Lakes Drawdown Updates

In an effort to freeze out invasive species, restore navigation channels, and improve overall health within the lakes, the City of Whitewater began the process of draining Tripp and Cravath Lakes in July 2019. Originally planned to last 24 months over three calendar years, the project was extended an additional year to ensure the maximum amount of lakebed exposure for freezing and/or dredging. Check the updates provided below to better understand the project and current status.

Take a look at the updated Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the page to help answer some of your current questions. 

Check out the Spectrum News story on our lake restoration! 

Cravath & Tripp Lakes Changes 2019 through 2021

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Update Timeline- Choose the date tab to learn what happened during that month.

  1. March 2022
  2. Feb 2022
  3. July 2022

March 8, 2022

Cravath Drawdown 1 3-8-22

  1. Jan 2022

Planned Dredge Areas

Planned Dredge Areas 11-02-21

Week of January 31, 2022

Work Schedule for week of January 31-February 5

  • No work scheduled for Monday or Tuesday due to warm temperatures and snow.
  • Wednesday - Saturday - 24 hours
  • Saturday work to finish by 7pm

*All work is dependent on weather and the worksite conditions. 

Cravath Lake

Construction crews will continue to lay down matting on the lake bed to prep for dredging. Due to a few wet areas, mats have been put in a variety of places along the dredging area on Cravath. Dredging will start as soon as enough frost builds up in the ground along the dredging area to allow for work to commence. Once dredging starts, the hope is to work around the clock including some potential weekends in the near future. Dredged material will be removed through Cravath Lake Front Park boat launch area.

Trippe Lake

Mats have been put into place and dredging should start on Wednesday, February 2. Construction crews plan to work around the clock to start dredging. Dredged material will be hauled through the Southeast directly to HWY 12 over by the new Kwik Trip. The images below were taken of Trippe Lake on January 28, 2022 to show the dredging area. 

Trippe Drawdown 1 1-28-22

Trippe Drawdown 2 1-28-22

Week of January 24, 2022

Work Schedule for week of January 24-28

  • Monday & Tuesday - 10a Monday through the evening as needed
  • Wednesday - Friday - 7am - 7pm - anticipate hauling in and out of Tripp Lake (weather dependent)

The first week of the dredging process was to prep the lakes and has been weather dependent. This week, in order to safely drive the hauling trucks and machinery on the lakes, the ground must have at least 18 inches of frost. Because of the cold weather we have been experiencing, we are very close to hitting that number and anticipate hauling trucks on the lake later this week. Crews may work later into the evening to benefit from the colder weather. If the ground has not frosted over enough to safely drive on, mats will be laid out for clearing and building additional routes. Tripp lake is freezing quicker than Cravath allowing for crews to work on Tripp this week and plan to begin working on hauling routes on Cravath in the upcoming week.

Week of January 17, 2022

Work Schedule for week of January 17-21

  • Monday & Tuesday 7am – 7pm
  • Wednesday - Friday morning 24 hours
  • Friday work to finish by 7pm

Prep Week! This week the contractor will be setting the stage for dredging. This includes laying out the wood matting as well as skinning off the snow and vegetation to allow for more frost to set into the lake bed. Our contractor will be working through the night Wednesday and Thursday to remove as much snow and vegetation from the lake bed surface. The colder temperatures through the later part of the week and weekend will allow for frost to work its way down creating a good base to work on. This will reduce the amount of matting needed to perform the project.

January 14, 2022- Lakes Dredging Project to Begin Monday, January 17, 2022

The dredging portion of the lakes project will begin on Monday, January 17, 2022. The City of Whitewater has contracted with A-1 Construction to perform the work. A-1 will have two teams (one for each lake) begin preparing next week with the hopes of starting to dredge material by the following week. The project is scheduled to take place over the next 5-6 weeks weather permitting. Construction work will be performed Monday through Friday from 7am - 7pm. The project sites at Cravath Lakefront Park and Trippe Lake Park will require the parking lot areas to be closed during this time. The dredged material will be stockpiled at our designated deposit sites. The plan is to create a navigation channel through the lakes and dredge around the park waterfront areas. The city received its permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to remove up to 81,000 cubic yards of material from the lakes. The lakes will remain drawn down through this process and are scheduled to be filled back starting June 10, 2022.  

January 12, 2022- City Signs Dredging Contract with A1 Excavating and Stout Construction

Staff worked with A1 Excavating and their subcontractor, Stout Construction to finalize a contract for services on Wednesday. The arrangement will allow Stout Construction to get started on the project within the coming week.

Stout Construction Dredging Contract (PDF)

  1. Dec 2021
  2. Oct 2021
  3. Aug 2021
  4. Feb 2021
  5. Jan 2021
  6. Jul 2020
  7. Feb 2020

December 17, 2021- Control Burn


*Update as of 12-16-21* Due to unfavorable weather the burn began ignition at 11am through 3pm Friday, December 17th through Wednesday, December 22nd with the exception of Sunday, December 19th.

