Published 12:00 am Friday, May 25, 2007
Dry weather conditions continue to affect lake recreation activities
North Mississippi is currently experiencing drought-like conditions that are responsible for extremely low water levels at four area Corps of Engineers lakes: Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada.
These reservoirs were originally constructed for flood control purposes and, as such, are regulated in accordance with guidelines established by the Vicksburg District’s Hydraulics Branch located in Vicksburg.
As part of an overall flood control plan for the Yazoo River Basin, an annual cycle is followed at each lake that requires the drawing of water levels down in the late summer/early fall to allow for the storage of anticipated spring rains.
However, this year’s lack of rainfall has caused water levels to remain well below normal for this time of year making boating and swimming activities very dangerous.
Boaters are reminded to use extra caution while navigating the lakes this year as a greater number of underwater obstructions/obstacles may occur during the various stages of low water. Operators of jet skis and boaters who tow people/objects should take every precaution to make sure activities are performed in safe waters.
The dry weather has also resulted in a reduction of recreational opportunities. Many of our boat ramps and beaches have been closed due to inaccessibility or dangerous site conditions.
Fisheries have been negatively impacted in that fish kills have occurred in isolated areas due to the stress of the spawning season. Anglers will find their favorite fishing holes are high and dry this season.
In addition, the low water has reduced the acreage available for boating, fishing, skiing and other water-related activities and may result in overcrowding issues. One other affect of the dry weather that visitors should be mindful of while camping and picnicking around the lakes is the threat of fires.
The Corps of Engineers encourages visitors to our lakes to be especially safe this recreation season by remaining alert to current hazardous low water conditions and following a few safety rules:
1. Learn to swim and wear a life jacket.
2. Swim with a friend.
3. Parents, watch your children AT ALL TIMES.
4. NEVER dive into lakes or rivers.
5. Follow all State and Federal boating laws.
6. Be courteous to others on the water.
7. Never mix drinking with boating.
8. Use grills and fire rings for building fires.
9. Have a bucket of water on hand and extinguish fires before leaving.
10. Obey ALL “Posted Restrictions” and warning signs.
Areas that have been closed to the public will remain closed until water levels rise and they are determined to be safe for public use.
For more information, please call an area field office – Arkabutla 662-562-6261, Sardis 662-563-4531, Enid 662-563-4571, or Grenada 662-226-5911) or the MS Project Management Office at 662-578-3873 (Sardis) or 662-226-6090 (Grenada).
Have a safe and enjoyable summer – Your Safety Our Concern.