Following weeks of heavy rainfall that has caused Lake of the Ozarks water levels to rise “dramatically,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has directed the Missouri Department of Public Safety and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to institute a “no-wake policy” at the Lake of the Ozarks, effective immediately. The news was announced in a press release from the governor’s office earlier today. Officials expect that by Saturday releases from Bagnell Dam will take the lake level below 661 feet so that the order can be lifted.
Officials expect that by Saturday releases from Bagnell Dam will take the lake level below 661 feet so that the order can be lifted. Photo courtesy Brett Manire/Performance Boat Center.
“The timing of these storms and the high water level coincides with one of the busiest weekends of the year, and we know there will be many boats out on the lake,” Governor Nixon said in the release. “This is already a weekend when there will be an increased presence of the Patrol on the lake to help protect people who use and enjoy it.”
The order, which covers the entire lake, means that all boats will need to operate at idle speed because of the increased risk of damage to docks, boats and shoreline from large wakes from boats. The Governor said that the current high water level at the Lake of the Ozarks—above full pool—puts people and property at greater risk from boat wakes.
“Responsible boaters are well aware of the damage that large wakes can wreak, and do what they can to minimize that damage,” he said. “With the current lake conditions, it is imperative that everyone use idle speeds. We want people to have fun, but to be very aware of wake impact while the lake is so high.”
The state continues to operate under the State of Emergency issued by the Governor last month and Governor Nixon said his office and state emergency officials would continue to monitor water levels. As of this morning, the Lake was above full pool and is expected to crest at 663 feet. Through continued releases from the dam, Ameren Missouri—the utility company that owns and operates Bagnell Dam and is responsible for maintaining water levels on the Lake of the Ozarks—is working to get that level below 661 feet.