It's that time of year again, when property owners along Lake of the Ozarks will begin to see the lake level begin its seasonal decline as the winter drawdown gets underway.

It's that time of year again, when property owners along Lake of the Ozarks will begin to see the lake level begin its seasonal decline as the winter drawdown gets underway.

Ameren Missouri, the utility company that owns and operates the Osage Hydroelectric Power Plant at Bagnell Dam, will start dropping the lake level around the first of the year to make room for next year's spring rains.

Lake of the Ozarks is currently at 657.9 feet (above sea level). Ameren is expecting to hold the lake level steady until the end of the year. The lake level will change as the drawdown begins.

Ameren normally lowers the lake by several feet during the winter months to provide increased water storage capacity for flood control during the spring rainy season.

Generally, the lake reaches a target seasonal low of about 654 feet (above sea level) by spring.

Ameren's goal will be to have the lake back up to 660 feet — full pool — by Memorial Day.

Lake elevations down to 651 feet — nine feet below full reservoir — are possible during the winter season. Ameren's federal license permits the level to go as low as 645 feet in an emergency.

The utility company recommends property owners take appropriate measures to protect their docks from the lower water levels and other winter conditions that routinely occur at this time of year.

To get updates:

Ameren provides a recording of lake level information at (573) 365-9205. In addition, hourly information is available on the Ameren website at: http://www.ameren.com