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Save Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake Needs Your Help!

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Spring has seen the progressive blooming of first daffodils, next azaleas, dogwoods, and then the dreaded pine pollen!! Soon Summer will be upon us and we can only hope that the temperatures will be within normal limits. As Summer returns, an SGFL newsletter is also coming your way to give you an update on conditions affecting Greers Ferry Lake. Fortunately there have been no major challenges to the lake’s clean water and natural shoreline recently.

A Greers Ferry Lake Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is in the works by the Corps of Engineers. While no details are currently available, it is hoped that there will be no negative effects to the lake and shoreline. A new SMP planned for Table Rock Lake has not yet been implemented. Dock permits are one topic being considered, but rezoning is not likely to be involved.

Fracking activities have been limited due to low natural gas prices. Also for economic reasons, Southwestern Energy (SWN) has not yet built the used fracwater recycling plant or initiated the dumping of recycled water into an Extraordinary Resource Waterbody (ERW) watershed near Bee Branch for which the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) issued permits in 2013. However, both permits are to expire on July 31, 2018, and SWN expects to renew both permits. This remains a threat NOT to be ignored. Quality of the recycled water would be questionable since undisclosed contaminants (proprietary information) were introduced during fracking. Additional unknown contaminants could be introduced from the depths of the well. Add to that the fact that the testing and monitoring of recycled water would be controlled primarily by SWN. Gas company control of the amount of used fracwater to be recycled and established procedures to dispose of wastewater eliminates any need to dump excess into an ERW. SGFL will monitor permit renewal action, and will request that ADEQ hold public hearings on the dumping permit. Public response will once again be necessary to stop permitting of dumping recycled wastewater into the ERW watershed.

In a more positive vein, the Lonoke/White Public Water Authority (LWPWA) held an Open House to celebrate the successful inauguration of the Cove Creek water intake now serving some 8+ communities to the south via a 70+ mile pipeline. LWPWA has done a remarkable job of blending the intake area with the surrounding hills and wooded shoreline. What a pleasing contrast to the exposed concrete structures and above ground pipelines seen at water intakes in other states!! The time invested by SGFL to attend planning sessions and work closely with LWPWA engineers was well invested.

In a primarily flood control lake, water levels can change drastically. The first few months of 2017 began with Greers Ferry Lake levels at approximately five feet below the “pool level” of 461.44msl. Frequent Spring rains raised the water level to approximately eight feet above pool level in early May. This is still about six feet below recent peak levels seen in June 2015 and January 2016. When the watershed is mostly saturated the lake level can rise nearly a foot per one inch of rain. A rapid rise in lake level creates critical demands for adjustments by dock owners and filtering requirements by water supply facilities.

A Lake Cleanup on Greers Ferry Lake is held every year by the Corps of Engineers on the Saturday following Labor Day. The Cleanup was originated by Chief Engineer Carl Garner who was a charter member of SGFL. The Cleanup was later adopted for all Corps of Engineers lakes. Our organization is one of the sponsors of the event. Last year saw a variation in the program where the post-cleanup lunch and the entertainment was held at the Fairfield Bay Marina instead of the Lacey Marina. This was to give exposure to more people in different areas of the lake. A number of Boy Scout Troops have served as volunteers. Please consider recruiting your group for the 2017 Lake Cleanup!!

From their annual report, we have learned that the Nature Conservancy is “repairing eroding roads, restoring streambanks, and reforesting riversides” in the Greers Ferry Lake watershed in order to limit sediment that affects water quality. SGFL applauds their efforts.

Save Greers Ferry Lake, Inc. is grateful for your continued support in protecting the clean water and natural shoreline of Greers Ferry Lake for the future. SGFL is dedicated to continuing its efforts to reduce the potential for adverse environmental, aesthetic, and safety issues which impact Greers Ferry Lake. Please visit this SGFL website often, like us on Facebook, and/or join or renew your tax deductible membership. Thank you!