The Millwood Lake Civil Works project on the Little River is located 16 river miles above its confluence with the Red River, about seven miles east of Ashdown, AR. Millwood Lake was authorized for construction by the Flood Control Act approved 3 July 1958 (Public Law 85-500, 85th Congress, S. 3901) as a modification of Millwood Reservoir authorized by the Flood Control Act approved 24 July 1946 (Public Law 526, 79th Congress, Chapter 596, 2d session, H.R. 6597).
It was designed by and built under the supervision of the Tulsa District of the Army Corps of Engineers. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed for flood control operations in 1966 at a cost of $44 million. The project was dedicated December 8, 1966.
The Cossatot and Saline Rivers join the Little River in the project area. Millwood Lake is in southwestern Arkansas and is bordered by the Little River, Hempstead, Howard, and Sevier Counties. Access to the project is via Arkansas State Highways 32, 27, 355, and 73. U.S. Highway 71 runs north and south approximately 10 miles west of the dam, and Interstate Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 67 both run in a northeast-southwest direction about 11miles southeast of the damsite.
Millwood Lake is a key unit in the general flood reduction system for the Red River below Lake Texoma. The lake operates in conjunction with Lakes Texoma, Pat Mayse, and Hugo and five upstream lakes in the Little River Basin. In addition to flood control, it also is used for water supply and recreation and to improve fish and wildlife.