Controlled Lake Burn Dec 2021Lakes Drawdown Burn Neighborhood Letter December 9, 2021 (PDF)

The areas highlighted in red (Cravath Lake) and purple (Tripp Lake) are the focus areas of the burn. Controlled burns aid in the lake rehabilitation process by reducing the amount of sediment that will settle in the lakes due to decaying vegetation once the lake is refilled. In areas designated for dredging, removal of the vegetation can also make the removal of lake sediment easier.

Burn Map 12-08-21

Burn Map 12-08-21

  1. Jan 2020
  2. Sep 2019
  3. Aug 2019
  4. Jul 2019
  5. Mar 2019
  6. Dec 2018
  7. Jul 2018

Lakes Drawdown and Dredging Project from DNR

  • The Lakes Drawdown and Dredge Project that began on July 8,2019 with the drawing down of the lakes has been extended another year. After the first season of the drawdown Cravath Lake has been fully drawn down. Trippe Lake will need another season of drawing down to get to the lowest level possible.  
  • To help with the drawdown of Trippe Lake, siphons were added over the spillway this past summer. Additional siphons will be added in spring of 2021. This will increase the flow out of the lake allowing the lake to continue drawing down over the next year.  
  • The dredging phase of the project is scheduled to take place the winter of 2021/2022.  Both lakes will be drawn down through this entire process and would be refilled in the spring of 2022. The hope is to improve water quality and depth, reduce aquatic vegetation and eliminate certain invasive aquatic plant species. Please follow our website for more information as this exciting project begins. 

Current Status of Lakes

  • Cravath Lake drawdown completed this past fall
  • Trippe Lake drawdown to continue through 2021

Drawdown Project Continues

  • Completed the removal of the rock ledge in Cravath Lake. (May 2020)
  • Siphon project for Trippe lake to continue drawdown. (July 27, 2020)
  • Planning for potential dredging for winter of 2021/2022 (Project bid scheduled for late October 2020)

Remaining Timeline

  • Lakes remain drawdown in 2021
  • Apply for all needed permits winter of 2021
  • Apply for a lake restoration grant in February 2022
  • Potential bidding for dredging 
  • Dredging (mechanical) potentially in the Winter of 2021-22
  • Potential controlled burn for emergent vegetation in the fall of 2021 or spring of 2022
  • Refill early to late spring of 2022

Shoreline Erosion Control Types

  • Riprap- WI DNR permit may not be required for proposed rock riprap shoreline erosion control projects. This includes the placement of new rock riprap, and also the repair and replacement of existing rock riprap. 
  • Biological Shore Erosion Control Structures- Examples include structures that are made up of biological materials; native grasses, trees, live stakes and posts, non -treated wood, mats, fiber rolls, etc. 

Dredging Permit Guidelines

  • No Permit required for less than 2 cubic yards total per year (about one small dump truck full)


  • General Permit- Small Scale Dredging (not exceeding 25 cubic yards)
  • Individual Permit- Lake or Stream Dredging Individual Permit Checklist (exceeds 25 cubic yards or does not meet other checklist requirements)

Timeline and Cost for Permits

  • General Permits- Have a 30-day turnaround and cost $303 
  • Individual Permits- Have a turnaround time of 45 to 90 days and cost $603

Resident Shoreline Projects Timeline

  • The City will be performing their dredging project over the winter of 2022. Residents who choose to do their own shoreline restoration and dredging projects will want to complete them by June 10, 2022. 
  • The City is scheduled to begin refilling both lakes starting June 14, 2022. The lakes will slowly refill depending on precipitation levels. 
  1. Why don’t they just deposit the dredged material on the farm fields close by the lake?
  2. I noticed the contractor was not working during the hours that were listed as what would be worked this past week?
  3. Why are they not dredging the whole lake area?
  4. The mats or timbers on the lake bed don’t follow all the way down the lake. Does this mean they will not dredge all the way down to the south end?
  5. How much frost is in the ground and how much is needed to work on the lake project?
  6. How long will it take to complete the project?
  7. What is a lake drawdown?
  8. What are our personal dredging options during the drawdown? Are there any exemptions? Can I remove any material without a permit?
  9. Why would the City of Whitewater do a lake drawdown?
  10. When will the drawdown begin and how fast will it go down?
  11. Is there concern about how long it will take to fill back up?
  12. What will happen to the fish and other wildlife in the lake?
  13. Is there a list of contractors providing shoreline work?
  14. Can we remove trash from the exposed bed? Can we remove material such as broken glass?
  15. Can we use this opportunity to add pea gravel?
  16. Can we remove large boulders/rocks?
  17. Can I replace or repair my rip rap?
  18. Can I put in new rip rap? If not, what are other options other than rip rap for shore stabilization? What if I need rip rap to protect from man-made waves (boat traffic)?
  19. Will the starry stonewort be sent downstream during the drawdown?
  20. Will I be able to walk on the lake bottom?
  21. Will the boat launches be open this Fall, Winter, Spring?
  22. Can I remove the plants from the bottom of the lake in front of my house?
  23. What plants or algae will die during the freeze and which will come back next spring/summer?
  24. This year there was all this green stuff floating on the water over the past few weeks, what is that and will it go away next year?
  25. I’m losing 2 seasons of my lake use; will this really work?
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