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Click here for video of rescue.

Click here for video of rescue.

Wildlife officers help to rescue trio stranded by high water

DENNARD – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers helped save three people stranded on their vehicle early Saturday morning. The three people were trapped on the roof of their vehicle for six hours after it was swept downstream in high water on the Archey Fork of the Little Red River.

The three people were trying to cross a low-water bridge when their vehicle was carried into the current. The Dennard Fire Department, Van Buren County Search and Rescue, Faulkner County Search and Rescue as well as the AGFC worked together in the successful rescue of the victims. AGFC wildlife officers have specialized training in swiftwater rescue.

Two women, who were rescued from the vehicle, were taken to Van Buren County Memorial Hospital to be treated for possible hypothermia. A male in the group refused treatment.

The Archey Fork of the Little Red River is a very remote Ozark whitewater stream that flows southeast from above Arkansas Highway 254 through Clinton in Van Buren County to Greers Ferry Lake where it joins the Middle Fork.

To see video of the rescue, go to: http://youtu.be/IwShAN84sE0.

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ALERT  Main gate at Henry Gray  Hurricane Lake WMA Closed

The main gate at Mitchell Corner was closed Wednesday, August 14, 2013. The water is over the road in several spots and the White River is forecast to rise to 30.5 feet at Augusta. Water is over 192 msl at the Mitchell Corner gauge. The AGFC’s approved water management plan for Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area states all vehicle access is closed at 192 and reopens at 191.5. All WMA road closings can be accessed by calling 1-800-440-1477.

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Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir is being lowered to accomodate heavy rains expected during spring break.

Due to the heavy rains pounding central Arkansas, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been dropping Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir’s water level for the past few days.

The threat for flooding is very high and the predicted rain totals have continued to increase. Central Arkansas is predicted to receive as much as 10 inches of rain by Thursday. Lake and downstream property owners should take precautions.

The lake is not a flood control reservoir and the drawdown will provide only minimal storage. It will not mitigate the need to remove water from flash flooding that may occur in the watershed.

“The amount and intensity of rain we receive in a short period of time can cause much more water to be flowing into the lake than could flow out,” said Matt Horton, lake manager with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

AGFC Chief of Fisheries Mark Oliver has announced that all 15 of the lake’s spillway gates are open to evacuate water in anticipation of this flood event.

“All 15 spillway gates are open. This is an unpredictable weather system and the speed that it travels will have a lot of influence over rainfall totals. If the worst happens, we’ll distribute sand and sand bags to Paradise Landing, Palarm, Caney Creek and Lawrence Landing access areas for lakeside landowners to use for protecting low-lying structures,” Oliver said.

Horton said another reason for opening the gates early is the majority of the heaviest predicted rain is to fall right on the Arkansas River valley, from western Oklahoma to central Arkansas.

“Given the intensity and duration of this rain event, it is possible that the Arkansas River could reach the flood stage or at least rise significantly. This would cause water to back up in Palarm Creek and drastically slow the discharge of flood water from Lake Conway,” Horton explained.

The AGFC will be monitoring the rain event around the clock. Once the rain event is over, the AGFC will shut all 15 gates to allow water levels to reach the normal pool elevation of 263 feet above sea level.

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Flooded roads have forced the AGFC to close access gates at Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA near Augusta.

ALERT  Roads closed at Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA.

Rising water levels in the White River and recent heavy rains have made roads in Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area impassable. As a result, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was forced to close the main access gate at Mitchell Corner Tuesday morning, closing access to the camping areas and lakes on the WMA. “Hurricane Lake WMA has some excellent oxbows and many people pull campers to the WMA for a spring fishing trip,” said Garrick Dugger, AGFC biologist supervisor. “We’re trying to get the word out so people don’t drive all that way and then have to turn around and go home.” Dugger said roads will reopen as soon as water levels recede and roads are cleared of trees and debris. Please check the AGFC website at www.agfc.com or contact the Brinkley Regional Office for updates on road conditions.

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ALERT Flood zones to open for Christmas hunts
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Loren Hitchcock has authorized opening the state’s private land flood prone zones in advance of the upcoming modern gun, muzzleloader and youth deer hunts. Last week, commissioners gave the director of the AGFC the authority to open any closed flood prone region based on the recommendation of the chief of the wildlife management division.
Several areas around the state have been closed to deer hunting due to high water. Reopening the zones will give hunters more opportunity to help control Arkansas’s growing deer herd.
David Goad, AGFC’s Chief of the Wildlife Management Division said that most zones are within a foot or so of opening back up on their own. “Although there is a little rise occurring at some gauges, it’s expected to be very short lived. With a few days until the Christmas hunt, we believe there will be enough fall to allow for those zones that haven’t opened on their own to go ahead and open,” Goad explained. “Our reasoning is based on potential falling water levels at particular gauges and we want to provide as much opportunity for kids after Christmas as possible,” he explained.
In areas where flood prone zones don’t open by gauge readings, deer hunting season will be open from Dec. 26-Jan. 8 in flood prone regions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I. Beginning Jan. 9, hunters should consult the flood zone hotline at 800-440-1477 or go to http://www.agfc.com to determine if their flood zone is open for deer hunting.

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Dagmar WMA Gate Closed
Flooding has forced the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to close the main gate at Sheffield Nelson Dagmar Wildlife Management Area Saturday, Dec. 10.
Agfc staff have been monitoring the road conditions carefully, and determined that the road from the main gate was unsafe for travel. The gate will be closed until further notice.

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