BRANSON, Mo. – Just a few months removed from widespread flooding and record rainfall, many of the lake levels in the Ozarks are below normal.
The US Army Corps of Engineers says area lakes are five to ten feet below where they should be this time of year.
“There’s a lot of new people to our area and they’re concerned when they see all that shoreline,” says State Park Marina general manager, Mitch Schupp, “and there’s probably not a lot of information out there.”
Schupp, who has been with the marina for 20-years, says the seemingly drastic change to the shoreline on Table Rock Lake isn’t causing concern.
“This is pretty normal,” he says.
“I think the difference is, since 2008, we’ve seen a lot of high water and now we’re back to normal levels,” Schupp says.
“We’ve actually been lower than we are today twice in the last 10-years and eight times in the past 20 [years],” says Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger, Leah Deeds.
Deeds says the lack of rain and need for hydroelectricity during the winter months has dropped Table Rock Lake about eight feet below the top of conservation pool.
However, she says, there’s still some 25-feet of leeway that can be used for power generation if needed.
“The big thing is with these nice days, people are going to be itching to get out on their boats,” she says.
“Wear your life jackets, watch out for obstacles, pay attention to changes in water color,” Deeds says. ““If you see a light colored patch that’s probably a shallow area.”
Docks owners will also want to take note of the lowered levels but most marinas are well ahead of the game.
“We just let the docks out a little bit,” says Schupp. “We’re anchored for it, we’re ready to go for it and we have plenty of gain weight to accommodate that.”
“We’ve seen this before,” he says. “It’s nothing scary, it’s nothing abnormal and it will go back up.”