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Given the recent springlike weather, Entergy Arkansas Inc. asks lakefront property owners to refrain from the practice of disposing of yard waste in the waters or shorelines of lakes Hamilton or Catherine, which are set to refill next month.

Arkansas' solid waste codes prohibit depositing waste on someone else's property, specifically, the shoreline, according to Kimberly Bogart, lakes and property coordinator for Entergy Arkansas Inc.'s Hydro Operations Office.

Entergy is responsible for management of the shoreline, with respect to use of the shoreline and shoreline facilities. The water in the lakes is owned by the state of Arkansas. Entergy has exclusive use of the water for hydroelectric purposes.

Other entities manage the water for different purposes. For example, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality regulates water quality, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and sheriff's Marine Patrol enforce boating regulations, and the Arkansas Department of Health regulates discharges, such as from boats into the lake.

"Yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, limbs, etc. are not allowed to be placed -- dumped, raked, blown, etc. -- onto Entergy's property," Bogart said in an email.

In addition, the burning of yard waste, or even naturally occurring debris, is not allowed on the lake bed.

"Both depositing yard waste onto the lake bed, or into the waters, and the action of burning on the lake bed have negative effects on fisheries and water quality and can even significantly increase the amount of vegetation we find growing in the lake this summer as it increases the nutrient levels of the water. All around, it is not a good idea for these activities to occur," she said.

Lakes Hamilton and Catherine will start to refill on March 3, and gradually rise until the drawdown ends on March 13. Both lakes were drawn down 5 feet this winter, beginning in November 2016. The depth of the drawdown varies each winter, in part, to curb the growth of nuisance vegetation. A vegetation management plan developed in conjunction with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission usually calls for alternating 3-foot and 5-foot drawdowns.

Once the lakes begin to refill, Entergy is also stressing the need for lake safety, in particular boating safety.

The logs, limbs, branches and other natural debris that have been exposed on the lake bed all winter have dried out, and once the lakes are brought back to full summer time pool level, the material will generally float around until it either passes through the dams or absorbs enough water to once again sink to the bottom of the lake bed.

"This can take a couple of weeks and boaters should take extra care when navigating the recently refilled lakes," Bogart said.

"We appreciate all of our neighbor's efforts in our community to help protect the scenic and recreational beauty that we have in the area lakes. So please -- wear your life jackets, boat safely and have a great summer," she said.

Local on 02/18/2017

Print Headline: Entergy wants shorelines kept clear of debris

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