Entergy has done annual draw downs
of Lake Hamilton of 3-5 feet for over 20
Lake Hamilton water level draw downs are necessary for a number of
reasons, most of which have to do with maintaining and improving the beauty
and recreational qualities of the lakes.
The annual drawdown of lakes Hamilton and Catherine
for 2013 - 2014 will be 5 feet.
Both lakes will be slowly lowered from Nov. 5 through Nov. 13.
gradually lowers the lake at a rate of
approximately 4-6 inches per day. The water released through the dams will be
used to generate emission-free, low-cost hydroelectric power.
Entergy will return the lakes to their normal summertime levels in early
March 2012. In addition to facilitating shoreline maintenance and inspection, the annual
drawdown is part of a plan to help control
nuisance aquatic vegetation.
Entergy coordinates the annual winter drawdown with the Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission.
Fisheries, vegetation, facility management and
downstream water needs are the key factors considered in deciding the
drawdown’s depth and timing.
Property owners needing further information on the drawdown
schedule or shoreline permitting guidelines and applications for lakes
Hamilton or Catherine can call Entergy Arkansas’ hydro operations office at
501-844-2148 or visit the hydro operations website at
In the mid 1990s aquatic vegetation began to be a real
problem in Lake Hamilton, covering swimming areas, clogging boat docks and
generally fouling the shallower waters.
Intensive research by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and Entergy
lead to a Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.
The Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan called for the use of more extensive
winter draw downs and the stocking of grass carp by the Arkansas Game & Fish
Commission as the primary methods of “whole-lake” nuisance vegetation
The plan was successful and by 1997 a significantly southern naiad reduction
occurred in the southern half of the lake, but in recent years a new species
of nuisance underwater weed has appeared.
Invading the northern half of Lake Hamilton, Eurasian water milfoil, which is
not native to the United States and is rapidly spreading down the lower
Ouachita River system. Unlike the native Southern naiad, milfoil is more
resistant to winter kill and is not favored by grass carp. In response,
Entergy and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission determined in 2002 that two
consecutive years of more aggressive 9-footdrawdowns were needed to slow and
hopefully reduce this explosive growth.
Entergy understands that many feel that an annual 9-foot drawdown would be
excessive, and for that reason we have never intended to make them an annual
occurrence. However, research suggests that to be effective against milfoil,
draw downs should occur on a prolonged and regular basis. While 9-foot draw
downs are effective, they do not completely eradicate milfoil, which
unfortunately, grow to depths of 12 feet.
Entergy also has a drought contingency plan which allows a reduction in its
required continuous minimum flow from Remmel Dam if severe drought occur.