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New wells offer short-term relief for low water at Lake Ashbaugh

BY Randy Zellers

ON 11-01-2023

Lake Ashbaugh 1

DELAPLAINE — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently completed the installation of two deep-water wells at Lake Ashbaugh in Greene County to offer some relief to dropping water levels evident during this year’s extremely dry summer.

Lake Ashbaugh has experienced significant seepage since its construction in 1981. Over the years, this issue has increased. Historically surface water from the nearby Winchester Ditch on Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area and one deep-water well were used to aid the lake’s level during dry spells. This summer’s drought prevented the use of surface water pumping and the single deep-water well was not efficient enough to overcome seepage rates. The two new wells will supply an additional 6,000 gallons of water per minute to the lake. 

This weekend’s rain, coupled with the additional well pumps has increased the lake level by 4.4 inches since Friday. Pumping water and rain will help the fishery and waterfowl rest area in the short term, but a long-term solution still needs to be explored. The AGFC is under contract with a geotechnical firm to take samples from the lakebed and levee and provide guidance on any solutions that might be possible for this valuable waterbody.

Lake Ashbaugh’s assessment is one of many changes in the near future planned for the Dave Donaldson Black River WMA complex to renovate and restore aquatic and terrestrial habitat for the long term and continue to provide excellent recreational opportunities for generations to come.

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