Nov. 20, 2019
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
MARKED TREE — Delays in the repair of a washout in Payneway Dam on St. Francis Lake may impact the amount of water available for opening weekend of duck season on St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area.
According to Jessica Homan, AGFC Wildlife Biologist, contractors with the Army Corps of Engineers arrived two weeks ago to begin rebuilding the washed out area because it had settled lower than its desired height after the original repair.
“They also needed to top the washout with ‘B’ stone and commercial base so rock trucks could haul 2-ton riprap to the opposite side of the washout, where more repairs are needed,” Homan said. “Their plan was to do this work so the AGFC could go forward with moving the water level to 212 (feet) msl on Nov. 15 to flood the hunting area.”
Homan says the 7 inches of rain during the first week of November caused water to overtop the washout and prevented any work.
“Contractors got back to work Monday but sank a trackhoe on the downstream side of the washout,” Homan said. “We have to maintain the river at a lower stage right now for them to be able to dig out the equipment and resume work.”
If everything goes smoothly, it may be late Friday afternoon before water can again reach the 212 feet msl-mark needed to flood some of the hunting area on the WMA.
“We’re hopeful we can get some huntable water on the area for opening day of duck season, but additional rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday may cause another delay if we’re not lucky,” Homan said. “Once they’ve recovered their trackhoe, Corps contractors will need the water level no higher than 212 msl until they complete their work, which they say may take up to 7 weeks with no further delays.”