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Bagnell Dam spill gates expected to open this week

The Army Corps of Engineers is planning on opening the spill gates at Bagnell Dam to release water in an effort to avoid additional flooding on the Missouri River. The gates could be opened as soon as Monday.

According to a press release, several reservoirs, including Truman Reservoir, are now nearly full and have started discharging water. That, along with the Lake of the Ozarks being near its maximum level, is why the Corps of Engineers has decided to open the spill gates.

Osage Plant Manager, Phillip Thompson, says Ameren coordinates closely with the Corps of Engineers to open the gates.

“Right now, the Corps of Engineers has stored up a lot of water in flood storage, and we’re really trying to release that water out of flood storage so that they can get ready for the next round of rains,” he said.

The release would send more water down the Osage River which is already experiencing flooding. Ameren is advising property owners along the lower Osage River and on Lake of the Ozarks to move vehicles, farm equipment and livestock on low-lying ground to higher areas.

Residents of Lake of the Ozarks should consider turning off electricity to their docks, and should be on the lookout for debris in the lake.

According to Ameren, the lake above the 65 mile marker could rise as high as 668 feet.

The release at Bagnell Dam will match the release at Truman Dam.

“The travel time is relatively short from Harry S. Truman Dam to Bagnell Dam. It’s only about six hours,” Thompson said.

Tammy Eidson owns Camp Bagnell Fish and Steak. She is concerned that if the gates are opened, it could flood the campground.

She said the announcement of the release alone has had a negative impact on business. This weekend, two campers left the campground early because they did not want to risk running into flooding.

Eidson said despite the release announcement the campground plans on staying open.

Bob Schwartz is a sales representative at the lake. He plans events and works at a local business just down the road from the dam.

He is less worried about the impact on business, especially after other extreme weather events like the tornadoes in Jefferson City and Eldon.

“It has hurt us some but I think what’s happened now with what people have been through, they’re wanting to get and the tourism and the traffic’s definitely picked up at the lake,” Schwartz said.

Ameren will meet with the Corps of Engineers early Monday morning to decide whether to release water.

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