The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission launched phase one of the Lake Poinsett project this week. It’s an extensive effort to prevent flooding and reduce erosion. Work begins with replacing the water control tower.
“We’ve had some issues with the existing structure, as far as the gates not working properly. And it’s 50 plus years old,” says Brett Timmons, who is the Northeast Arkansas District Biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Civil engineer Tony Crafton of Pickering Firm is leading the renovations. Crews have already started clearing trees. They also plan to restore a pipe that runs underneath the lake.
Crafton says that “any of the water flowing through there, if that pipe is deteriorated, will start eating away at the soil around it. This is an earth-in levy. So, as the soil is being eaten away, you could have a future failure.”
The one point two-million-dollar project addresses safety issues, helping to bring stability to the shoreline and dam for nearby homeowners. It will also ensure the dam operates properly for the next fifty years or so.”
Phase one should wrap up in mid-august, but Timmons says that inclement weather is likely to delay completion. And the start of future phases.
“We will be restoring habitat. Adding some of the artificial habitats that we just added in Lake Frierson, as well as natural habitat. Back to the lake,” adds Timmons. “Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple bad years, with the amount of water we’ve seen here in northeast Arkansas. And I’m not quite sure that that’s over with.”
What project leads ask for now, is patience.
The Arkansas Game and Fish commission plans to re-fill Lake Poinsett by 2021. More information about the project can be found at www.agfc.com.