The Meramec Basin Project
-A Look Back

(Right) The site of the proposed Meramec Dam as it is seen from a viewing platform built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to
overlook the dam.  In 1978, the time the project was under way, but controversy erupted between private landowners, environmentalists,
those who saw a recreation and tourism benefit from the resulting lakes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Politicians decided
they couldn't support the project without a measure of public opinion which was done by holding a non-binding referendum on
August 8, 1978.  This vote, held in the City of St. Louis and 12 surrounding counties to be influenced by the project, showed 64% of
those voting to be against the project.  Although the vote was non-binding, it ultimately forced Congress to re-evaluate and eventually
deauthorize the project in 1981.  (Middle) Promotional literature produced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appeals to those
wanting lake based recreation close to St. Louis.  (Right) The cover of Don Rimbach's controversial book comparing the Teton
and Meramec Dam sites.  Although the comparisons between the two sites were questionable, the work helped sway public opinion
against the project.

-The Meramec Basin Project - A Look Back
(.PDF of 78 Slide PowerPoint Presentation - 39 MB - Includes Video)



This map shows the site of the first and largest reservoir to be constructed
within Meramec Basin.  This was to have a surface area of 24,000 acres,
or about 40% of the Lake of the Ozarks.

(Right & Middle) Foundation preparations as they appear in Feb 1977 show the partially cleared and excavated damsite.  (Left) The small excavation
on the west (left) bank of the river, now named Turtle Pond, is largely overgrown over 25 years after the project was decommissioned.

Geotechnical investigations at and around the heavily karst damsite revealed some interesting surprises.
This diagram illustrates two boreholes drilled from the surface through the floor of nearby Mushroom
Cave.  The true bedrock floor of the cave turned out to be around 120 feet below a filling of clay and/or

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E-mail Conor Watkins or Dr. J David Rogers at or