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Oct. 24, 2019

Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications

HARRISBURG — Fisheries biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold a public meeting at Calvary Baptist Church at 6 p.m., Nov. 12, to discuss the progress of the ongoing renovation of Lake Poinsett. The church is at 503 S. Illinois Ave. in Harrisburg.

The meeting will focus on updating all interested parties in the progress of the project, highlighting milestones and outlining work to be completed in the coming months. 

Although work to replace the water control structure began in April, an extremely wet year has plagued contractors throughout spring and summer, occasionally filling the construction site with water and delaying work. In addition to these delays, the pilings for the structure had to be replaced to ensure their integrity was consistent with the earthquake zone where Poinsett resides. Poinsett2.JPG

Although construction of the water-control structure has fallen behind schedule, work on many other portions of the project has continued. 

“The outflow pipe which was partially collapsed has been repaired and relined,” said Brett Timmons, AGFC Fisheries Supervisor in Jonesboro. “We also have completed construction repairs to the outflow headwall behind the dam. Regrading of the emergency spillway is complete and the dam itself has passed all tests from the (United States Geological Survey) which means it will not need any repairs.”

Many additional features for fish habitat have been constructed during the project, and are ready for use as soon as Phase One repairs are complete. Hundreds of reinforced sections of concrete pipe will serve as catfish habitat, and hundreds of “spider buckets” consisting of PVC and other inert materials will offer near-permanent ambush cover for predator species like crappie and bass. Additionally, the natural vegetation that has been able to grow during the drawdown will add additional nutrients and cover to offer increased growth for fish once the lake is refilled. 

“There are many other elements to this renovation, and I encourage anyone who is interested in the project to attend the meeting,” Timmons said. “We understand that anglers are anxious to get this lake back, and we are doing our best to make sure this temporary delay in fishing will pay off in enhanced angling as well as longevity of the reservoir.” 

The meeting will be held using the town hall format. Anyone wishing to speak is encouraged to sign up at the door. Once the introduction and update are complete, attendees will have the opportunity to ask any questions or offer any comments regarding the project.