Todd Noles, Superintendent of Lakes, Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife is looking at ways to cut lake maintenance costs, while still providing high-quality service to Hot Springs Village Property Owners. He updated the Lakes Committee on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at the monthly meeting.

Noles is planning to do hydraulic spot dredging in coves when needed. The rest of the lake dredging will be done by mechanical dredging.

Last year we spent around $80,000 to haul off dredge material. Noles has found a landscaping company that wants our dredge material. We will load it and the landscaping company will haul the dredge material.

Over a five-year period, there is an anticipated savings of $1 M by implementing a number of cost-saving measures.

Noles said they want to stop as much of the silt as possible from entering the lakes. If we can levy a fine on the builders if they do not control erosion when building lake houses, that may prevent some of the silt from entering the lakes.

Noles explained that they would like to develop a sub-committee with members from both the Lakes Committee and the Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Committee for the purpose of finding the sources of sediment entering the lakes and solutions to the problem. “In order to do this, we have to have help from the Property Owners.”

To save money on rip rap, the POA is purchasing boulders and rocks from Coleman Mines because this costs only a quarter of the price of granite rip rap rock.

They plan on dredging Lake Cortez this year, mostly mechanically. They also plan to do spot dredging, either hydraulically or with a track hoe barge.

“Pull the Plug” signs will be installed on every boat ramp.

Water was pumped into Lake Isabella from the golf course because the level went down.

A gate valve at Lake Isabella is scheduled to be repaired because it is cracked.

The POA hired a new lakes technician. (Dakota Gray)

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist recommended we stock the lakes with Redear Sunfish. The biologist said, “that is your best option to reduce the snails. The Redear Sunfish is the only breed that does prey on snails.” Noles is unable to obtain the right size of Redear Sunfish needed to mitigate the snails in Lake Granada until the fall. The fish farms only have the smaller Redear. “If I stock it right now, it is throwing money away. I am looking at three to six inches and I cannot get them until September.”

Several families were eating the snails. The POA does not recommend eating the snails as it has not been determined if the snails are carrying parasites.

The temporary catch and release rule for the Redear Sunfish on Lakes Granada and Estrella is still in place.

Noles stated, “What keeps management going and what makes the POA departments successful is people like you (Committee Members and Club Members]. You make my job successful, through the help that you provide. I lean on committees a lot. I have two great committees that I am a part of and I want to thank you for all you do.”

Report by Cheryl Dowden