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UPPCO urges caution around hydroelectric reservoirs as water levels are being lowered

UPPCO’s hydroelectric project licenses are issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and require these water level changes.
FILE. A photo of the lower falls of Bond Falls.
FILE. A photo of the lower falls of Bond Falls.(WLUC/Alissa Pietila)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:06 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - As winter settles in across the region, Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) will begin lowering water levels at its hydroelectric reservoirs to prepare for melting snow and precipitation during the spring of 2021.

UPPCO’s hydroelectric project licenses are issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and require these water level changes.

UPPCO’s Silver Lake and Hoist reservoir water levels will be lowered according to FERC license requirements during the month of January. Victoria Dam, Bond Falls and Lake Gogebic reservoirs will be lowered during the month of January. Prickett Dam reservoir levels will be lowered starting in February.

“Water level changes can lead to unsafe ice conditions due to the formation of an air gap underneath the ice,” according to Brett French, UPPCO Vice President of Business Development and Communications. “Increased water flowing through the rivers may also cause the ice to deteriorate, creating unsafe ice conditions to develop. We are asking everyone to exercise caution around the hydroelectric reservoirs and nearby rivers, lakes and streams during the lowering periods.”

UPPCO’s hydroelectric reservoirs are expected to begin returning to their normal water levels during the month of April, depending on the rate of snow melt and the onset of spring.

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