Corps of Engineers to repair washout affecting St. Francis Lake flood control

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The washout between Ditch 60 and Ditch 61 at the southern end of the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area has been causing water level problems for some time. Recently, the lack of drainage control caused by the washout meant the worst conditions for duck hunting in decades. During a recent board meeting of the St. Francis Lake Association, the U.S. Corps of Engineers told the group they plan to work on repairing the washout later this year.

According to a press release, the St. Francis Lake Association held a board meeting on Dec. 18 and met with representatives from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Corps of Engineers, former state representative Wes Wagner, Trumann Mayor Barbara Lewallen, and County Judge Bob Cantrell. The meeting was held to explore options for repairing the washout, which has resulted in loss of water from the lake and has compromised the Corps' ability to control the flow of the river. In addition to drainage and flood control, fishing and hunting in the area have been compromised as well.

During the board meeting, the Corps shared their plan to repair the washout damage at Ditch 61, lower the rock dam from 216 feet above sea level to 212 feet with a spillway, and create a fortified road leading from the dam at Ditch 60 to Ditch 61.

While the Corps of Engineers' legislated objectives for the St. Francis River are limited to drainage and flood control, the St. Francis Lake Association is committed to asking legislators to work toward modifying those objectives to include recreation, tourism, economic development, and regional agricultural water supply ecosystem restoration. The St. Francis Lake Association believes treating this resource simliar to any other federal lake impoundment will have a significant positive impact on economic and community development in the region.

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