Officials in Branson recently held a public meeting about why Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo are listed by Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources as “impaired.” There were more than 70 people in attendance to hear speakers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program and Table Rock Lake Water Quality discuss the 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. The Clean Water Act requires DNR to submit such a list every two years. More information on the Impaired Water List and the power point presentations can be found at www.bransonarealakesreport.com
During the question and answer session, one of the speakers stated that Table Rock Lake is perhaps the cleanest and clearest lake in Missouri. He went on to say Table Rock was on the
Impaired Waters list “so we can keep it that way.” A member of the audience asked if it is one of the best lakes in Missouri, shouldn’t it be listed as an “outstanding water,” not one officially “impaired?” The term impaired implies serious water quality problems and gives visitors the impression they should stay away from the lake. Luckily, that is not the case with Table Rock and Taneycomo. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous causing excessive algal growth are our main concerns and are not a threat to human health.
The term impaired waters is wording used in the Clean Water Act passed by Congress a number of years ago, and it would take an act of Congress to change it. In any case, local water quality organizations, area businesses and concerned citizens are all working together to address the lake nutrient issue by writing watershed management plans to address protection strategies for our “outstanding waters.” —David Casaletto, Upper White River Basin Foundation