US Army Corps of Engineers
Little Rock District Website

Millwood Lake Master Plan and Shoreline Management Plan Revision

General Information

The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Little Rock District, is revising the Millwood Lake Master Plan and the Millwood Lake Shoreline Management Plan. 

The Master Plan guides the management of the government lands around the lake.  The Master Plan affects future management of natural resources and recreational opportunities to ensure the sustainability of Millwood Lake.

The Master Plan revision sets the stage for the Shoreline Management Plan, which is how the vision of the Master Plan is implemented.

The Shoreline Management Plan for Millwood Lake establishes policy and furnishes guidelines for the protection and preservation of the environmental characteristics of the shoreline while maintaining a balance between public and private shoreline uses

This is your opportunity to let USACE know how you would like the lake to be managed for the future.

The planning process will include an analysis of potential effects on the natural and social environment, including fish and wildlife, recreation opportunities, economics, land use, cultural and historical resources, aesthetics, and public health and safety.

Millwood Lake with the dam in the foreground

About Millwood Lake

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.




What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is the guidance document that describes how the resources of the lake will be managed in the future and provides the vision for how the lake should look in the future.  The Master Plan does not address the details of how and where shoreline use permits may be issued, however, it does set the stage for implementation of the shoreline management program. 

Development of the revised Master Plan may include consideration of:

  • Regional and ecosystem needs
  • Project resource capabilities and suitability for various purposes
  • Public interests and desires

The Millwood Lake Master Plan Revision main goals are:

  • Ensure accurate land classification and resource protection for future generations;
  • Bring plan format and mapping technology into compliance with current Master Plan format and technology requirements;
  • Reflect current Corps policies/regulations, budget processes, business line performance measures, and priorities;
  • Address changes in recreation equipment (i.e RV size, vessel size, etc.), facility use (amp service, wifi, etc.), and service demands that have shifted since approval of the last master plan in 1974; for example, there has been an increase in visitation, tourism, and adjacent development;
  • Address demands on fixed resources that have increased since the existing Master Plan was written;
  • Engage partners and stakeholders with the Corps and seek to sustain and increase benefits provided by the lake;
  • Identify issues related to ecosystem stewardship including vegetation and siltation management.


Why Revise the Millwood Master Plan?

The current Millwood Lake Master Plan was developed over 40 years ago and is currently outdated.  The Master Plan revision will classify the government lands around the lake based on environmental and socioeconomic considerations, public input, and an evaluation of past, present, and forecasted trends.

Lands may be classified into one of these categories:

  • Project Operations: lands required for the dam, spillway, offices, and other areas used solely for the operation of the reservoir.
  • High Density Recreation: lands acquired for project operations and designated for use as parks or other areas for intensive recreational activities by the visiting public. New private floating facilities would not be allowed in these areas.
  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas: lands designated for areas where scientific, ecological, cultural, or aesthetic features have been identified. These areas are managed to protect their environmental resources.  Limited or no development is allowed in these areas.
  • Multiple Resource Management Lands: This classification allows for the designation of a predominant use with the understanding that other compatible uses may also occur on these lands, these additional uses may include:
  • Low Density Recreation: lands classified for use for activities such as hiking trails, primitive camping, limited lake access points, and other similar low density activities by the visiting public. Private floating facilities may be permitted in these areas in accordance with the lake Shoreline Management Plan.
  • Wildlife Management: lands allocated as habitat for fish and wildlife, and are generally open for hunting and fishing.
  • Future/Inactive Recreation Areas: Lands intended for recreation, but which were never developed or have been closed.
  • Vegetative Management: Lands designated for stewardship of forest, prairie, and other native vegetative cover.
  • Water Surface: For those projects that administer a surface water zoning program, this will be included in the Master Plan revision process.
  • Restricted: Water areas restricted for project operations, safety, and security purposes.
  • Designated No-Wake: To protect environmentally sensitive shoreline areas, recreational water access areas from disturbance, and for public safety.
  • Fish and Wildlife Sanctuary: Annual or seasonal restrictions on areas to protect fish and wildlife species during periods of migrations, resting, feeding, nesting, and/or spawning.
  • Open Recreation: Those waters available for year-round or seasonal water-based recreational use.

These land classifications are established in the Master Plan and will guide the future update to the Shoreline Management Plan, which implements the Master Plan and provides the policies under which shoreline use permits may be issued for boat docks and/or shoreline vegetation modification.

Project Timeline