Problem with water control structure could delay flooding at Big Lake, officials say

Problem with water control structure could delay flooding at Big Lake, officials say
Officials are hopeful that if the Missouri Bootheel receives nearly three more inches of rain in the future, the WMA will be flooded before the season starts Nov. 23. (Source: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Facebook page)

MANILA, Ark. (KAIT) -A malfunctioning water control structure at Big Lake Wildlife Management Area may create a problem just in time for the start of duck season.

According to a media release from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, an electrical problem at the water-control structure has reduced the ability to flood portions of the area for waterfowl season.

“The malfunctioning water-control structure normally would allow water to flow around the refuge and down a canal labeled ‘Ditch 28’, which supplies water for much of the WMA where waterfowl hunting is allowed. While the area can flood to provide waterfowl habitat without this structure in operation, it is much more dependent on local rainfall to do so,” officials said in the media release.

Officials are hopeful that if the Missouri Bootheel receives nearly three more inches of rain in the future, the WMA will be flooded before the season starts Nov. 23.

“There will still be water in the hunting areas by opening day of duck season without that amount of rain, but it may not be at 100 percent flooded without it,” AGFC biologist James Foster said.

Officials are also working with federal authorities on repairing the structure, which is on the nearby federal Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

"Electrical companies already have begun the permit process with the Corps (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). “But we want to let hunters know about the situation as we head into duck season so they are aware of possible changes from what they typically see on opening morning at Big Lake WMA,” Foster said.

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