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.
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.