Bull Shoals Lake

New Gate System Installed at Powersite Dam

Posted by Phil Lilley on November 10th, 2011
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Lake Taneycomo’s lake level has been low for the past 3 weeks.  Why?  Well it wasn’t because of low lake levels in Table Rock or Beaver Lakes.

Empire Electric installed a set system on the top of Powersite Dam this month, eliminating the plywood boards that had used since in dam was built in 1909.  These boards spanned the top of the spillway part of Powersite, holding back Taneycomo and adding 4 feet additional depth to our lake.  The boards are removed during an extreme high water event when Corp and Empire officials are required to move more water through the lake system.

In the past, a pin was pulled by heavy machinery and the boards fall into Bull Shoals, allowing Table Rock Dam to release that much more water without raising Taneycomo’s level to flood levels.  Of course, this past spring the area received so much rain that lake levels were higher than any other time since the dams were constructed above Powersite Dam.

Each time the boards at Powersite need reinstalled or repaired, Lake Taneycomo’s level has to be dropped about 4 feet.  When this happens it exposes vast gravel areas which are normally underwater in the upper 3 miles of the lake and does damage to the bug population as well as the sculpin population, both part of the food base for trout in Taneycomo.  To keep this from happening, the Corp runs a little less than one unit (30-50 mw) while at the same time Powersite pulls the same amount of water through it’s turbines.  The gravel bars in the upper end of the lake are kept underwater and the lake level at Powersite stays low enough for workers to work on the boards.

When lake levels are back to normal, the plywood wall is reinstalled until the next high water event.  This system replaces the boards so that the new gates can be dropped to allow more water through if needed instead of removing boards.

Missouri Department of Conservation took advantage of this low water to place boulders as fish habitat just below Table Rock Dam.

The next 3 images were taken at the beginning of the work at Powersite Dam.  The top of the dam is being prepared for the new gates.

The following images were taken the day before the lake was brought back up to normal levels, at the completion of the project.

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