ISHPEMING — The Upper Peninsula Power Company will soon begin lowering water levels at its western U.P. hydro reservoirs. This is in anticipation of the annual spring runoff.
License requirements with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will see the draw downs begin in January.
The first two reservoirs to draw down will be the Victoria Dam and Bond Falls, located on the Ontonagon River in Ontonagon County. The Prickett Hydro Dam Reservoir, on the Sturgeon River in Baraga County, will lower its levels beginning in February.
Finally, the Lake Gogebic reservoir, in Gogebic County, is expected to be lowered between now and the end of February.
Jim Melchiori, supervisor of regional generation for UPPCO, said, “We lower the reservoir to make room for the anticipated melting snow and spring precipitation.”
Melchiori is also warning of possible “bridging,” which occurs when lower water levels produce a gap under the ice.
Increased water flow in rivers by these reservoirs may eat away at the ice from below and result in unsafe ice conditions. Melchiori is urging the public to exercise extreme caution around the reservoirs and the associated lakes and rivers.
Reservoirs are expected to return to normal water levels in April, pending the rate at which the snow melts and spring precipitation.