The Army Corps of Engineers began a drawdown on the lake yesterday in an effort to improve aquatic vegetation, make repairs to launch ramps and buoys, and complete other projects.
The Corps says the lake will be gradually drawn down to elevation 379, which is seven feet below the normal pool elevation. This will take about 26 days, depending on rainfall. When this level is reached, around August 1, Corps officials will decide if the drawdown will continue to elevation 373 by October 1.
During the drawdown, boaters should exercise extreme caution because submerged stumps and shallow areas will be more prominent. All water activities such as skiing, tubing, and operating personal watercrafts will be prohibited after July 9.
Also, boaters should be cautious when launching because of damage or sediment build up that may have occurred at the ends of the ramps. It is impossible to determine which ramps might be affected. Boat ramp closures may occur during the drawdown.
In cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the shoreline will be seeded in a mixture of Japanese Millet, Brown Top Millet, and Sorghum Sudan grass.
During the drawdown, rangers will be actively patrolling the lake for suspected disturbance of protected archeological and cultural resources, and for unauthorized off-road vehicle use. Unauthorized operation of motorized vehicles around the shoreline and on the lakebed is strictly prohibited. Removing artifacts from public lands is a serious offense covered by the Archeological Protection Act of 1979 and Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations.
At a later date, volunteers will be given the opportunity to obtain permits to assist with the placement of fish shelters.