Lake of the Ozarks Dock owners should prepare for declining lake levels

By AmerenUE

Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 8:53 PM CST

LAKE OZARK, Mo. -- AmerenUE advises dock owners at Lake of the Ozarks that the annual winter lowering of the lake level will soon begin. The company reminds property owners that they should take appropriate measures to protect their docks from the lower water levels and other winter conditions that routinely occur at this time of year.

UE normally lowers the lake by several feet during the winter months to provide increased water storage capacity for flood control during the spring rainy season. Phil Thompson, superintendent of UE's Osage Power Plant at Bagnell Dam, says the annual lowering of the lake is expected to begin around Jan. 1, 2010, and reach a target seasonal low of about 654 feet (above sea level) by mid-February.

However, Thompson says lake elevations down to 651 feet—9 feet below full reservoir—are possible during the winter season. He adds that UE’s federal license permits the level to go as low as 645 feet in an emergency.

UE provides a recording of lake level information -- updated daily on weekdays -- at (573) 365-9205 (573) 365-9205 . In addition, hourly information is available on the Ameren Web site at: http://www.ameren.com/HydroElectric/Reports/Osage/HeadWaterTailWater.aspx.

To minimize the effects of lower lake levels and other winter conditions, UE offers the following tips for dock owners:
• Disconnect hinges linking docks and seawalls or piers to allow the entire structures to follow the water level down.
• Lengthen cables to permit docks to drop as the lake level drops.
• During any absences from the property, ask nearby neighbors to watch the dock or retain a local boat dealer or dock builder to care for the property during the winter season.
• Use “bubblers” or other anti-icing devices to help protect docks from ice damage.

UE reminds the public that water releases from Bagnell Dam into the Osage River can occur at any time. Prior to releases starting, a warning siren is sounded. These releases can result in swift currents and rapidly rising levels in the Osage River.

AmerenUE, founded in 1902, provides electric and gas service to approximately 1.2 million customers across central and eastern Missouri, including the greater St. Louis area. UE serves 57 Missouri counties and 500 towns. The company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. For more information, visit www.ameren.com.

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