Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mark Twain Lake Water Levels

Please read the following email that was sent out to the chammber members. If we all do a little we can make Mark Twain lake the best it can be!

To Mark Twain Lake Enthusiasts,
As most of you know, in 2008, after several record rain fall events, Mark Twain Lake reached a new record level of just over 640 feet above sealevel. This sent the dam into what is called an induced surcharge. The dam performed just as the engineers said it would. I'm sure that the men and women who designed Clarence Cannon Dam were very proud of themselves.Hopefully they are retired and watched it happen on the internet ortelevision, because it was quite scary around the lake. The results were alot of damage upstream and downstream of the dam. Downstream there was significant bank erosion, some of which will never be repaired andtremendous damage to the re regulation dam (that day use area will remainclosed until further notice). County roads, bridges, several homes, barnsand out buildings as well as thousands of acres of crops that could not beharvested were effected. Upstream the damage was more on the economicside. The lake was closed for seven days during prime vacation/boatingtime. We lost customers, some of which will never be back. The outcome wasthat 2008 was not a good year for anybody around the lake, upstream ordown. Couple that with down economy of 2009, which is carrying over to2010, could make 2008 the beginning of the end for many lake businessesand developments.
Yet, with all that bad, something good has come from 2008. The Corps of Engineers is working on a new water control manual on how to manage thewater levels at Mark Twain Lake. For the first time fish spawn has beenaddressed with specific lake levels. Obviously the benefit of fishing/recreation boating has opened the eyes of the regulators of MarkTwain Lake. This could be a milestone to all of the businesses, outdoor sportsman and many families whose livelihood benefit from the fishing industry that the lake has brought to our area. Unfortunately, the downstream interests have the numbers to have it removed unless we make significant comments on the plan. It should be known that the record lakelevels of 2008, and induced surcharge would have happened regardless ofthe fish spawn consideration in the new manual. The plan is attached.
The proposed manual would allow the Corps of Engineers to maintain the lake level from 606 to 610 from April 23-June 16. In the years that the lake does not go over 610, this plan should help the fish spawn. In the years that the lake does go over 610, little or no attention will be paidto fish spawn. I do believe that we should take what we can get. (I think we asked for 613 instead of 610 originally)
As far as the other parts of the plan, I think it will address most of theissues that affect both upstream and downstream interests. I would like to personally thank the Corps of Engineers for their efforts and opportunityto change the status quo at Mark Twain Lake.
We will need to make a strong presence to make sure that the fish spawn consideration doesn't end here. Please take the time to email or send aletter to the Corps of Engineers at the addresses below.
Thank you in advance,
Dennis Gill
Vice President,
Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce

send to:
Joan Stemler
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1222 Spruce St
St. Louis, MO 63103-2818

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