top of page

PRINCETON DAM UPDATES

In early May 2023, the DNR implemented a seasonal gate operation strategy plan for the Princeton Dam. The current plan is set to run from May 2023 through June 2026. Please see the bottom of this page for a full copy of the Princeton Dam Operation Plan. Below you will find current updates regarding gates, flow, and other pertinent information to the Princeton Dam.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Friday, February 9, 2024

Subject: Early February Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings


Update:  I went past the dam yesterday afternoon, and even with both gates open the level still read about 8.1.  Flow seems to be fairly constant – my theory is that the snow melt has been consistent and that is reflected in the flow.


Now that the snow is gone, and I don’t see any precipitation in the forecast, we may see flow start to diminish.  I will monitor over the weekend.  If it does not start to trend down, we will contemplate a gate opening for later in the week of the 12th.


I anticipate updating you on Tuesday.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Subject: Early February Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

Hello LPPRD Board,

I did have someone visit the dam on Wednesday  1/31/24 and the staff gage at the dam read 8.1 feet.  One gate was already open, and we opened a second gate halfway, to bring the total openings to one and a half gates.

Today I had him check again, and the gage read 8.2, so we opened the partially opened gate all the way, so now two gates are fully open.


I will be through the area on Thursday and will check the reading then, to see how levels reacted to the adjustment.  I anticipate it will read about 7.85 but I want to verify.  I will give you another update then, and some projection of anticipated operation in the coming weeks.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________


From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Subject: Christmas/New Year's Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

I did watch the river gage after Christmas and it generally held steady, then when we started to get some ice it seemed to read funny and I think it was out of commission for a while.  It seemed to get back on line last week and appeared to be steadily rising, but that didn’t jive with what we were seeing at Buffalo Lk and what the gage further downstream at Berlin was showing (relatively steady in both cases, despite some rain and melt).  Also the USGS is not calculating flow values for the Princeton gage right now, so I didn’t have much to go on.


So I have been trying to get someone to take a direct reading at Princeton Dam for me,, and finally succeeded today.  Lance went by there after going to Buffalo Lake, and the reading he got at Princeton was 8.0.  Currently only the one gate is open.  Based on my methods for determining flow at the dam, I’d estimate flow at 750 CFS right now.


This level at the gage and this flow rate (which I expect to be sustained for a bit, until snowmelt ceases) would indicate a second gate should be opened.  I’m going to arrange for someone to visit the dam later in the week, check the gage, and if it’s still up there probably open a gate.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Friday, December 22, 2023

Subject: Christmas/New Year's Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

DNR staff visited the Princeton Dam on Thursday, December 21, to verify levels.  At that time, the staff gage level read approximately 7.8, with one gate open and a flow of 556 CFS.  Over the 14 days, flows have basically held steady. 


Looking to the week ahead it appears that we will be getting some precipitation around Christmas Day, with totals perhaps up to an inch of rain.  This will increase flow rates to some degree.  Rather than attempting to make a prediction, I will monitor flows once the rain event passes, and then make recommendation as to gate setting after getting a better idea of the effect of the precipitation.


If gate adjustments are warranted, it will be done as soon as can be managed; however, most staff are off for the holiday week and adjustments may need to wait until after the new year.


I plan on reporting again to you just after Christmas.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Monday, December 11, 2023

Subject: Mid-December Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

Hello LPPRD Board,

As previously reported, the setting at Princeton Dam was modified from 2 gates open to 1 gate open right around Thanksgiving, due to levels near to 7.3.  Since then, DNR staff have been monitoring flows at the USGS gage.  Over the last week and a half, flows have risen gradually but steadily from 514 CFS on 12/1 to 593 CFS on 12/10, likely due to intermittent precipitation (approx. 1/3rd of an inch in the week after Thanksgiving, and a similar amount last week) and warm temps.  

DNR staff visited the Princeton Dam on Thursday, December 7, to verify levels.  At that time, the staff gage level read 7.79, with one gate open and a flow of 578 CFS. 

Looking to the week ahead it appears that we will be getting drier and colder weather, and we may see diminished flow rates. Being mindful that we witnessed a level of 7.3 with flows at 545 CFS and two gates open in mid-November, it appears that if flows diminish much from where we are today, opening a second gate would put levels at or below 7.3.

Therefore, at this time, we will keep a single gate open and monitor how flows react this week.  I plan on reporting again to you early in the week of the 18th.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Friday, November 24, 2023

Subject: End November/Begin December Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

Hello LPPRD Board,

DNR staff had been monitoring flows at the USGS gage from late last week to earlier this week, in order to track flow recession in the river system.  On Friday 11/17, the average flow for Friday 11/17 measured by USGS was 585 CFS and on Monday 11/20 it was 545 CFS.  These flows start to approach the 7.3 staff gage level with two gates open.

DNR staff visited the Princeton Dam on Tuesday, November 21 to verify levels.  At that time, the staff gage level read 7.3.  With the expected diminishment of flows due to continuing and forecasted lack of precipitation, levels would likely drop below 7.3 if both gates remained open.  Therefore, we are in the process of closing one gate and intending to leave only a single gate open.  One gate was partially closed (in order to not suddenly significant diminish downstream flow) on Wednesday 11/22, and it will be closed completely early in the week of 11/27.

It is likely that the one-gate-open setting will be maintained until we get liquid precipitation; lower temperatures and the freezing of lake and ground are likely to diminish flows as well.  I will be monitoring the flow gage, and will let you know if anything changes.  I plan on reporting to you again in 2 weeks, on December 7.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Friday, November 10, 2023

Subject: Mid-November Update: Princeton Dam Gate Settings

Hello LPPRD Board,

As indicated in my email on 10/27, DNR staff visited the Princeton Dam on Wednesday, November 1.  At that time, the staff gage level read 8.38 so two gates were opened.  On Monday, November 6, DNR staff checked the staff gage and it read 7.75; on that date the flow measured by USGS was 748 CFS.

Currently the flow is approximately 700 CFS, and is likely to subside somewhat in the coming week as little precipitation is in the forecast.  Opening a third gate would likely lower the gage reading to below 7.3, so DNR will refrain from any additional openings at this time.

I will be monitoring the flow gage, and will let you know if anything changes.  I will give you another update around Thanksgiving that will discuss the anticipated forecast for December.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Monday, Uriah - DNR

Sent: Friday, October 27, 2023

Subject: Anticipated November Princeton Dam Gate Settings

Hello LPPRD Board,

Heading into November marks the beginning of the winter gate setting season.  Next week DNR staff will make a gate adjustment – either one or two, gates will be opened, and then levels will be monitored.  An additional adjustment will be made the following week as warranted.

The operation plan indicates 3 gates open from November to March, unless levels would get out of certain low or high level boundaries.  Flows in the river have increased somewhat recently, but may not be sufficient enough to keep 3 gates open without dropping levels to below 7.3.  So for the near term, it may be that only two gates ultimately are opened.  We will have to see what transpires after the initial move.  I will update you all again around mid -November.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Princeton Dam: About
bottom of page