TABLE ROCK LAKE, Mo. – Some local lawmakers want to draw a line in the sand on how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulates the shoreline on Table Rock Lake.
The Corps is in the process of updating the lake’s 20-year-old Shoreline Management Plan. The official draft hasn’t been presented to the public but potential changes are already causing controversy.
“We feel the Corps has done an outstanding job with Table Rock Lake,” says Tri-Lakes Board Of Realtors president, Rob Robbins, “and that’s why it’s so beautiful. But we feel like the restrictions are pretty strict already,” he says.
Robbins says at recent focus groups — consisting of USACE representatives, community leaders, and business owners – several proposed changes were unveiled.
Those potential changes, Robbins says, included only issuing permits for private docks in the future and issuing future boat slips to individuals who live right on the water.
“We had over 900 people fill out a survey… in addition to those focus groups, addressing the different issues or concerns,” he says. “It’s like [USACE] didn’t listen to those.”
“They’re going to kill the values around this lake, for years and years,” says U.S. Congressman, Billy Long.
Long says Senator Roy Blunt shares his concerns. Long stated recently he would push for new legislation to prohibit changes to the shoreline if he feels the management plan is overreaching.
“The main concern is that the Corps has a history and a habit of not listening to constituents, my constituents, in the 7th district,” he says, “and that really needs to stop.”
The Corps, on the other hand, points to the last year, which has included public workshops, scoping projects, and focus groups.
USACE project manager, Dana Coburn, says the Corps is taking public comment into consideration and says any potential changes are far from finalized.
“We have a hard job in front of us,” Coburn says. “We as an agency, are tasked with taking care of a resource that has to be good for many generations to come.”
Coburn says next year several draft alternatives will be presented to the public and, once again, the public comments will be collected.
She says those comments will be added to the collaborative look at what is best for Table Rock Lake.
“Looking at financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and safety concerns,” she says, “…for the overall good and health of the lake.”
The draft alternatives are expected to be presented to the public in February.