Lake Conway, WMAs Flooded

LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Heavy rain has swelled Lake Conway in Faulkner County to a historically high level, and access to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas has been compromised because of flooding.

As of noon today, the Lake Conway level was 268.3 feet above sea level, which is 5.3 feet above normal. The level was up a tenth of a foot since 7:30 a.m.

"Flooding around the lake is much more pronounced than yesterday," said Tom Bly, an AGFC district fisheries supervisor. Bly says sand and sandbags are available for homeowners' use at Lawrence Landing Access, Paradise Landing, Cane Creek Access, near Palarm Creek Access and at the corner of Brandon's Landing Road and Arkansas Highway 365.

"Palarm Creek Access parking lot is underwater," Bly said. "Many roads around the lake that were questionable yesterday are now closed. A lot of houses have been impacted in low-lying areas – some boathouses are just showing rooftops."

Bly says water continues to flow through the lake's spillway but if the lake level rises a few inches, it will top the log catcher in front of the spillway. If the Arkansas River continues to rise, it will back up and slow the flow of water from Lake Conway.

"If the rise continues, we'll probably be battling a number of logs up against the spillway when it comes time to close the gates," Bly said. "The biggest thing we hope now is we don't get a flash rain – a couple of inches in an hour in Conway."

The water level below the dam has risen about 7 inches since Sunday. All 15 gates have been open since April 25.

David Goad, AGFC Wildlife chief, says several WMAs, especially those in eastern Arkansas, can be dangerous because of high water.

"We're asking people to stay off WMAs with rising water," Goad said. "We don't want people to become trapped by floodwaters."

The main gate at Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA in Monroe County was closed Monday morning because of water on the road, and the road between U.S. Highway 70 and Dagmar headquarters was closed later in the day.

Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA and Deer Research Area East Unit is closed. Also, the main entrance to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA on Hurricane Lake Road at Mitchell Corner in White County has been closed since Thursday because of flooding.