State invites public to track ice-out dates
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is tracking Maine lake “ice-out” and invites the public to participate.
This annual effort helps boaters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts plan outdoor adventures on Maine lakes. Data is available for spring 2017 and for previous years on an Ice-Out webpage maintained by the department. The public can assist this effort by reporting ice-out dates for water bodies throughout the state.
Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed that collection of ice-out data available is greatly assisted by public participation. “The amount and accuracy of historical data collected as part of this annual effort is greatly enhanced by people that contact the department to report ice-out dates on individual lakes and waterways. By reporting current conditions and then recording traditional ice-out dates, it is possible to project ice-out dates. I encourage people to visit the department Ice-Out page and explore what is available.”
Although the winter of 2016/2017 has brought a lot of snow to most of Maine, lake ice conditions are considered to be normal or below normal in ice thickness. A heavy blanket of snow has covered most lakes since early December, insulating the ice and generally reducing ice quality and thickness, department officials said. Many areas that may typically see more than 4 feet of ice late in the season are currently covered by 24-30” of ice, and much of that is “soft” ice, meaning it is very porous. If the current weather pattern continues, lakes covered with ice should go out when they normally do.
The ice-out webpage is at www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/water_activities/boating/ice_out_dates.shtml. There visitors can find reports of current conditions, ice-out dates from past years and ongoing data for this spring.
To send an ice-out report, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the name of the water body, town(s) and the ice-out date. The information will be posted as soon as possible.
“Maine is open year-round for outdoor recreation,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Ice-out is a sure sign that spring is here and is eagerly awaited by boaters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Maine lakes and waterways..”