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Arkabutla Lake Update

 

 

 

Rainfall in Coldwater River Basin Expected to Raise Arkabutla Lake Levels Above 215’

Published: April 11, 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – Lake levels at Arkabutla Dam are expected to rise well above 215’ and remain high for close to three weeks as spring rains continue. A potential breach emergency WATCH status at Arkabutla Dam remains in effect and 24-hour monitoring of the dam will begin once levels hit the 215’ mark.

This potential breach is associated with observed signs of distress discovered in May 2023. The physical condition of the dam is unchanged, and a dam breach is NOT imminent.

To reduce pressure on the dam, the Vicksburg District will increase releases at the dam to approximately to 4500 cubic feet per second (cfs) to lower the pool to the targeted 204’. This increased release, along with ongoing precipitation will also increase downstream gages.

The gage at Marks, Mississippi is predicted to rise to 39 feet which is considered minor flood stage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is coordinating with the National Weather Service, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and local emergency management agencies to maximize public awareness in affected areas and to prepare for the possible flooding.

A contract to install structural improvements to the dam has been awarded and construction is scheduled to begin in May 2024. Safety remains a top priority to the US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Lake Staff and additional personnel are vigilantly monitoring the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes.

Individuals should direct safety questions to their county emergency management agency.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.


UPDATE: Notice to Proceed issued on Interim Repairs at Arkabutla Dam

Published: March 13, 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – Interim risk reduction measures continue at Arkabutla Dam, located in DeSoto and Tate Counties in Northwest Mississippi. On February 27, a contract was awarded to Frontier Services, Inc. for the installation of six relief wells with lateral discharges, installation of additional piezometers (groundwater monitoring devices), and automation of the monitoring system at the dam.

The notice to proceed was issued on March 3, 2024 and on-site work is expected to begin in late April or early May once construction materials are procured. It is anticipated that work will be completed in the fall of 2024. The work is in response to the potential breach emergency status issued in May 2023 because of observed signs of distress at the dam.

Currently, the target lake level is below 210’ and the district is proactively working to keep the level at approximately 204’ to provide leeway in the pool level during the wet season.  Because lake levels fluctuate quickly, the potential breach emergency WATCH status at Arkabutla Dam will continue throughout the rainy season.

Engineers and a design team are working on a permanent long-term fix for the dam that will likely take 7-9 years to complete.

Camping and other recreational use of Arkabutla Lake area remain open, with the exception of day use and fee use areas directly downstream of the dam. All boat ramps remain closed; however, visitors can launch small boats from the gravel landing at the Coldwater River.

Safety remains a top priority of the US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Lake Staff and additional personnel are vigilantly monitoring the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes.  

Please visit this site to get regularly updated reservoir pool levels: https://www.mvk-wc.usace.army.mil/resrep.htm

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.


Potential Breach Emergency Status increased to **WATCH** at Arkabutla Dam

Published Jan. 28, 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – Earlier today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a potential dam breach WATCH for Arkabutla Dam located in DeSoto and Tate Counties in Northwest Mississippi. The physical condition of the dam is unchanged, and a dam breach is NOT imminent. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District has increased the potential breach emergency status at Arkabutla Dam from ALERT to WATCH because of increasing reservoir levels due to the recent weeklong precipitation and snow/ice melt in the Arkabutla Lake drainage basin.  

This potential breach is associated with observed signs of distress discovered in May 2023. Interim risk reduction measures are underway; however, are not yet complete. Emergency repairs are expected to be completed this summer. Operational releases associated with lowering the lake are not expected to induce downstream flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is coordinating with the National Weather Service and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to maximize public awareness in affected areas. 

As always, safety remains a top priority to the US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Crews are on the ground to monitor the situation at Arkabutla Dam for any changes.  

Current conditions at Arkabutla Dam include:
•            Reservoir Pool Elevation              213.6 feet elevation 
•            Spillway Crest Elevation               238 feet elevation
•            Spillway Status                              Not Activated
•            Pool Restriction                             204 feet elevation
•            Current releases                            2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) 

Individuals should direct questions to their county emergency management agency. 

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel. 

 

 

RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING PUBLIC USE OF CORPS OF ENGINEERS WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

Title 36 Section 327.14a states that “ destruction, defacement, removal, or any alteration of public property [which includes archeological features] is prohibited.” Find additional recreation regulations here [hyperlink https://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Rules-and-Regulations/]

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) of 1979, amended 1988, prohibits individuals from removing, selling, purchasing, exchanging, transporting or receiving Native American artifacts from federal lands without a permit. Individuals who violate this law could face fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to 5 years.

Additionally, the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990 makes it a criminal offense for individuals to transport Native American remains without appropriate permission. First offense penalties include up to 12 months imprisonment and a $100,00 fine. 


Concerning drone usage:

Title 36, Section 327.04 Aircraft.

(a) This section pertains to all aircraft including, but not limited to, airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters, ultra-light aircraft, motorized hang gliders, hot air balloons, any non-powered flight devices or any other such equipment.

(b) The operation of aircraft on project lands at locations other than those designated by the District Engineer is prohibited. This provision shall not be applicable to aircraft engaged on official business of Federal, state or local governments or law enforcement agencies, aircraft used in emergency rescue in accordance with the directions of the District Engineer or aircraft forced to land due to circumstances beyond the control of the operator.

(c) No person shall operate any aircraft while on or above project waters or project lands in a careless, negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger any person or property.


USACE Vicksburg District determines Arkabutla Dam currently stable due to low reservoir pool levels, lifts potential breach emergency declaration - June12, 2023

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District determined that Arkabutla Dam, in Arkabutla, Mississippi, is stable at the current low lake elevation as of June 12, 2023 and has downgraded the WATCH condition at Arkabutla Dam in DeSoto and Tate Counties, Mississippi to ALERT.  

The current lake elevation is approximately 199 feet as of noon today, which is necessary to initiate interim repairs at the structure. The district will maintain an elevation of approximately 200 feet due to how quickly the lake responds to heavy rainfall and to mitigate any future downstream effects.  

The district would re-issue a potential breach WATCH if lake elevations become greater than 210 feet. Public safety remains the top priority and the district will provide updates as they become available.  

The district issued an emergency declaration May 8 for a potential breach WATCH after observing a depression near the toe of the dam. 


All day use and fee use areas directly downstream of the dam are closed.  The full list of closures is as follows.

  • Old Pratt Road 
  • Toe Ditch Road
  • Basketball Court
  • Disc Golf Course
  • North Outlet Playgrounds
  • North Outlet Restroom
  • North Outlet Pavilion 761 River  (Closed in recreation.gov.)
  • North Outlet Day Use Area
  • Coldwater River Nature Trail
  • Fishing Pier
  • South Outlet Boat Ramp
  • Swinging Bridge Nature Trail
  • South Outlet Campground 
  • South Outlet Restroom
  • South Outlet Day Use Area

 


Prior Press Releases


A graphical image containing facts about Arkabutla Lake

 
   

Visit the Vicksburg District Reservoir Report with up to the minute information about the levels of Arkabutla Lake - Click here.

A graphic of a screenshot of the Arkabutla Lake levels webpage

 

 


This map and more information on Arkabutla Dam can be found on the National Inventory of Dams website by clicking here.

 

 

 

Contact Info

For general information please call our Public Affairs Office 601-631-5000 and press 0

For reservation, camping and recreational questions please call 662-712-1163

For media requests contact
Christy Kilroy PAO Chief
601-631-5000  - VicksburgDistrict@usace.army.mil

EOC personnel will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 601-631-5367

Arkabutla Lake Location

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