Lake, Dam & Spillway Update: May 2020

The following Lake, Dam & Spillway update was provided by Dale Brunts, ILPOA Chair. If you have any questions regarding Lake, Dam & Spillway you can send an email to Dale at

This past month has been unlike any other as we are all trying to find a new normal. I’ve only had a few assignments that have been easily resolved. I’m sure ideas and improvements will ramp up as soon as our season starts.

At the Cove 1 Boat Ramp drop off a pole has been placed in the water to serve as a marker for boat entry and exit. A member will be placing a flag at the end of their dock for additional visual help in maneuvering at the boat ramp.

The buoys in Cove 6 will be moved to their proper places within the next few weeks.

Lake Restoration Committee Update

     “As a follow up to our recommendation to the ILPOA BOD and website update in September, we have received member feedback and followed up with more investigations around the potential effectiveness of the suggested solutions by seeking input from governmental agencies. 

     After sending the data and report to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, they referred us to a more appropriate governmental agency, the Missouri Department of Conservation. We have been in touch with a Fisheries Management Biologist there and have facilitated numerous communication exchanges between them and the CEO of and his team. The input from the Biologist was that they had not had exposure to much “Bio-Dredging” in Missouri but certainly confirmed that the lack of dissolved oxygen was a large problem. The MDC confirmed that the process of re-oxygenating ponds and lakes is not a new one, and in fact there were various studies in the 1990’s that documented very positive results. One of these studies is now published in “The Lake and Reservoir Restoration Guidance Manual” as a recommended best practice. At the time of those studies, the oxygenation process was not coupled with any enzyme or other additives to accelerate the process so the MDC could not comment on our specific proposed solution. Scientific studies and appropriate documentation are underway and has communicated their results for review and are working with MDC to conduct “peer reviews” necessary for a full MDC endorsement. The claim of “bigger and healthier fish” could not be supported by the Fisheries Management Biologist without supporting evidence, but 2 of the 3 customer references supported that claim. Peer Reviews are a lengthy process and not likely to be completed in time for our 2020 proposed start.

In the months to come, we will be posting various informative videos outlining various aspects of lake deterioration and how we propose to reverse it. Beginning in January we will be holding Q&A sessions at various locations and welcome your input to address this ongoing problem.

For further information or to offer input, please contact us at “

Your Lake Restoration Committee

Cove 9 Bridge Update


We wanted to get an update out to everyone regarding the cove 9 bridge project. As many of you are aware with your prior approval, we have been in the 1st Phase (design) of the bridge project which is almost complete and will be looking to move into Phase 2 (construction) fall 2020. Below is a summary of where we are at now and the estimated timeline and process for Phase 2.

Current Bridge Update

ILPOA has performed the interim suggested recommendations from Cochran, our bridge design engineers, but unfortunately the only long-term fix is to replace the current structure.

  • The ongoing problems with our 60-year-old bridge that can’t be fixed are as follows:
    • Bridge needs to be longer than the current one due to the sheer volume of water that scour/undermine the west embankment & east wing wall
    • This can only be fixed with extending/lengthening the bridge as the current span is too short.
    • Timber pilings on the east embankment are deteriorating.
    • Deteriorating steel stringers

Cochran Bridge Design

We have received the final Phase 2 cost estimate summaries from Cochran as they work to complete the last finishing touches on the design. The bridge design was based on member feedback from forms and surveys conducted by the bridge committee.

  • The majority of members wanted to see the following incorporated into the design:
    • Same width as our current bridge. No additional lanes or walkways
    • No enhanced features like fishing “bump outs” or enhanced aesthetics
    • No lighting options

The bridge design that the committee worked with Cochran on is the most basic design achievable with addressing the existing issues with the current bridge.  This design meets our community’s needs with a basic steel guardrail and is designed to provide a strong, low maintenance, long life bridge for the community in many years to come.

Phase 2 Net Cost Estimates

Cochran has provided the final cost analysis to the final design for Phase 2. Below is an overview of the cost to replace the Cove 9 bridge.

  • The total membership assessment cost for building the new bridge is approximately $389,133
    • Items that we needed to consider that will affect this number:
      • Money carrying over from Phase 1 that will decrease the final construction total by $26,312. This will reduce the total cost of the bridge project to $362,821

Membership Assessment

We will be sending out an assessment vote with the fall ballot to fund this critical project. Below is a breakdown of members responsibility if approved.

