Duck Hunters Rest Easy: Donaldson Black River WMA Being Readied for the Season

NOVEMBER 10, 2005 - Posted at 3:44 p.m. CST

RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR - The siphon reconstruction project to flood the green tree reservoirs that K8 News first told you about on October 20, has now been completed at the Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area (WMA).  According to the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, the project was completed on Tuesday, and the reservoirs are already being used to flood the area.

Dale Gunter, chief of the AG&FC's Construction, Engineering and Real Estate Division said, "The project is substantially complete.  The contractor has some final clean-up work and removal of a temporary road crossing, but the siphons are online and working well."

K8 News heard from several duck hunters last month who were concerned that the WMA might not be adequately flooded in time for the November 19 opening of duck season in Arkansas.

In addition to the renovated siphon bringing water to the area, AG&FC personnel have been pumping water since October 26 in preparation for the waterfowl season.  Today, the upper and lower Little River Island green tree reservoirs were 80 percent flooded and the Brookings Moist Soil Unit was at 50 percent capacity.  The Winchester Rest Area and Reyno impoundments were at 30 percent flooded before the siphons came online.

Jonesboro Wildlife Management Supervisor Robert Zachary explained, "We got a good head start on flooding using a pump to pull water into the area.  Once we begin using the new siphons, we should be able to fill the area within two weeks or so."

Drought conditions have also had duck hunters concerned about low-water conditions for the arrival of duck season.  "I know hunters are concerned about the extremely dry conditions and low river levels, but this weather has been ideal to accomodate the construction work and is probably a blessing in disguise, considering the deteriorated condition of the old siphon structure," Zachary added.