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Shoreline Management

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The Shoreline Management Plan for Greers Ferry Lake establishes policy and furnishes guidelines for the protection and conservation of the desirable environmental characteristics of the Lake while maintaining a balance between public and private shoreline uses. The Shoreline Management Plan provides for the effective long-range management of the shoreline resources of Greers Ferry Lake. This plan describes the types of private uses and activities that may be permitted on public lands. The plan also considers means of restoration of the shoreline where degradation has occurred because of private exclusive use or misuse. The shoreline consists of all Government lands and flowage easement at Greers Ferry Lake.
The entire shoreline is allocated into the following four classifications: (1) Limited Development Areas. Boat docks and other shoreline use permits may be issued. (2) Public Recreation Areas (and associated buffers). No private shoreline use facilities/activities will be permitted. (3) Protected Shoreline Areas. No boat dock permits will be issued, some path/mowing permits may be issued if activity will not adversely impact area. (4) Prohibited Areas. No private shoreline use facilities/activities will be permitted.
Ownership of private land near the lake or adjoining public property does not convey any exclusive or preferential rights to the use of the lake or adjoining public lands. An application must be made to the Operations Manager for a permit prior to construction of boat mooring facilities, alteration of public property or modification of lakeshore vegetation. Shoreline use permits are issued for (1) boat docks, (2) pedestrian access paths and (3) vegetation modification. Shoreline use permits are issued and enforced in accordance with provisions of Section 327.19, Chapter III, Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. A charge will be made for Shoreline Use Permits to help defray expenses associated with issuance and administration of the permits. A charge of $30 is made for a five-year permit for a boat dock. A charge of $10 is made for other shoreline use permits. All permits are non-transferable.
Private boat docks are permitted only in areas designated for limited development. A map showing the location of these areas is displayed at the Project Office. The number of docks permitted in any given area is limited by a minimum spacing of 100 feet between docks at conservation pool; elevation 462.04 feet msl. Dock applicants must have legal (deeded) access to the shoreline within 200’ of the proposed facility. Ownership of land adjacent to public property is not required. The dock must serve as the home port moorage for the applicant's boat(s), and the owner of each boat in a dock must also own an interest in the dock. A household may have a maximum of two slips and will not be permitted ownership in more than one dock. A copy of the Corps of Engineers minimum design requirements for docks is available at the Project Office. After dock plans are approved and a permit is issued, construction may begin. Rangers will inspect the dock when it is completed. Docks are inspected annually, and noncompliance with the permit terms can result in revocation of the permit and removal of the dock. Private dock permits do not convey or imply authorization for any modification on public land unless specifically stated on the permit. Mooring buoys are not permitted.
Vegetative modification may be permitted on public property for pedestrian pathways or underbrushing. No vegetative modification may be performed on public property without a shoreline use permit. An on-site inspection by a ranger will be made before the permit is issued. A drawing showing the complete scope of work will accompany the application. Limitations of work permitted are determined by the impact on shoreline appearance, wildlife habitat, water quality, and ecological balance. Trimming, cutting, or topping of trees or brush to obtain a view is prohibited.
After a permit is issued, pedestrian access paths of 6 feet or less in width may be maintained to the shoreline. Rangers will layout the path during an onsite meeting with the applicant. The permit does not convey the right to construct any structure in connection with the path. A permit is only necessary if mowing is required to provide access to the shoreline. Chemical application is prohibited.
Dead trees considered hazardous may be cut. Ranger inspection is required. Hazard must be shown to exist to pedestrians, docks or other structures. Felled trees may be cut to remove them from access paths, but must remain on project lands for wildlife habitat. Burning on public property is prohibited.
Underbrushing may be associated with path construction, mowing or other authorized activities and may be performed after a permit is issued. The limits of underbrushing will depend on the proximity of permanent habitable structures to the government boundary. A maximum of 100 feet from a habitable structure may be underbrushed providing the underbrushing does not infringe on a 100 feet vegetative buffer established from the vegetative edge of the conservation pool landward. Measurements will be made from the foundation of the habitable structure (decks, porches etc. are not considered a part of the habitable structure). A site visit is required.
Change of ownership of private property (adjacent to public property) will result in voiding of existing shoreline use permit. New owners should not assume that a new permit will automatically be issued. If a new permit is issued it may not be issued identical to any previous permit. Potential buyers are encouraged to discuss permit conditions with rangers prior to finalizing purchase of land adjacent to public property.
Real estate instruments refer to leases, licenses or other legal grants issued for commercial or individual activities that are not covered under shoreline use permits. These generally involve grade, cut or fill and construction of structures including masonry walkways, boat launching ramps and parking areas, tramways, roads, waterlines and power lines. A written request must be submitted to the Operations Manager who will make a recommendation to the District Office. Contact the Project Office for assistance.
Tramways can be permitted in limited development areas. Requirements and sample drawings for tramways are available at the Project Office. Location and plans must be approved prior to construction of the facility. The right-of-way for approved tramways will be authorized by a real estate outgrant.
No new electric lines will be authorized from private property to docks. New electrical power to docks must be supplied from an alternative source (i.e. solar power). Existing underground or overhead power lines will be allowed to remain so long as they are maintained in safe working condition and meet Corp standards (including license/easement and Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) conditions) and all local and state codes and the requirements of the NEC. Power lines found to be in noncompliance or posing a safety hazard will be required to be removed from public property immediately.
Almost the entire 276-mile boundary of Greers Ferry Lake has been surveyed and monumented. Survey monuments placed at ground level define the boundary line. The survey markers are 3-1/2 inch diameter, round, brass caps and are stamped with a monument number specific to the location. A 5' white, steel fence post is set approximately one foot from the survey marker or monument as an aid to location. The project boundary is a straight line between survey markers. The elevation and distance between these survey markers vary. Some trees along the boundary line are marked with a painted white band as an additional aid to location of the line. These trees however, are usually off the line and only indicate that the line is nearby. Rangers are available to assist in location of the boundary line. Please contact the Project Office to verify the line before you start construction.
When land was purchased for Greers Ferry Lake, the acquisition policy did not require the purchase of all the land to be flooded. Land that would be flooded infrequently and only at higher lake levels remained in private ownership but the Government paid the original owner for flowage easement rights on the land. The flowage easement permanently grants to the Government the right to flood the land periodically and to require the landowner to obtain approval for any structures prior to construction or placement on the flowage easement land. A more complete description of the rights granted under a flowage easement may be found in the landowner's property title or by inquiring at the Project Office. A request for a Consent to Easement must be submitted to the Operations Manager prior to placing such structures as roads, buildings and electric service lines on a flowage easement area. It is recommended that a professional surveyor be used to locate the exact location of the flowage easement line. Structures for human habitation, septic fields and fill material are not permitted on flowage easement land.
The first step in submitting an application for any activity is to contact a ranger at the Greers Ferry Project Office in Heber Springs. Arkansas. The office is located 3 miles north of Heber Springs on State Highway 25. Telephone: (501) 362-2416. Office hours are 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday except legal holidays.
For additional information please contact the Operations Manager, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, P. O. Box 1088, Heber Springs, Arkansas 72543.  Telephone: (501) 362-2416. Office hours are 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday except legal holidays.