UPPCO to lower reservoir levels

MARQUETTE — Upper Peninsula Power Co. will be lowering water levels at its reservoirs this winter in anticipation of spring precipitation and snowmelt.

The reservoir water-level change is done each year at this time, in accordance with hydroelectric project licenses issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to Brett French, UPPCO vice president of Business Development and Communications.

The goal of lowering the reservoirs is to “bring the (water) level down to a targeted elevation, giving an (increased) amount of capacity for runoff and precipitation,” French said. The process is typically “very standardized,” he explained, but “the amount of rain(fall) and water in the reservoir is taken into consideration when we start.”

UPPCO is currently lowering water levels at its Silver Lake and Hoist hydroelectric reservoirs, both located on the Dead River in Marquette County. Water levels will also be lowered this month at the Victoria Dam, Bond Falls and Lake Gogebic reservoirs, all of which connect to the Ontonagon River in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties. Beginning in February, water levels will be lowered at the Prickett Dam reservoir, located on the Sturgeon River in Baraga and Houghton counties.

The reservoirs are expected to begin their return to typical water levels during April. However, this is dependent upon the rate of snow melting and amount of precipitation.

UPPCO reminds the public to exercise caution on the ice, as water levels change and increased water flow through rivers may create air gaps beneath the ice or cause it to deteriorate. UPPCO also urges individuals to be cautious around reservoirs and surrounding bodies of water throughout the year.

Cecilia Brown can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal .net.