UPPCO urges caution around hydroelectric reservoirs water levels being lowered

MARQUETTE — As winter settles in across the region, Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) will begin lowering water levels at its hydroelectric reservoirs in anticipation of melting snow and precipitation during the spring of 2020. 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. 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 formation of an air gap beneath the ice,” according to Brett French, UPPCO Vice President. “Increased water flowing through the rivers may also cause the ice to deteriorate, creating unsafeice conditions to develop. We are asking everyone to exercise caution around the hydroelectric reservoirs and nearby rivers, lakesand streams during the drawdown 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.