck Town, that Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri issued the following letter:

July 2, 2010

Dear Sheldrake Lake Resident:

A number of residents living around the lake have contacted the Town about the extremely low water level. Why has this happened? Over the last year the Town, working in cooperation with the County of Westchester, has been planning for the dredging and restoration of the Gardens Lake which is part of the Sheldrake River Watershed. The purpose of the project is to improve the water quality in the lake and to develop the lake as a flood control basin to protect residents and property downstream of the Gardens Lake in the Village and Town of Mamaroneck. The Gardens Lake was last dredged in 1986.

In order to dredge the Gardens Lake we must drain virtually all of the water in the Gardens Lake to allow the dredging equipment to access the lake bottom. To divert the Sheldrake River waters from entering the Gardens Lake the level of the Sheldrake Lake has been lowered considerably to hold back the river water during the dredging process.

The contractor is expected to begin work the week of July 5, 2010, and the dredging component will be completed in sixty (60) days. During this period you may see the water level of the Sheldrake Lake rise depending upon the amount of rainfall this summer.

The Town regrets any inconvenience the lowering of the Sheldrake Lake has caused. Unfortunately, the summer is the most favorable season to dredge the Gardens Lake when precipitation levels are generally lower.

Very truly yours,

Stephen V. Altieri

Town Administrator

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7 comments to Ack! What Happened to the Water in the Sheldrake Reservoir?

  • Dana Dolan

    The current level at the reservoir is beyond what most wildlife might be expected to endure. I spent an hour last weekend watching the resident pair of ospreys fishing with no success. While I am sure the snapping turtles will survive, I doubt the fish whose nest sites are exposed in the now cement-hard mud will do as well. How sad that one environment must be compromised so another might be restored.

  • Peter Carpenter

    While I can appreciate the need to dredge the duck pond, I find the magnitude to which the water level at Sheldrake was dropped absolutely ridiculous. We would need a rain equivalent to what Noah experienced to threaten the current dredging operations. I wish the same overzealous gusto applied to removing water from the reservoir could be applied to reigning the increase in our school and property taxes!

  • j. stone

    I have to agree.I was fishing today at the lake and was horrified.I haven’t been to the lake in a year or so but have been fishing the upper and lower lakes since ’97 and have never seen the water level so low.Needless to say i did not catch any fish.I doubt they will rebound from this.

  • LarchGirl

    it is not the 17th – no indication that dredging has begun, but ramifications of low levels in the reservoir continue. Let’s face it, the “Duck Pond” was a WPA project in the first place. Why is dredging it now a priority?

  • Brian Griffin

    If you knew the cost of dredging the pond, and its impact on your tax rate, you’d probably wish it had been left to silt up and become a putting green.

  • ScaryTown!!

    Annnnnnnnnnd yet, when the floods hit and the people who have expanded their McMansions, or driveways or both, and the water has nowhere to go, that costly pond is worth its weight in gold, err gallons. Lets face it, the pond is a necessary catch basin for overrun storm water. Storm water that comes more and more. Yes, the day to day costs seem high, but when Mother Nature rears her ugly head, I’m sure you’re happy it’s there, especially if you live in this area.