The News-Record

City and county officials have been invited by the Grand River Dam Authority to continue discussions regarding issues of flowage easements and potential changes to the Pensacola Dam's water control manual.

The topics of discussion are of concern to area municipal and county leaders who are taking steps to reduce the potential for flooding in Ottawa County.

State Sen. Charles Wyrick confirmed Monday that he, too, has been invited to attend the meeting tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 23. The meeting is being organized by GRDA and is a follow-up to a meeting which Wyrick organized in July of last year.

It is not known if the January meeting will be open to the public.

GRDA has not responded to a request for details issued Monday afternoon by the News-Record.

The July meeting drew some criticism as the event was not open to the public.

Following that meeting, Wyrick announced that current procedures used in operating the Pensacola Dam could be adopted into regulation by the end of 2006 and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun the process of changing the dam's water control manual.

According to documents obtained from the Corps, the proposed changes to the Pensacola Dam's water control manual reflect “flexible guidelines” that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been informally implementing since March of 2001. The changes require water to be released from the reservoir when forecasts predict that the lake elevation will rise to a level above 745 and, at the same time, the water level at the Commerce guage on the Neosho River is expected to rise above 15 feet.

To date, no formal changes have been made to the water control manual.