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Save Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake Needs Your Help!

Spring of 2009

April 2009

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. David Bakunas   Carl Garner

Leonard Uecker        Grace Gokturk

Betty Dickey             Richard Mays

Sharon Fair              Gail McKenzie

Walter Fisher           Mary Ann Salmon     Leonard Uecker

Dear Friend,

A few warm days turned yards and fields from drab winter landscapes into brilliant displays of daffodils, forsythia, Bradford pear and other flowering trees and shrubs.  Another spring has come to Greers Ferry Lake, soon to be followed by tourists, fishermen, boaters, and vacation homeowners to enjoy this beautiful area.  It has survived another winter season of seemingly more frequent wind and ice attack.  Fallen trees, broken branches on the ground, and some building damage still attests to the severity of the weather.  If you are returning after a long absence, be prepared for some yard cleanup.  Hopefully power outages did not cause problems for you.  Repair and cleanup crews have been busy and parks, campgrounds and marinas are mostly back to normal.

SGFL, Inc. Directors recently met with Little Rock District Manager Col. Jackson, Army Corps of Engineers, to review lake concerns, including the proliferation of gas well drilling sites.  During drilling there are tall towers in place, fully lighted at night, and holding ponds for large amounts of water required for drilling.  Disposal of treated wastewater has potential for pollution of the lake or water wells in the area.  The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is sadly understaffed to monitor such an extensive project.  The Corps of Engineers, AR Dept. of Environmental Quality, AR Oil & Gs Commission, AR Natural Resources Commission, AR Games & Fish, US Geological Survey and others are acting as an interagency group to study possible drilling effects on water quality in lakes, rivers, and aquifers.  ADEQ has suspended issuance of new permits for frill water storage sites until recent study results are evaluated.  Some of the increased gas extraction tax money will be allotted to provide additional inspectors to monitor drilling operations.

The Corps has no plans to rezone additional shoreline for private docks, and is not presently pursuing Shoreline Management Plan changes.  There are some 300 docks now on the lake.  Corps regulation 1130-2-52, requiring commercial docks to have encapsulated flotation has been modified to allow individual evaluation of marinas.  Requirement may be adjusted to avoid undue hardship on marinas that had recently installed previously acceptable flotation.

A proposal by Greers Ferry to establish a community sewer system discharging into the lake was rejected by voters.  A 1% sales tax and an 80% participation by residents would have been required to proceed with the project.  Efforts to require periodic septic system inspections or permit renewals need to be pursued through ADEQ and the AR Health Department.  Only a permit and initial inspection are currently required to operate a septic system.

As the primary US Dept. of Interior science agency for water resource data, the US Geological Survey monitors the quantity and quality of water in our nation's rivers and aquifers and makes studies available to all potential users.  The City of Clinton noted high levels of manganese in water sampling and requested USGS help in solving contaminant problems.  USGS proposed a plan for comprehensive monitoring of nine lake test sites at a cost of $260,000.  Due to the hight cost, USGS will submit a scaled down plan for lake-wide monitoring for further consideration.  A cost-sharing agreement with water quality affected organizations would be needed to implement the plan.

The lake has seen an increase in both boat sizes and motor horsepower to the point of posing safety and noise problems.  The Corps declines any responsibility for promoting either a speed, horsepower, or noise level restriction on the lake.  They advise that this is a matter to be governed by the state.  The Corps will be able to better monitor any pollution problems caused by boats with toilet facilities now that high water levels have subsided.

Next year the AR Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will be reviewing Regulation 2 which included additions to the Extraordinary Resource Water body designation.  Other Corps lakes have benefited from the incentive for over 20 years.  The ERW designation provides technical and financial assistance to lakeshore landowners to improve and protect the watershed.  This is a voluntary program, similar to help provided to protect the banks of the Little Red River.  SGFL requests your letter of support for this designation so it can be forwarded to ADEQ. A simple statement asking that Greers Ferry Lake be designated an Extraordinary Resource Water body to assist in protecting the clean water of this important regional water supply would be helpful.  Requests from groups or governing bodies would be especially appreciated.

Ross Moore of Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River Assn. is chairman for the Sept. 12, 2009 Annual Lake Cleanup.  It will be greatly appreciated if you can volunteer your time or boat to assist in this event.  Please call Ross at 501-745-6101 or 1-888-490-4357 for further information.

Save Greers Ferry Lake, Inc. asks for your continued support in protecting the clean water and natural shoreline of Greers Ferry Lake for the future and your suggestions are always welcome!