The history of the Lake of the Ozarks foreshadowed possible issues
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The history of the Lake of the Ozarks foreshadowed possible issues

Date: November 2, 2009
By: Max Reiss and Rebecca Berg
State Capitol Bureau
Links: See the series on Sewage at the Lake

Intro:  In our last report on fecal contamination in Missouri's lakes, reporter Max Reiss described what it's like to live next a lake which is essentially unregulated by the state. In the second part of a 5 part series, Max tells us how the development of the Lake of the Ozarks over the past 60 years has played a vital role in encountering the controversy we see today.
RunTime:  2:18
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Lake of the Ozarks did not start out as a favorite vacation spot for Missouri families.

It started out as an energy source - not the center for controversy over E. coli that it is today.

Dwight Weaver authored several books about the Lake of the Ozarks. He says the lake got its current look pretty recently.

Actuality:  WEAVER1.WAV
Run Time:  00:10
Description: "We saw a lot of land development around the lake and it really began to transform the view of the lake in the early 90's."

AmerenUE owns the Lake of the Ozarks and the Bagnell Dam which generates energy for the region.

AmerenUE Spokesman Mike Cleary.

Actuality:  CLEARY3.WAV
Run Time:  00:15
Description: "We do own the lake and we do own the lake shoreline so we have a responsibility to ensure that what goes on to that shoreline protects the environment of the lake."

That is in stark contrast to Southwest Missouri's Table Rock Lake - regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

David Casaletto works with Corps of Engineers on water quality at Table Rock Lake. 

He explains a big difference between the Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock.

Actuality:  DCAS3.WAV
Run Time:  00:11
Description: "Lake of the Ozarks allows building to the waterfront. There's no buffer zone. Where on Table Rock you have a Corps of Engineers buffer strip all around the lake which can help buffer."

That's one of many kinds of restrictions on Table Rock Lake.

Weaver, the Lake of the Ozarks historian, says that's one problem which developers never really addressed when building at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Actuality:  WEAVER3.WAV
Run Time:  00:16
Description: "People wish that there had been better controls put on the lake. More planning and zoning. And they should have kind of restricted the size of boats and all that because today during the summertime it's just absolutely dangerous out there unless you're driving a great big boat."

Only recently has the Natural Resources Department started testing water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks.

AmerenUE pays for those studies.

Actuality:  CLEARY4.WAV
Run Time:  00:12
Description: "Beginning in 2007 we agreed to a 5 year program in which we would fund water samples at the Lake of the Ozarks. We pay $15,000 a year to pay for that sampling."

The repression of one of those reports led to a controversy involving multiple state agencies, including the governor's office - the subject of my next report.

From the state Capitol, with Rebecca Berg, I'm Max Reiss. Newsradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro:  As the Lake of the Ozarks grew over the years, warning signs were evident that water quality would eventually become an issue.
RunTime:  0:42
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Since the Lake of the Ozarks is a privately owned, by AmerenUE, it doesn't have many restrictions put in place like those for public lakes.

Dwight Weaver authored several books about the Lake of the Ozarks and says the lack of regulation at the lake since people started bulding homes there.

Actuality:  WEAVER4.WAV
Run Time:  00:09
Description: "People wish that there had been better controls put on the lake. More planning and zoning. And they should have kind of restricted the size of boats"

The Army Corps of Engineers regulates Table Rock lake in Southwest Missouri has no role at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Corps puts caps on boat size and dictates close you could build a house to the lake.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120, KMOX.

Intro:  Water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks was the controversial topic all summer and it may surprise you to learn who funds those studies.
RunTime:  0:43
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Only recently did the Natural Resources Department start regular water quality testing at the Lake of the Ozarks.

But that money didn't come from the state. it came from the lake's owner, AmerenUE - as part of the energy provider's Bagnell Dam relicensing.

AmerenUE's Mike Cleary explains.

Actuality:  CLEARY4.WAV
Run Time:  00:12
Description: "Beginning in 2007 we agreed to a 5 year program in which we would fund water samples at the Lake of the Ozarks. We pay $15,000 a year to pay for that sampling."

Several of those tests revealed an E. coli bacteria contamination at the lake which led to the summer's controversy over withheld information from multiple government agencies.

Reporting from the Jefferson City, I'm Max Reiss. Newsradio 1120 KMOX.


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