Tourism Season Could Be Threatened Because of Reservoir Breach

Tourism Season Could Be Threatened Because of Reservoir Breach
By: Ryan Tate
Lesterville, MO - Tourism season officially kicks off in Reynolds County Memorial Day Weekend, but business owners are thinking about it right now. This, after the reservoir breach sent more than one billion gallons of water down Proffit Mountain in December, destroying Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park
Residents Heartland News spoke with say the normally clear waters of the Black River are now cloudy with sediment because of the breach.
"It's too much mud for people to float in it or sit by it," Dennis Gawronski said. Gawronski owns Lenny's Convenience Store just outside of Lesterville. "It is going to be a devastating if people do not show up. They [business owners] make their living four months out of the year around here," Gawronski said.
"Any given weekend 500-700 people are here. Some weekends even more than that during the summer," Melody Gardner said. Gardner manages Bearcats Getaway Campground. "It's kind of hard to wait and watch to see what happens. I'm an employee, and I don't know whether to tell my employees to come to work this summer or make due with a skeleton crew."
The "wait-and-see" mentality exists after Ameren U.E. officials submitted a plan to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to settle the sediment. They propose putting a flocculent in the river to bind the sediment and sink it to the bottom. The D.N.R. approved the plan, but asked Ameren to submit an implementation plan. That was submitted Tuesday. The D.N.R. has yet to approve it.