The Reservoir Control Branch monitors and directs the release of water from 25 water resource projects in the Little Rock District in an attempt to meet the competing needs of many purposes.
Those purposes include flood control, hydropower, navigation, fish & wildlife, municipal & industrial water supply, and recreation. Some of the benefits to the nation and our region include.
Of the 25 water resources projects operated and maintained by the Little Rock District, 12 provide flood control benefits. Those 12 projects are: Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Greers Ferry, and Clearwater Lakes in the White River Basin; Blue Mountain and Nimrod Lakes in the Arkansas River Basin; and, Millwood, DeQueen, Gillham, and Dierks Lakes in the Little River Basin.
Over the past 10 years, these projects have averaged approximately $77.8 million in flood damages prevented each year.
Seven of Little Rock District's projects also produce electricity through hydropower generation. Those 7 projects are: Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork and Greers Ferry dams in the White River Basin; and, Ozark and Dardanelle locks and dams on the Arkansas River.
Since about 1987, the energy from these seven plants has been enough to furnish electricity to about 200,000 households each year. Annual benefits from the hydropower features at these plants are estimated to average $206.5 million each year. A portion of the revenues is applied to the operation and maintenance costs of these projects, a portion to the construction costs, and the rest is deposited into the national treasury. Additionally there are 4 non-federal run of the river hydropower projects located at Trimble, Ormond, Murray and Mills.
The thirteen locks and dams on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System within the state of Arkansas represent the Little Rock District's navigation mission. Operation and maintenance of these 13 projects provides navigation to approximately 300 miles of the system with a total vertical lift of about 280 feet. The addition of Montgomery Point Lock & Dam in 2004, gives an added degree of reliability to the System.
Over the past 5 years, there has been an average of 11,313,553 tons of goods shipped each year on the Arkansas reach of the System.
Corps lakes and parks play a huge role in the tourism-based regional economy. The Little Rock District consistently ranks in the top five Corps districts nationwide based on project visitation. This is certainly an indication of our role in the regional economy.
Over the past 10 years, Little Rock District projects have averaged 180,464,600 visitor-hours per year. This figure does not include visits to State and private facilities located at our lakes and along our rivers. Our projects provide the opportunity for a quality outdoor experience in some of the best hunting and fishing territory the region has to offer. The White River tail water areas have produced two World Record Brown Trout in recent years.