AGFC using exceptional drought to make vital dam repairs

MAMMOTH SPRING, AR (KAIT) -The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will begin dam repairs after recent flooding damaged a gate on the Spring River.

Full-grown trees and other debris were sent down the Spring River, overtaking the 100-year-old gate and one of the most popular trout fishing destinations in Arkansas.

The hatchery, responsible for half of the state's trout population, produced 486 thousand pounds of fish in 2011.

Coldwater Coordinator Melissa Jones says a loss of water pressure has hurt production this year.

"Our production is down a little bit. I'm going to say 10 to 15 percent. A lot of it is due because of the drought we've experienced this last year. But also, our water shortage problem. It's not allowed us to keep as many tanks in production."

They've lost the ability to control water levels at the fishery.

"The concrete is deteriorated, we know that, and as the hinge has worked loose and become loose, we've noticed gaps between the crest of the dam and the wooden gates."

The A-G-F-C placed concrete blocks atop the gate in an effort to temporarily seal the gaps created by the flood.

Now, they're waiting on funding for the project that could cost nearly 160 thousand dollars.

"We've entered into a contract with an engineering firm that are going to be doing the design and planned development and we'll go in front of the commission with that finding and hopefully we'll receive funding."

The repair project should get started by March 2013.

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