Dredging up the lake


Dauntae Green

This is Trippe Lake during the drawdown process that the Stout Construction was doing.

Dauntae Green, Managing Editor

Since July 2019, the city of Whitewater has been draining the Whitewater lakes, Tripp and Cravath, in hopes of eradicating invasive species by freezing out the unwanted pests, bringing back navigation channels and improving the health of the lake’s ecosystem. Now they have begun the dredging process after many weeks of preparation through controlled burning, skimming snow and vegetation, and laying wood matting. Stout Construction has begun the dredging process through excavating the ground, even working at night when the weather is below freezing. 

The Walworth County Lakes Association hosted a meeting to discuss the years-long process with the community Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. in Starin Park.

The trucks at Trippe Lake hauled ¾ to full loads of sediments off the bottom of the lake while trucks at Cravath Lake were only able to haul about ½ full loads. Trippe Lake has better conditions than Cravath Lake. Although sunny weather might be welcome to others it does not help the crew in keeping the frozen surface conditions. The crew has to stop the process when the weather rises in order to keep the equipment from sinking into the ground. 

The City of Whitewater Parks and Recreation has been working with the contractors on Trippe and Cravath Lake through updating the public on their progress with the drawdowns and future plans. 

“From back last month in January, we started the dredging process by getting the wood mats down. February here, these last two weeks, this is where we started the process of dredging, and draining the area. For the next couple of weeks, we will be doing restoration work on the plants by burning them. And there are spores in an area of Trippe Lake, it looks like a mess, there’s no way to get to it, especially the trucks won’t be able to get access to it. But we will figure it out eventually. Hopefully we can take it somewhere to an area for it to be piled up at one of our shelters,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Boettcher. 

Back in 2017, the lake was very clear, and had hardly any vegetation covering the lake where there wasn’t much clean water. By 2020 and 2021 it became a lake with just a stream without vegetation while surrounding the whole area but with overgrown vegetation. 

“This project started in 2017, you can see that it was clear but slowly vegetation was growing. By 2019 the Cravath was getting drawn down, then work on Trippe Lake wasn’t going so well, we had to add siphons the following year to help drain. In 2021, both lakes were drawn down, and on January 12th we started the dredging process. We have overgrowth of vegetation that can be harmful to the community, the lakes, we discussed with the DNR to do options on how to eliminate the invasive species, and we planned it out in 2019. We had it planned to draw down by 2021, the Cravath and Trippe Lake has become a stream, at Trippe there’s an overgrowth of vegetation, we have done some removal and restoration with fire. We also used siphons to draw water out of the lake, we had to get approval for a dredging permit for the lakes, and we started the process,” said Boettcher.

The crews have been working night and day excavating the lake in preparation for the dredging phase. Whitewater is one step closer to getting its beloved lakes back. 

If you interested in keeping up with the lake dredging process, visit https://www.whitewater-wi.gov/520/Lakes-Drawdown-Updates for weekly updates. 

Parks and Recreation Director Eric Boettcher updates the community and the Walworth County Lakes Association on how the drawdown and dredging process is going for Trippe Lake and Cravath Lake. (Dauntae Green)