LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Officials of the Army Corps of Engineers urge boaters, dock owners and visitors at its White River Basin lakes to take extra safety measures because of low lake levels. Cold weather has fueled demand for hydroelectricity from five Corps dams in the basin. Below normal rainfall has reduced inflow into the lakes which has led to low lake levels.
Beaver, Table Rock, Greers Ferry, Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are five to 10 feet below the tops of their conservation pools. Levels are expected to continue to decline until there is sufficient rainfall to begin replenishing the lakes.
There is plenty of water for boating and other activities. However, officials urge extra precautions. Dock owners should monitor their docks closely and move them as needed to prevent them from being grounded.
For boaters, some launch ramps may be impaired. Stay in main river channels, and give the shoreline a wide berth. Some areas may harbor obstacles just below the surface such as land points, rock formations, tree stumps or other hazards and shallow spots that are usually deep under water.
Slow down, wear life jackets and use depth finders. Check with local marinas about trouble spots. Be especially careful at night. Boaters are encouraged to stay on the side of the lake with bluffs since water is usually deeper there. Gradually sloping shorelines can indicate shallow water depth. A change in water color can indicate a change in depth. Lighter color often indicates shallower water.
For more information about lake levels, log onto the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil and click “Water Levels.”