By Ronnie Weston| December 13, 2011 at 4:43 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 2:45 AM
LITTLE ROCK AGFC) – For the second time in just over two weeks, last week's heavy rainfall forced the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to manipulate water levels on several wildlife management areas in northeastern and eastern Arkansas. The measures are necessary to prevent damage or failure of infrastructure such as levees and water-control structures. Arkansas's second segment of the waterfowl season opened on Dec. 8.
AGFC staff are manipulating water levels at Dave Donaldson Black River WMA, Earl Buss Bayou DeView WMA, St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA, Big Lake WMA and Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA.
As much as 5 inches of rain fell on various parts of the state this past Sunday and Monday, causing a rapid rise in streams and rivers that feed the management areas. The surge of water potentially could cause blowouts in levees and water-control structures, causing additional water loss. Infrastructure on many of the affected WMAs was recently repaired following past flooding.
At Bayou Meto WMA in eastern Arkansas, AGFC staff have opened all Lower Vallier and Cannon Brake water control structures. Levels are still rising in the lower impoundment and the Salt Ditch and Fish Lake Ditch have not crested.
The heavy rains have forced the AGFC to close several roads on other popular duck hunting areas in eastern Arkansas. On Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA, the main road has been closed at the one lane bridge just north of I-40. The main road could be closed at the headquarters this week with fast rising water coming down the Cache River, Robe Bayou and Bayou DeView. The road leading to Teal Pond also will be closed.
On Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA, the railroad dump road to Gregory Access has been closed due to high water from the Cache River. The Henry Gray Hurricane Lake main access road at Mitchell Corner is closed and will remain closed throughout the remaining waterfowl season. This is part of the AGFC's water management plan for the WMA. Access to Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek WMA will be limited to Jones Island Road from Georgetown. All other access from county roads are under water at that time.