POINSETT COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The second and last public meeting was held for Poinsett County residents addressing their concerns as Lake Poinsett is set to be drained this summer.
According to Brett Timmons, Northeast Arkansas fishery supervisor and biologist, this is a renovation project that needs to be done.
"Last summer a survey was done to identify our property and the land loss due to erosion around the lake," said Timmons. "This helped us identify the number of square meters of damage we were looking at."
Timmons said damages included shoreline erosion and damage to the water control structure.
"It is just a safety issue," said Timmons. "The water control structure had a leak and when our dive teams went in to repair it, they learned the gates to the control structure were basically not operational."
In order to do repairs, Timmons said the entire lake needs to be drained.
"Based on our past projects like this, it will take about three to four months to completely drain the lake," said Timmons. "But this will also give us a chance to look at the dam and make sure it is in good shape because if it at all is breached, it could cause significant damage to residents living downstream."
Timmons said they started this project in 2006 and now they can move toward all of the planned renovations including repairing the fish habitat in the lake.
"We are working with a contractor and hopefully before the first of July, we will have a concrete estimate and timeline of this project," said Timmons. "But right now, we are looking at, based on our past projects, a couple of million dollars and two to three years until completion."
Timmons said though this project will take time, it will be worth it.
"We want people to know this is a needed problem and a safety concern," said Timmons. "We will follow through with the project will see it to the end and bring the lake back to what it was in the 70s and 80s."
The draining project is set to begin on July 10, but until then, Timmons encourages everyone to fish as much as possible.
"During these projects, when the lakes are at a certain level, fishing is great! This is a lake that is needed in the city, so it is not going anywhere," said Timmons. "It is actually going to be better once we go through and renovate it. It will have a much better fish habitat in it. It will be restocked with the same fish that are in it. It will be back and it will be better than ever. Believe me, you will see the results."
Everyone can fish with no limits even during the draining process.
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