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Minimum Flows

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Well, I think we can all agree that "the jury is still out" on this one.

We have not seen the 590 cfs, the flow has been significantly higher. As the Corp explained to me, the more water you have in the lake, the higher the MF will be simply due to the mass weight of the high water. Now, with all this dang rain which started when the lake was at about 661, there is little or no room for the flood water, except on the raised parking lots and ramps.

On the lake side, the positive thing I can see is future good hatches with the higher water.

On the river, the Rainbows we are catching are chunkie, happy fish, but the weather this August is not normal as we all know. With the MF, the horn does not go off. I saw one man get wet towards the golf course ramp yesterday when the water was released.

Since we haven't seen the targeted 590cfs water, we just don't know.

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That's very true, we don't know what 590 looks like. But there was no mention of the pressure causing it to be 200 CFCs higher. That in and of itself is the only observation we can make so far. That and the lack of warning. Neither are positive in my opinion. It's not really going to matter now until about Nov or farther if this rain keeps up!

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Anything below Crooked Creek is an ugly brown color for a while. The trout are going to be very fat and happy if they run water for extended periods of time. The streamer guys will be happy. Wade fishing may be limited to Norfork for a while.

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The big problem with all of the discussion is that we have no direct input from the corp. I email the corp regularly and a gentleman calls me back and answers my questions, which were posted on Jimmy Ts website and information here also. They are always agreeable to answer questions. The problem I have is their public relations and the flow of information. The corp never sends me back an email, it is all verbal....

It would certainly be welcomed if they would have a Q & A website (maybe they do and I don't know it) where they answered questions and explained why they do what they do. I know the minimum flow has been under study and plans made for the new power pool for years/ extensive expenses to build all the ramps up etc. It sure would be nice to have a detailed explanation as to why, why now, what the corp hopes to accomplish and the effect on the lake and the river fishery.

Wayne, CF, and others, I agree with you. Bull is the retainer lake for the system which we have no control over. For those of us who love to fish I hope it all works out. If we would have had our normal August, I believe we would have had a better handle on what the future looks holds.

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The "why" of the Corps' actions in this project is easy. As explained in the preface of the EIS I linked above, the Corps was directed to pursue this action by The Water Resource Development Acts (WRDA) of 1999 and 2000 (federal legislation). The White River Minimum Flow project was only one among dozens of water resource projects scattered across the nation directed by the Acts. The 2000 Act can be found at;


Section 304 summarizes the WR portion;

(a) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subsection (B, the project for flood
control, power generation, and other purposes at the White River
Basin, Arkansas and Missouri, authorized by section 4 of the Rivers
and Harbors Act of June 28, 1938 (52 Stat. 1218), and modified
by House Document 917, 76th Congress, 3d Session, and House
Document 290, 77th Congress, 1st Session, approved August 18,
1941, and House Document 499, 83d Congress, 2d Session, approved
September 3, 1954, and by section 304 of the Water Resources
Development Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3711), is further modified
to authorize the Secretary to provide minimum flows necessary
to sustain tail water trout fisheries by reallocating the following
recommended amounts of project storage

(1) Beaver Lake, 1.5 feet.
(2) Table Rock, 2 feet.
(3) Bull Shoals Lake, 5 feet.
(4) Norfolk Lake, 3.5 feet.
(5) Greers Ferry Lake, 3 feet.
(1) IN GENERAL.—No funds may be obligated to carry out
work on the modification under subsection (a) until the Chief
of Engineers, through completion of a final report, determines
that the work is technically sound, environmentally acceptable,
and economically justified.
(2) TIMING.—Not later than January 1, 2002, the Secretary
shall transmit to Congress the final report.
(3) CONTENTS.—The final report shall include determinations
concerning whether—
(A) the modification under subsection (a) adversely
affects other authorized project purposes; and
(B Federal costs will be incurred in connection with the modification.

Congress has been writing WRDAs every couple years or so since 1974. They comprise the laundry list of nearly every task the Corps ends up having to fullfill. Often the directions begin with a study, which sometimes proves the mandate to be economically unfeasible or environmentally or technically unsound. Such was the case with Beaver, Table Rock, and Greers Ferry in this project, as Bull & Norfork were the only ones carried out in the end.

So, like it or not, please keep in mind that like any good Army, the Corps just does what it's told to...

...by the people we send to Washington.

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Crooked Creek is still up and floatable, clearing well great gold Rapala conditions.

White River and the min, flow has allowed the coontail moss beds to grow a lot better this summer. I saw a lot of smaller fish i.e. feeders for the larger fish in the river Sunday.

Due to other obligations I have not had the chance to fish White River much this summer. The Min. flow remember is to keep cooler better oxygenated water in the river and less stress on the larger trout.

The original documents from the COE call for this, due to the coller water killing out the breeding cycles of warm water species. See Libarary of COngress for the publication.

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I see MF as another great stride toward allowing this amazing river reach it's potential. Since the eighties and nineties we've seen stocking go from strictly a numbers game to something much more sensible. We now have Brown trout regulations that allow more just the occasional fish to grow to good size. We are slowly seeing a cultural change away from herding, chumming and gut hooking. If we could only keep more Rainbows in the river long enough to take advantage of the incredible growth rates this would be a fishery second to none.

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