Wonder Why Lake Taneycomo is down?

Branson lakes are famous, and have been one of the leading tourist attractions in the area since the Powersite dam was completed in 1913, creating Lake Taneycomo. However since the 23rd, you might have noticed that Lake Taneycomo was much lower than usual. Wonder why?

The reason is simple - maintenance on the Powersite dam and an upgrade of the system that controls the level of Lake Taneycomo. Previously, the water level was controlled through a system of "flash boards" that are easily damaged in flood conditions (such as those we saw in 2008 & 2011), and that have to be removed periodically for maintenance.

To remedy this, on October 23rd, the Empire Electric Company began drawing down the level of the lake to an ultimate goal of having the lake be at a level of 696.50, which is 3.6 feet below the normal level experienced when the upstream Table Rock Dam is not generating power. Once the water hit this level on the 24th, work could begin on a new system.

First, crews will remove the old flashboards and support system, then grout and level the top of the existing dam. Once the dam itself is prepared, a new control system called an "Obermeyer Spillway Gate system" will be installed. This new system consists of curved steel panels supported on the back side by inflated air bladders. The pressure in the air bladders can be adjusted incrementally and on-the-fly to raise or lower the panels which in turn raises or lowers the lake level. Empire Electric expects the new system to lead to much finer control of lake levels while also being more flood and damage resistant.

Empire Electric officials have coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers which runs Table Rock Dam, and plan to keep Lake Taneycomo at a below normal level for 2-3 weeks until construction is complete. During that time they say the lake's primary activities of boating fishing will not be impaired, except for cautioning boaters to exercise caution near shorelines and to keep in mind that many boat ramps aren't designed to accomodate such low levels.

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