  • Each member will be responsible for a onetime assessment of $376.00 for this project.
    • First payment due no later than March 1, 2020 of $188.00
    • Second equal payment due no later than August 1st, 2020 of $188.00
      • *We would appreciate a full onetime payment by March 1st of $376.00 for those that can afford to do so to reduce operational costs to the association

Construction Bid Process

We are targeting to start advertising the 2nd Phase of this project if approved in June 2020. Cochran is contracted for the bid process to ensure it is bid by as many qualified companies as possible and that the process runs smoothly.   Like the design Phase of this project, we will allow members to suggest qualified construction companies to be considered. We will only consider suggested companies meeting the following criteria:

  • Have at least 5 years of experience with bridge construction
  • Fully licensed/bonded and insured appropriately for this type of work
    • $3 million liability insurance and provide a separate performance and payment bond in the amount of the bid
  • Can meet the expected completion deadlines to ensure minimal disruption to our membership.

If you would like to suggest a company for consideration as a bidder, please have them send resume and proof of above requirements to

Estimated Cost

We have been asked by members to give them an exact cost of a new bridge and unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Therefore, we cannot simply get a bid and give the membership a “hard” number. Here are the reasons why we can not secure a binding bid at this time.

  • Funding must be in place for a reputable contractor to put forth a binding bid. Typically, contractor bids are good for 30 to 60 days only, due to the fluctuating construction costs throughout the year.
  • To get funding for this size of a project we will need to raise the funds first or, at the very minimum, offer assurance (through a signed contract) that the bills will be paid.
  • It would be impossible and irresponsible to sign a contract locking in a construction company with a final “hard” number until monies have be approved and collected by the membership.

Cochran has provided us with a very good estimate for us to obtain funding from members.  We researched their estimate vs construction costs and found Cochran to be excellent at providing strong estimates for customers.   Remember that any overage will be put towards roads.  

Estimated Timeline

Below is the estimated timeline for Phase 2. Remember, this is just an estimate.

  • Collection of assessment March 1st & August 1st 2020
  • We are targeting advertising this project for bid to begin June 2020
  • We will receive, evaluate and award contract approximately July/August 2020
  • Lowering of the lake to begin late Summer 2020
  • Estimated start date of construction & complete prep work at dam for emergency vehicles, Winter of 2020. DNR is involved with this temporary work at the dam.
  • Complete construction Winter/Spring of 2021

The team has put a ton of work and time into this project. We would like to sincerely thank this group for their work in Phase 1 and their continued support in Phase 2. The bridge committee consists of the following members: John Oeltjen, Mary Beth Huffman, Brian Nisbet, Gary Weber and Mike Dean. Thank you again on behalf of Indian Hills!

If you have any questions please feel free to email the committee at

Thank you,

Mark McLean

President- ILPOA

What’s New with Dredging Efforts

Many of you remember that in 2017, BFA did a study on the lake, and provided a report on options for dredging.  The report outlined estimated costs, and potential expected results.   The estimated costs were very high, however, the expected results were very exciting.  Based on the potential results, throughout 2018, dredging companies were contacted, to see what they could do, based on the BFA report.  The feedback received from the dredging companies contacted began to raise many questions regarding the BFA study.

  • Dredging companies felt that the potential achievable depth results were overstated & unrealistic in many areas, especially in Cove 9, and south to Brush Creek.
  • The BFA study utilized echo sounding equipment (Sonar) to determine lake bottom make-up and hardpan depth.  This provided an inconsistent view of the location of the hardpan.
  • Assumptions were made regarding the lake bottom soil make-up, as no actual core samples of soil were taken and analyzed.
  • These assumptions were used to report potential minimum lake depths of 5-7’, which is what the dredging companies began to question.

In April, a new dredging committee was formed, made up of several members that had a strong desire to find a way to make progress and address issues with the lake.   Although they started with the end goal of finding a solution to dredging, they quickly began asking questions about broader topics, and the overall health & sustainability of the lake (water clarity, water quality, and animal health)

So, Where Are We Now, and What’s Next?

The group is ready to start discussions with the community on findings & recommendations. 

  • A recommendation has been made utilizing a process called Bio-Dredging, which they strongly believe could be a solution to solving some of the broader issues mentioned above. 
  • Attached (see below), is a summary that gives high level information on their findings.  Much more detailed information is available, and will be shared
  • In the coming weeks, you will see invites to conference calls, and/or in person sessions to more information, and have the chance to ask questions on the following …
    • Why do they have more faith in the updated findings regarding achievable depths and the actual hardpan?
    • What Bio Dredging can and cannot do? (it will not get the desired depths in Cove 9 that are wanted, but other options are still being explored for targeted areas)?
    • Where has it been used and what results were achieved?
    • What benefits are achievable with Bio Dredging?
    • What is the anticipated costs vs traditional mechanical dredging?
    • How could this possibly be funded?

The Lake Restoration Committee is planning to hold multiple meetings to provide and opportunity for member questions, comments and constructive feedback.  They are in the process of creating an e-mail address to collect as much constructive input as possible. will be created soon to allow feedback.