Some Quick News: COE-SWPA: New Warning System For The Rivers?

Looks like the equipment on Bull Shoals Dam should be off the dam by next Wednesday if all goes well.

Fishing has greatly improved on the upper end of the river above Wildcat Shoals.  Generation continues with weak flows.

From the Baxter Bulletin:  Yesterday.

COE-SWPA: New Warning System For The Rivers?


A Mountain Home man snatched from the frigid waters of the White River nearly a year ago has renewed hope today that water-release warning systems on Bull Shoals and Norfork dams will ring louder, longer and farther.

A federal memorandum-of-agreement to improve water-release warning systems on Bull Shoals and Norfork dams is under way, says Jon Hiser, parks manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mountain Home Field Project.

The participants are James Pinkerton, 82, of Mountain Home, the Corps and Southwest Power Administration.

The intent of the agreement is to give anglers and other stream lovers a more effective warning of water releases.

Pinkerton was overcome Oct. 25, 2011, by swift waters that flowed by Bull Shoals State Park — a location usually within easy earshot of the siren that is supposed to warn anglers that water is coming.

Dying to fish
Pinkerton said he and other anglers were feeling pent-up following weeks of heavy generation and no fishing prior to the nearly fatal outing. A fishing party, including Pinkerton, camped the last two weeks of October at Bull Shoals State Park with hopes for a last outing in advance of the November closure for the fishing area for the brown trout spawn.

“Sure enough, on Oct. 25, the water was down to wading levels early in the morning. So I quickly joined the crowd which was extensive, and waded across the river to find some solitude,” Pinkerton said. “Suddenly an acquaintance alerted me to rising water, so we promptly started back across, which I had done numerable times when generation had started.

“That day was totally different. The surge of water was so swift and strong I couldn’t keep my footing,” Pinkerton said.

“I was swept downstream, became unconscious and was saved by a fisherman from Oklahoma on the other side,” Pinkerton said. He was hospitalized briefly following the incident.

Sirens not heard
Warning systems sounded that near-fateful day, Pinkerton said. Experiments that ensued found that winds blowing at a right angle to the river masks the sound of the siren. Pinkerton used his second chance to persuade the Corps and SWPA that improvements are needed.

“Mr. Pinkerton started the dialogue. He’s the one that got it initiated. He’s a very nice man to work with,” Hiser said. “We understand his concerns and we’re trying to address them.”

A series of signs also is part of the new warning system, and construction of those is to begin this week on the White and North Fork rivers.

The agreement, says Pinkerton, includes an outline of procedures for opening the gates and rates of flow in a given time period. The Corps and SWPA also have shown interest in warning systems used by the Tennessee Valley Authority that incorporates strobe lights into an audible warning system.

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