Lake levels will be reduced about 6 inches per day on Lake Hamilton and about 4 inches per day on Lake Catherine. The drawdown will be complete on both lakes by Nov. 11. The water released at the dams will be used to generate emission-free, low-cost hydroelectric power. Both lakes will return to their normal summertime levels in March 2013.
In addition to facilitating shoreline maintenance and inspection, the annual drawdown is part of a plan to help control nuisance aquatic vegetation. Entergy Arkansas coordinates the annual winter drawdown with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Fisheries, vegetation, facility management and downstream water needs are the key factors considered in deciding the drawdown's depth and timing
The reason for the additional drawdown on Lake Hamilton is to combat an excessive growth of two common types aquatic vegetation called Chara and filamentous algae.
"These species of vegetation are not uncommon in our lakes, but the warmer-than-normal temperature and clearer water this year has caused them to grow more abundantly, causing a problem for boaters and swimmers," said Bobby Pharr, process superintendent of Entergy Arkansas hydro operations. "Clearer water from lack of rainfall has allowed sunlight to penetrate deeper water, and, as a result, promoted increased aquatic plant growth."
Boaters should use caution while on the lakes during the drawdown period because there will be more shallow areas, and winter rains can increase the amount of debris washed into the lakes. Owners of boats and floating docks should also take precautions to ensure they are able to adjust to the drawdown. Failure to do so may cause damage to them. Some docks will be able to rest on the lakebed with little or no problem. If the shoreline is steep or rocky in a particular area, dock owners may need to temporarily move docks to deeper water. If relocating a dock, be sure it does not restrict navigation or become a boating hazard.
Entergy Arkansas will not require a permit for the temporary relocation of docks due to the drawdown, but the dock must be returned to its permitted location once the lake returns to its summertime level. Entergy Arkansas also recommends using a licensed electrician to make any alterations to wiring in conjunction with the drawdown.
Permits must be obtained from Entergy Arkansas for any construction on the lake or shoreline, including personal water craft ramps, boat docks, piers, walkways, swim docks, landings, embankments, bulkheads, seawalls, rip-rap, dredging and filling operations. Changes in ownership, relocation, replacement, enlargement or significant alteration of existing facilities also require a new permit from Entergy Arkansas. The company's guidelines are revised periodically, so anyone planning to build on Entergy Arkansas' shoreline property should be sure to obtain the latest revision before proceeding.
Lakefront property owners needing further information on the drawdown schedule or shoreline permitting guidelines and applications for lakes Hamilton or Catherine can call Entergy Arkansas' hydro operations office at 501-844-2148 or visit the hydro operations website at www.entergy.com/hydro. Visitors to the website may also subscribe to receive lake and flow information by email. To receive weekly information on the operation of the lakes, the public can "Like" hydro operations' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lifeonthelakes.
Lake Catherine is formed by Remmel Dam and Lake Hamilton is formed by Carpenter Dam. Both were built more that 60 years ago for hydroelectric generation. Lakes Hamilton and Catherine are part of Project 271, a hydroelectric project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The license grants Entergy Arkansas authority to manage these reservoirs and related shorelines, and operate Remmel and Carpenter dams. The license also requires Entergy Arkansas to control activities affecting the lakes' environmental, safety and recreational values.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.