Oct. 31, 2018
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
HARRISBURG - Fisheries biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold a special public meeting on the progress of the Lake Poinsett renovation 6 p.m., Nov. 8, at Calvary Church in Harrisburg. The focus of the meeting will be updating all interested parties in the overall plan and timeline of the project as well as highlighting milestones and work that may have gone unnoticed so far.
“We have accomplished a lot on this project so far, but much of it is behind the scenes work that is necessary before the more obvious effort takes place,” said Brett Timmons, AGFC regional fisheries supervisor. “The lake’s failing infrastructure and shoreline erosion were major concerns for biologists and staff that needed to be addressed before any involuntary failure.”
Timmons says large projects such as the Poinsett renovation are very complex and last long enough for some people to worry about progress, so public meetings such as this are critical to keep public support.
The water-control structure on the lake was left open in late summer last year to allow the lake to drain, and AGFC staff and contractors have been busy ever since. A parking lot was created to be a staging area for equipment and materials. Trees have been removed from that area and many fish habitat materials have been purchased or collected from local businesses as donations.
An extensive shoreline stabilization project has been outlined and drafted through a construction firm, and the dam has been studied to ensure its clay core is intact and functioning properly.
“We’ve completed most of the engineering plans for the major dirt work to begin while staying busy on the ground clearing debris from the old water-control structure and fallen trees from around the lake,” Timmons said. “The bids are out for removal of the old water control structure and the creation of a new water control tower and spillway, and we hope to begin turning dirt this winter, weather permitting.”
Timmons says construction of the new water-control structure work is expected to take 120 days, but rain or other weather delays may occur.
“We anticipate completion of the construction to be around mid-May 2019 if everything goes well,” Timmons said.
Timmons says he is extremely grateful for the patience of local anglers and the many contributions already received to help with the project. More than 600 pallets, five dumpster loads of ABS pipe have been donated, and the AGFC has purchased an additional 2,070 linear feet of reinforced concrete conduit to aid in building artificial fish attractors.
“So far more than $1,031,000 has been committed to the project,” Timmons said. “This is a significant investment, but well worth the money and effort for anglers in this part of the state. We look forward to presenting many more details about the project and its progress at the meeting and outlining the next phases of work to be done.”
The AGFC also would like to remind everyone that it is illegal to remove anything other than personal possessions from Commission-owned land without permission. Timmons says there have been some reports of people removing items from the exposed lake bed during the drawdown.
The address for Calvary Church in Harrisburg is:
503 South Illinois Ave.,
Harrisburg, AR 72432