Lake drawdown to begin soon

In preparation for winter at the Lake of the Ozarks, Ameren Missouri is reminding property owners to winterize their docks to avoid damage from freezing water.

This is an important precaution to take as the utility company begins the winter drawdown process, dropping the lake's water level to about 654 feet above sea level to reduce the possibility of flooding during the spring. The company operates the Osage Energy Center at Bagnell Dam, utilizing the lake to generate electricity for customers.

"While lake levels have been lower than usual this fall due to drought conditions, we still anticipate the need to adjust levels throughout the winter to prepare for spring," said Travis Hart, director of Ameren Missouri's Hydro Operations, in a news release. "We want property owners to be aware that these fluctuations will occur periodically in the lake and Osage River, and that winterizing their docks can reduce the risk of damage from changing water levels as well as from ice."

Ameren Missouri also offers the following tips to help dock owners prepare for winter:

• Below the dam, remove docks from the Osage River before freezing occurs.

• Ensure that hinges, pins and other connections linking docks to seawalls or piers have the flexibility to follow water-level fluctuations.

• Lengthen cables to allow docks to drop as the lake or river levels drop.

• Use a dock deicer to help protect docks from ice damage, but be aware that a deicer may not provide protection from large ice sheets and blocks.

• Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the dock or retain a local dock builder or similar contractor to care for the property when the site is unoccupied.

Up-to-date information on lake water levels and river flows are available at, or by calling 573-365-9205.