November 03, 2009
For Immediate Release
Bobby Pharr
(501) 844-2148
David Lewis
Lowering of Lakes Hamilton and Catherine to be Slowed

Hot Springs, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas, Inc. will be slowing the speed at which lakes Hamilton and Catherine will be lowered for the annual winter drawdown. This action is to minimize to the degree possible the amount of water flowing into the flooded regions of the Ouachita River downstream of Remmel Dam.
The lowering of both lakes will still begin on November 7, but will end on November 22 instead of November 15 as earlier announced. This will reduce the daily discharge during the drawdown period by 50 percent.

Entergy consulted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg on the flooding conditions on the Ouachita River and other rivers in southern Arkansas and Louisiana. The Corps of Engineers controls Lake Ouachita, which is currently holding more water than normal after recent rains. To function properly as a flood control lake, it must release water to get back into its normal operating range.

Normally, Entergy Arkansas can lower the lake levels sufficiently by generating power at Carpenter and Remmel Dams. However, with an unusually high level of water coming from Lake Ouachita upstream, this year it will be necessary to open some spillway gates in addition to generating power.

“The bottom line is that there is just too much water in the Ouachita River watershed. Entergy Arkansas and the Corps of Engineers are managing the lake levels with the utmost concern for the folks downstream, but the fact is there is little that can be done to reduce the amount of water coming into the flooded areas,” said Bobby Pharr, process superintendent Entergy Arkansas Hydro Operations.

The Corps and Entergy recognize that the discharge resulting from the lowering of lakes Hamilton and Catherine – even spread over a period of two weeks instead of one – will be negligible, but any relief would be appreciated by those who are flooded.

The annual drawdown of both Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine will still be five feet below their summertime levels this year. Both lakes now will be slowly lowered from November 7 through November 22. Entergy Arkansas will make these level adjustments gradually at a rate of approximately 2-4 inches per day.

Drawdown Background

Note: The following is routine drawdown information, already released previously

In addition to facilitating shoreline maintenance and inspection, the annual drawdown is part of a plan to help control nuisance aquatic vegetation which, in past summers, clogged much of the upper portion of Lake Hamilton.

Entergy Arkansas coordinates the upcoming winter’s drawdown annually with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Fisheries, vegetation and facility management, and downstream water needs are the key factors considered in deciding the drawdown’s depth and timing. This summer’s annual aquatic vegetation inspection indicated Entergy Arkansas’ aquatic vegetation management plan has again been effective in combating the excessive growth of water milfoil and naiad in Lake Hamilton.

Due to the recent success with vegetation control and to allow for long-range planning, Entergy Arkansas will tentatively plan future drawdown seasons to continue on an alternating pattern of 3- and 5-foot drawdowns. Alternating the drawdown depths helps prevent any one vegetation species from adapting to a particular depth. Annual inspections will continue to verify this plan is working, and adjustments to the long-range plan will be made as needed to do what is best for overall lake management.

Boaters should use caution while on the lakes during the drawdown period because additional shallow areas will exist and winter rains can increase the amount of debris washed into the lakes. Owners of boats and floating docks should also take precautions to ensure boats and docks are able to adjust to the drawdown. Failure to do so may cause damage to docks and boats. Some docks will be able to rest on the lakebed with little or no problem. If the shoreline is steep or rocky in a particular area, dock owners may need to temporarily move docks to deeper water. If relocating a dock, be sure it does not restrict navigation or become a boating hazard.

Entergy Arkansas will not require a permit for the temporary relocation of docks due to the drawdown, but the dock must be returned to its permitted location once the lake returns to its summertime level. Entergy Arkansas also recommends using a licensed electrician to make any alterations to wiring in conjunction with the drawdown.

Lake Catherine is formed by Remmel Dam and Lake Hamilton is formed by Carpenter Dam. Both were built more that 60 years ago for hydroelectric generation. Lakes Hamilton and Catherine are part of Project 271, a hydroelectric project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The license grants Entergy Arkansas authority to operate these reservoirs and related shorelines, and Remmel and Carpenter dams. The license also requires Entergy Arkansas to control activities affecting the lakes’ environmental, safety and recreational values.

Permits must be obtained from Entergy Arkansas for any construction on the lake or shoreline including boat docks, piers, walkways, swim docks, landings, embankments, bulkheads, seawalls, rip-rap and dredging, and filling operations. Changes in ownership, relocation, replacement, enlargement or significant alteration of existing facilities also require a new permit from Entergy Arkansas. The Company’s guidelines are revised periodically so be sure to obtain the latest revision if planning on building on Entergy Arkansas’ shoreline property.

Lakefront property owners needing further information on the drawdown schedule or shoreline permitting guidelines and applications for lakes Hamilton or Catherine can call Entergy Arkansas’ hydro operations office at (501) 844-2148 or visit the hydro operations Web site at www.entergy.com/hydro. Visitors to the website may also subscribe to receive lake and flow information by email.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 14,000 employees.