New Rochelle is fortunate to have several beautiful lakes, many of which serve as attractive focal points for neighborhoods. In some cases, however, the lakes require aesthetic or environmental improvements. Following is an update on the status of three lakes in our city:

Beechmont Lake: Beechmont Lake has silted up significantly over the years, so much so that mud breaks the Lake’s surface at its northern end. Beechmont Lake’s capacity to play a flood control function for downstream areas has also been compromised by its decreasing depth. To address these problems, the City plans to repair a recently discovered and previously undocumented draw-down valve, which will, in turn permit partial draining of the Lake to increase capacity in advance of flood events and to facilitate easier cleaning of the Lake bottom. In addition, the forebay at the upper end of the lake will be thoroughly cleaned in order to create an area where suspended solids can settle out of the water column and not enter the Lake itself. Our Public Works staff will submit a permit for this project to the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation in a few weeks. We estimate six months for the permit process to be completed and hope to commence the work next Spring.

Paine Lake: As residents of Paine Heights and Wykagyl Park know well, Paine Lake became badly overgrown this Summer with lily pads that almost completely conceal the water’s surface. While the lilies do not pose any environmental hazard (indeed, they filter the water and improve its quality), they certainly have a negative visual impact. Unfortunately, simply cutting away the pads is likely to be ineffective, since they grow back almost immediately. The City, therefore, is considering three options: (1) use of an environmentally-sensitive herbicide, currently being researched, (2) cutting the lilies at their roots at the Lake bottom, which will require special equipment, or (3) engaging County environmental experts to develop an ongoing maintenance plan that will selectively pare back the lilies on a regular basis. One way or another, the problem will be confronted and corrected next Spring.

Carpenter’s Pond and the Sheldrake: The Sheldrake Drainage Basin covers some 20% of the City’s land area, as well as a large portion of the Town of Mamaroneck. The County of Westchester recently received a grant for improvements throughout this area. Planned enhancements in New Rochelle include water quality improvements at Carpenter’s Pond, stream bank stabilization between Dickerman’s Pond and Sheldrake Lake, and a five-year monitoring program following the project’s completion. The City’s contribution to this project is $231,500, which will leverage more than $2 million from the State, County, and Town of Mamaroneck.