Lake Poinsett Project update given

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Lake Poinsett State Park Superintendent Seth Boone released an update recently to keep the public informed of the current status of the Lake Poinsett Project.

According to the update, the current total expenditures and commitments since July 1, 2017 to the present come to $1,033,254.

Engineering and construction

Regarding engineering and construction: On dam integrity, the U.S. Geological Survey determined that the "dam is functioning as designed and will not require any repair, which is good news."

An update on Phase I of the Lake Poinsett Project--which includes the water control structure, outflow pipe, and emergency spillway renovation--is as follows. Final engineering design was completed May 2018. Bid opening took place on Nov. 9, 2018, in Jonesboro. All bids were rejected due to all being higher than estimated. The project was then re-advertised, and bid opening took place Jan. 11, 2019. Bids were again significantly higher than estimates, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) administration is pursuing a contract despite the high cost.

Construction of Phase I will begin within ten calendar days after the receipt of notice to proceed and be completed by August 2019, weather permitting. This construction includes the following: demolition of the old water control structure (to be used as fish habitat), building a new water control structure, repairing the outflow pipe and outflow head wall, regrading the emergency spillway, and slightly increasing the height of the dam.

The water level will be held at 305 msl (mean sea level). This is the normal summer pool level maintained since 1968. The update states that there will be no more varying water levels between a summer and winter pool.

Fire break

Regarding the fire break, AGFC Wildlife fire crew worked a total of 80.25 hours cutting a 20 foot wide fire break. The fire crew has completed 1.4 miles (19 percent) of the total shoreline fire break. The fire crew was unable to complete the fire break due to wet conditions of the lake bed.

Fish habitat

Regarding fish habitat, Harrisburg High School EAST Lab and the football team have been assisting with the project. The school was awarded a $1,000 Friends of Reservoirs Small Projects Grant from Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership. Work on the fish habitat includes mapping the lake using drones and designing a map for placement of fish habitat--the map is in the preliminary stage of completion). The EAST Lab and football team have completed 25 pallet structures, staged at Decklemen Access for deployment. They are still building pallet structures for the project.

Additionally, 271 reinforced concrete pipe sections will be placed along the shoreline and creek channels to create catfish habitat. Work will be done with park staff, community groups, and fishing clubs to increase fishing opportunities by building and placing artificial fish habitat. Decklemen Access will be improved by eliminating scour hole and improving the ramp slope. An MIA handicap shoreline fishing access walkway will be built at the dam access. And cypress trees, water willows, and water lilies will be planted to create natural fish recruitment areas.

More updates on the project will be published as they become available.

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