In terms of the ticking time bomb that hangs over the Branson area, not only in terms of those who will be directly impacted by any more “high water,” but by those businesses that are effected adversely, even by the perception of Branson being flooded, let’s hope that three years from now, the words written by the Ole Seagull in 2008 won’t still apply. In 2008 he wrote:
“Most people know what a ‘flood’ is, but only a few have heard about a ‘plood.’ Comparatively speaking they are close with an important exception. A ‘flood’ is, ‘An overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry and usually caused by an act of God.’ On the other hand a ‘plood’ is defined as ‘The overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry, or the constant real threat of such flow, usually caused by ‘The Plan.’
“In a nut shell, ‘The Plan*’ reduces the amount of water that can be released from the Tri-Lakes dams by limiting such releases to the level of a river gage located in Newport, AR. That level is called the “Regulatory Stage.” The lower the Regulatory Stage the less water can be discharged from the Tri-Lakes dams.
“Under The Plan the Regulatory Stage [at Newport] is 21 feet from Dec. 1 through April 14. At that level it appears no homes or businesses are in danger of flooding. On April 15 the level automatically drops from 21 feet to 14 feet unless the Tri-Lakes and Norfolk lakes storage capacity exceeds 50 percent full in which case it drops to only 18 feet. Now what’s wrong with this picture?
“Oh it gets worse, on May 15 the level automatically dropped to 14 feet… Is it even common sense to have a plan limiting the amount of water that can be discharged from the Tri-Lakes dams during the very time of the year the area having the control reservoirs usually has its rainy season? Yet, as ‘The Plan fiddled ‘The Plood’ the community’s elected and nonelected leaders and paid officials did little more than hum along and dance to the tune.
“Did even one initiate official action with the Corps requesting a process be set in motion to evaluate changes to The Plan? At least Nero fiddled while Rome burned. In the opinion of an Ole Seagull our areas leaders and officials are doing nothing, absolutely nothing while the very real danger of plooding casts its cloud over the Tri-Lakes area.
“’Nothing’ was a bad choice of wording because of course they [our areas leaders and officials] did something, they ‘talked.’ As was pointed out to the Ole Seagull this week, on more than one occasion, there has been a lot of talk with the Corps and others. Just for the record, to an Ole Seagull, in terms of the seriousness of the situation, ‘talk without official action is nothing.’
“Call the Ole Seagull foolish but he fears for what can happen if the lake level situation is not addressed immediately as to what can be done to get more water out of the areas lakes faster. At a minimum that should involve an official request to prevent the lowering of the regulatory stage at Newport to 12 feet from its current 14 feet until all the Tri-Lakes area lakes are at their Seasonal Conservation Pool averages. That request should involve the commitment of the resources to see it through to the highest levels with the best professional advice and personnel available…”
Three years have passed since those words were written and the Ole Seagull would ask basically the same question of our community’s elected and non elected leaders and paid officials, that he asked in 2008. “Did even one of you initiate official action with the Corps requesting a process be set in motion to evaluate changes to ‘The Plan’ between 2008 and the events of this year?”
Here we are now in 2011 and the ticking time bomb still is hanging over the heads of the residents and businesses of the Branson area. In an Ole Seagull’s opinion the impotency shown by our local elected officials, community leaders and paid officials regarding trying to get “The Plan” changed over the past three years is inexcusable. For the record, an Ole Seagull would reiterate, “in terms of the seriousness of the situation, ‘talk without official action is nothing.'” Tick tock tock, tick tock, tick…
* The U. S. Army Corps of Engineer’s water control plan entitled – “White River Basin, Arkansas and Missouri, Water Control Master Manual dated March 1985 and revised December 1998.”