The repair to Lake Elmdale’s spillway is going as smoothly as can be expected, said the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, despite setbacks caused by COVID-19 and rains from the recent Hurricane Laura that soaked much of Arkansas.
“The contractor has completed clearing and grubbing to access the area, has done about 90% percent of the earthwork and has begun placing riprap with filter fabric in the spillway drainage to slow erosion,” said Mike Cantrell, facility and operations manager at the AGFC’s Calico Rock Office. “With the exception of some rainfall presenting short delays, the project is progressing as scheduled.”
The repair was authorized by Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners during the Commission’s April meeting, with $1 million budgeted for the work, half of which will be reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, since the initial damage was the result of significant flooding in 2018.
Kevin Mullen, chief of the AGFC’s Operations Division, said the damage is not to the lake’s dam, but to the spillway area downstream that began washing away as a result of the flooding. Subsequent floods have worsened the damage, prompting quick action by the commission.
‘“We wanted to get in front of this before it becomes something worse,” Mullen said. “So we needed to place a high priority on this project.”
Damage from the flooding has enabled flow from the lake to continue scouring away at the runout. With increased residential housing and construction near the lake, that flow has seen an increase since the lake’s construction in 1953.