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Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks: An Environmental Road Map for the Future

A two-day symposium was held August 17-18, 2010 to explore the total range of water-quality issues confronting the Lake of the Ozarks today and over the next 20 years. The symposium explored scientific, technical and regulatory challenges and solutions to ensure the protection of one of Missouri's most valuable natural resources. Following the symposium, Attorney General Koster issued a report containing twelve recommendations for improving water quality and protecting the lake for future generations. These recommendations urged state and local officials to take strong action that addressed specific problems that existed with the management of the lake.

The legislature enacted several pieces of legislation in direct response to the report:

  • In 2011, the legislature passed a requirement that the Department of Health and Human Services to examine the feasibility of implementing a predictive modeling tool for measuring bacteria in State Park beaches. The Department submitted a report to the legislature by December 31, 2011.
  • That same year, the legislature also directed the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Natural resources to jointly hold stakeholders meetings to determine what, if any, amendments are needed to give health officials more septic system inspection and permitting authority.
  • In 2013, the legislature passed HB 650, which adopted the report’s recommendations on warnings and tests as state park beaches.

In addition to legislation, other recommendations have also been followed. As a direct result of the recommendation regarding Ameren’s funding of water quality monitoring, Ameren committed to fund water quality monitoring at the Lake of the Ozarks for an additional five years. Also, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Lincoln University received approval of a grant application that will fund a microbial source tracking study at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Several other positive steps occurred after the report came out. Governor Nixon and MDNR Director Sara Parker Pauley announced the award of a $740,000 grant to the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance for the improvement of water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. This will LOWA implement several of their initiatives to reduce the amount of contaminated stormwater runoff entering the Lake.

And finally, Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance and local governments are continuing to work with the Lake county commissions and other interested persons in developing one or more regional sewer districts for the Lake region.

In conjunction with the lake symposium, the Attorney General took significant action to enforcement Missouri’s Clean Water Law at the Lake of the Ozarks, filing a total of twenty-seven cases against violators whose actions were threatening the water quality at the lake.

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