BELLA VISTA – The date for this year’s Lake Avalon removal, as well as plans for the work that will be carried out during the removal, were announced at this month’s meeting of the Bella Vista Property Joint Lakes Advisory Committee. Owners Association.
Lakes and Fisheries Superintendent Rick Echols told the committee and those present at the July 13 meeting that the pullout will begin November 14.
The lake will be dumped “3 inches a day and will be down in early December,” he said. “We’re going to allow it to start filling on March 6.”
Echols said leaf removal will be the main project his staff will undertake during this time.
“One of the things we’re going to look at is removing any clumps of leaves in that beach cove,” he said. “It had been cleaned up quite well before this beach was developed, but I think it’s going to take a lot of work to clean this up. It will help with the conditions. It’s not a natural lake, but it’s natural by opposed to not a pool, so you can expect some things in the water, but it will reduce the amount of washout we have in the water in that area if we can remove the leaf pack.
Other projects include the removal of a gravel bar near the boat launch and concrete work at the outlet below the spillway.
Echols also told the committee that the Lake Ann sinkhole is now filled.
“It took 34 meters of concrete to fill it,” he said. “We are still working with our engineering contractor to fix some intrusion points. I allowed the lake to come back up to the full pool. It was impacting some of the recreational activities by dropping it and not knowing when [the contractor] would come back. If a drought can be considered good news, we can at least get the lake back down quickly. So when they give us some sort of ‘go’ signal, we’ll start doing it again.”
Lakes and fisheries staff worked in early July to remove the last fish that had passed over the weirs when spring rains raised the lake level.
“We worked with Scotsdale Golf Course on moving the fish,” Echols said. “With the flooding we had earlier in the spring, we lost quite a few fish above the Loch Lomond spillway, and they ended up in the creek at Scotsdale Golf Course. Those pools are now drying up , and where can we have been to take these fish and bring them back to the lake.”
During the “search and rescue mission”, two river catfish and their eggs were moved to a better home.
“We found a clutch of channel catfish eggs in the creek,” Echols said. “We collected them and hatched them in our hatchery, and we now have them available to store in our lakes when they get a little bigger.”
Along these lines, Echols told the committee that construction has started on the ponds below Loch Lomond which will form an integral part of the association’s fishing programme.
“We have started construction of the two aquaculture ponds that we are building under Loch Lomond,” he said. “It’s progressing pretty well. The big issue is getting good quality soil to build our dykes. [around the ponds].”
As with any ongoing project outside of this time of year, steps are being taken to ensure workers are out of the heat as much as possible, he said.
“Grounds maintenance is doing its best to track usage of the facilities and fight the heat a bit,” Echols said. “We left to start at 6 a.m., and it’s optional for the guys right now. Some of them are taking advantage of it so they can leave at 2:30 p.m. and get out of the Chauffer.”
Echols also announced that construction of a new fishing pier on Lake Windsor was to begin the last week of the month.
“This is the wharf the Fly Tyers help sponsor,” he said. “It will start work on July 25.”
He concluded his report with information on the department’s spring sampling efforts as well as work done this summer by a Fly Tyers-sponsored intern.
“Our spring sampling results are now on the webpage,” Echols said. “And our Fly Tyers sponsored intern, Nolan Lipe, completed his internship with us and left to be a freshman at the University of Arkansas this fall. He’s done a great job with us and has learned quickly. We got it started and knew the job would be done well. We appreciate the help of the Fly Tyers in sponsoring it.
The July 13 meeting was the first for newly appointed members Michael Coughlin and Scott Sborov.
The committee also elected new officers at the meeting. Filling those officer positions for next year will be Matt Champagne, president; Arell Wasson, Vice President; and Carol Phillips, secretary.
The next committee meeting will be at 2 p.m. on August 10 in the Property Owners Association boardroom.