Nixon Calls for ‘ No Wake’ Policy at Lake of Ozarks
July 3, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has implemented a “no-wake” policy at the Lake of the Ozarks after heavy rains raised the water levels.

Nixon on Thursday said that means boats must operate at idle speeds at the vacation hot spot, which likely will be busy because of Independence Day.

The announcement comes after heavy storms and rainfall caused the water levels to rise to more than 660 feet.

Nixon says a dam has been opened in an attempt to lower levels. He says the hope is to lift the no-wake policy on Saturday, but that depends on how effective floodgates are at releasing excess water.

Nixon warned that high wakes can damage docks, cause injuries and flood electronics, which also can lead to electrocution.

Ameren Says Some Lake Docks & Decks Can Stay
June 7, 2013

Lake dock(AP) — Ameren Missouri is recommending federal regulators allow 215 non-conforming decks, patios, gazebos and boathouses to remain standing at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The St. Louis-based power company announced the proposal Wednesday and called it a final step toward addressing encroachments at the central Missouri lake formed by the Bagnell Dam and Osage hydroelectric project. Jeff Green, the supervisor of Shoreline Management for Ameren Missouri, said it determined the structures have no effect on the purposes of the project or the ability to safely manage the Lake of the Ozarks.

“Our main goal during this process has been to work with property owners to successfully resolve issues related to the location of non-conforming structures within the project boundary,” Green said.

The 93-mile-long Lake of the Ozarks was created in 1931 and is about an hour southwest of the state Capitol. Permanent residences and second homes have been built on its shoreline. There has been recent controversy focused on the land near the lake – land within the hydroelectric project falls under the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Ameren Missouri submitted a shoreline management plan to federal regulators in 2008 and noted that some structures over time had been built on land that is part of the hydroelectric project. Regulators initially suggested buildings would need to be removed.

After public outcry, regulators directed Ameren in November 2011 to propose a redrawn boundary for the hydroelectric project. The federal commission also said its initial decision was focused on buildings constructed on Ameren’s property without the utility’s permission.

In June 2012, the federal commission approved – with minor changes – Ameren Missouri’s proposal to adjust its boundary, which removed about 28,000 acres and thereby shielded 1,500 homes and businesses. In addition, the utility was given a year to inventory and report plans for handling structures such as gazebos, piers, decks and boathouses that remained within the hydroelectric project.

Ameren Missouri said in its report filed Wednesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it counted more than 4,400 individual structures within the project boundary but determined most comply with allowed uses and permitting guidelines.

The power company said 215 of the structures cannot be permitted under the shoreline management plan for the lake or guidelines in place when they were constructed and requested approval from federal regulators to issue permits allowing the non-conforming structures.

Ameren Missouri said none of the non-conforming structures are inconsistent with resource plans for storm water pollution prevention, historic properties management and recreation enhancement. It said they have little impact on the shoreline environment and that removal could lead to bank destabilization, ground disturbance and removal of aquatic habitat.

New decks, patios and gazebos are not allowed within the hydroelectric project below the 662-foot elevation boundary.

Lake of the Ozarks Shoreline Dispute Settled
June 5, 2012

(AP) – Federal regulators have approved Ameren Missouri’s plans to reduce its boundary along the Lake of the Ozarks to exclude more than 1,500 homes and other structures.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Tuesday it approved Ameren’s proposal to remove unneeded land around the popular Missouri lake. Officials say no homes or businesses are included within the redrawn boundaries.

Ameren was given a year to report its plans for handling the gazebos, piers and other outbuildings that remain.

Numerous landowners at the lake have feared since last year that they could lose homes, patios and boathouses.

Ameren noted in a 2008 shoreline management plan that some structures have built been over time within the hydroelectric project’s boundaries. Federal regulators said last summer encroaching buildings should be removed in most cases.

Blunt & McCaskill Keep the Heat on for Lake of the Ozarks Settlement
November 25, 2011

From the St. louis Beacon via

It’s a power play over a power plant, a property dispute that has spilled over from the Lake of the Ozarks to the corridors of Capitol Hill.

The shoreline-property controversy involving Ameren Missouri and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has unleashed a hornet’s nest of political dissent in mid-Missouri, where the future of more than a thousand homes and condos had appeared to be in question.

Despite Ameren’s pledge last Friday to take a key step towards settling the property issue within months, Missouri’s U.S. senators say they still intend to pursue measures in Congress that aim to protect the lakeside property owners and explicitly require FERC to consider private property concerns in its future cases.

“We tried to build a fire under FERC, and I hope we have,” U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters. He said the Lake of the Ozarks dispute needs to be settled “sooner rather than later, and I will continue to keep the pressure on all parties involved.” The state’s senior senator, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had similarly blunt words, promising “to keep things moving in the right direction until this is resolved once and for all.”

McCaskill and Blunt (right) disagree on many issues, but they have worked in tandem to try to pressure FERC and Ameren to solve the property issue that came to the fore in July.

Both senators leaned on FERC to refine its original order, which it did on Nov. 10 — clarifying that it “has not required shoreline homes and structures with valid deeds, permits and easements to be removed.” Its new order directed Ameren to redraw the boundaries for its “shoreline management plan” by June 1.

Last Thursday, the senators met separately with Ameren Missouri chief executive Warner Baxter, arguing for a faster resolution for property owners at the lake. The following day, Ameren promised to speed up the revision of its shoreline boundaries, saying it planned to submit it to FERC “in the first quarter of 2012.”

“We understand the heightened concerns of affected property owners and others regarding this issue,” said Jeff Green, Ameren’s “shoreline supervisor.” Once that draft is finished, property owners and other stakeholders will have 30 days to comment, and Ameren will add those comments and send the new proposal to FERC. A FERC official said the commission’s review would likely be expedited, but set no time limit.

Both Blunt and McCaskill called Ameren’s faster timetable “a step in the right direction.” Blunt added that he would prefer that the utility file its revision soon in the first quarter, because FERC’s June deadline “is simply an unacceptable amount of time for Lake residents to wait.” McCaskill said in a statement that she would “continue listening to families and business leaders on the ground, and to keep things moving in the right direction until this is resolved once and for all.”


Blunt Moves to Restrict FERC in bid to Settle Lake Property Dispute
November 15, 2011

From the Missouri News Horizon:
Missouri Roy Blunt is pushing two measures aimed at resolving the battle between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Ameren utility and home owners and property owners at the Lake of the Ozarks.
FERC rejected a shore line management plan offered by Ameren. That rejection triggered a wave of concern about the future at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Last week, some Lake residents and Senator Claire seemed to be shifting the blame from FERC to Ameren.
FERC officials told some residents of the lake they were not interested in taking anyone’s lake property. FERC suggested the residents ought be asking questions of Ameren.
MNH reports on the two moves:

" One would direct Ameren Missouri to redraw the current boundaries of the lake to reflect water levels of the past 80 years. The new legislation would also limit FERC’s ability to reject property owner requests as long as power generation is maintained.

"This situation is ridiculous, and the people who call the Lake their home deserve a solution now – not next year," Blunt said. "That’s why this amendment would help protect current landowners from having their homes removed, and ensure that Ameren takes the proper steps to protect privately-held land from government infringement."

The second amendment would mandate FERC to take private land ownership into consideration when declaring project purposes. Currently, FERC can only recognize public recreational use of land within its project boundaries, but not private ownership.

"It’s outlandish that FERC places more value on protecting public recreation use of land over private ownership," said Blunt. "My amendment would ensure that private landowners are protected now and moving forward."

Both amendments will be included in the Energy and Water appropriations bills in the Senate’s version of the federal budget.