Opportunity for lakefront homeowners to do maintenance Greenwood Lake It happens every four years and 2011-12 is one of those years. There will be a drawdown of Greenwood Lake starting Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. What that means to folks who live on the lake is they must get all of their lake equipment - floating docks, boats, swim rafts - out of the water six weeks earlier than they normally do. According to Steve DeFeo of the Greenwood Lake Commission, there is a dam in Hewitt, N.J., that is used to control the water in Greenwood Lake. The New jersey Parks and Forestry Department will open the gates in the dam on Tuesday, letting out 131 millions of gallons of water per day, as per the State of New Jersey Water Level Management Plan. However, this year and last were two of the wettest years in the area. This year there's been 60 inches of rain over Greenwood Lake. DeFeo said each inch of rain is equal to a three inch rise in the lake level. "There are 111 million gallons of water going over the top of the dam already," said DeFeo. Opening the gates at the dam will allow an additional 20 million gallons each day. The drawdown will continue through Feb. 12, 2012, keeping the level of the lake five feet below the top of the dam. DeFeo said some residents at the more shallow parts of the lake will see the lake bottom, like those in the arms of the lake in New York. When the ice starts to melt, water will gradually be allowed into the lake, bringing it back up to its normal level. That won't happen until the ice melts though. "If ice moves around, it can cause damage to the shoreline," DeFeo said, adding that when ice starts to thaw, it expands and can damage bulkheads and even lift docks out of the water. Drawing down or lowering the lake is done primarily to help control plant life in the lake. Exposing the plants to the cold winter weather causes them to freeze and die off or at least stunt the growth of the weeds, slowing down the growth process, DeFeo added. This is also an opportunity for homeowners on the lake to catch up on some maintenance due to the lowered level of water in the lake and around the shore line properties. Dock maintenance Check for sound structure. All bolts, fasteners, and nuts . Inspect connections to shoreline Wooden, metal, and plastic surfaces should all be in safe condition Dock cleaning Use lake-friendly cleaners Olive oil and white vinegar for stains and mineral salts. Baking soda for oil stains and aluminum and steel attachments. Avoid pressure washers because they create waste and transfer pollutants to lake. Billet replacement Replace Styrofoam with polyethylene-encased billets Bulk heads and retaining wall Make sure to get all applicable permits before beginning any work. Creosote-treated wood is not safe for the lake. Use lake-friendly materials that last longer. Angle slope away from water. Source: Greenwood Lake Commission For additional information, call 845-477-2887.