Continued Cosures Required To Repair Flooded WMAs

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ARKANSAS CITY – Floodwaters are beginning to recede in southeast Arkansas and other parts of the state, and as rivers and streams continue to fall, outdoorsmen will be interested in returning to deer camps, houses and other dwellings to assess damages. There also will be anglers looking to try their luck on recharged lakes.

Despite receding floodwaters, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has two wildlife management areas that remain closed in southeast Arkansas. Trusten Holder and Choctaw Island WMAs, both of which are located inside river levees, have been closed since floodwaters swelled earlier this spring.

According to AGFC regional supervisor Roger Milligan, both management areas will remain closed until damages can be assessed and repairs made.

“We have some work to do on these areas, primarily to the road systems, before reopening will take place,” Milligan said. “From what we can see as the water recedes, these roads are very likely to be severely damaged along with tons of trash and debris that makes them impassable, as well as dangerous.”

Milligan said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking a similar position on affected federal lands such as White River National Wildlife Refuge.

“The last thing we want to happen is for someone to be injured or worse,” Milligan said.

The assessments will begin immediately after the water recedes and it’s possible for employees to safely access the areas to make repair estimates, Milligan said.

“These evaluations could begin to occur as early as the end of the week if the water continues to recede at its current rate and if we’re able to get into all the needed areas,” he said.

Even after the water recedes, it will take time for the land to dry, meaning repairs likely won’t begin until a couple of weeks after the water falls out of flooded areas.

“We have a lot of heavy equipment that will be required to make these repairs,” Milligan said. “We will make all repairs as quickly as possible since we don’t want to delay the public’s use of the area any longer than we have to.

“We’re asking the public to just bare with us until it is safe for them to use these areas again,” he added.

As the areas are repaired, expected reopening dates will be announced through the AGFC Web site at www.agfc.com.