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Little Rock District   
Millwood Lake Master Plan / Shoreline Management Plan Revision

Master Plan & Shoreline Management Revision

The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Little Rock District, has revised 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

The revision process provides an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide input to the Master Plan and Shoreline Management Plan as to the potential effects on the natural and social environment, including fish and wildlife, recreation opportunities, environmental justice, economics, land use, cultural and historical resources, aesthetics, and public health and safety.

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 were:

  • 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;

What is a Shoreline Management Plan?

The Millwood Lake Shoreline Management Plan is the required USACE approval document (ER 1130-2-406) that protects and manages the shorelines of all Civil Works water resource development projects under Corps jurisdiction in a manner which will promote the safe and healthful use of these shorelines by the public while maintaining environmental safeguards to ensure a quality resource for use by the public.

The Millwood Lake SMP main objectives are to manage and protect the shoreline, to establish and maintain acceptable fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetic quality and natural environment conditions and to promote the safe and healthful use of the lake and shoreline for recreational purposes.

Shoreline Management Plan Shoreline Allocations

On Millwood Lake, shoreline may be allocated into one of these categories:

• Limited Development Areas—Areas where boat docks and other shoreline use activities are permitted.

• Public Recreation Areas—Areas adjacent to or within parks which restricts the issuance of shoreline use permits. 

• Protected Shoreline Areas – Areas designated to protect aesthetic, environmental, and fish and wildlife values.  No Shoreline Use Permits for floating or fixed recreation facilities will be allowed in protected areas.

• Prohibited Access Areas— Areas in which public access is not allowed or is restricted for health, safety or security reasons. These could include hazardous areas near dams, spillways, hydro-electric power stations, work areas, water intake structures, etc.  No shoreline use permits will be issued in Prohibited Access Areas.

(These four shoreline allocations are designated by 36 CFR 327.30 and ER 1130-2-406)

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 NEPA?

The National Environmental Policy Act is our basic national charter for protection of the environment. It is foremost a procedural law that helps ensure that federal decision makers take a hard look at the potential effects of a proposed action and allow the public and other stakeholders to comment on the federal agency’s effects analysis and consideration of reasonable alternatives. The NEPA analysis helps these decision makers understand the environmental consequences of the alternatives in comparative form before making a decision. This “hard look” is informed by the public and other stakeholders, starting with a project or study’s scoping phase.

graphic describing the national environmental policy act
* click the image to enlarge 

The environmental review process that accompanies Corps planning studies and its value to the public are not always easy to understand. Recognizing this, and to help the public and organizations effectively participate in federal agency environmental reviews, the Council on Environmental Quality wrote the informational A Citizen’s Guide to the NEPA