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Beaver Lake Dam IRRM

Dam Safety Risk Management Process

graphic describing the beaver lake dam irrm

Updated Guide Curves

guide curve chart

Estimated Inundation Maps

Newport 21-24 Feet
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Newport 34 Feet
map of newport estimated inundation at 34 feet


Beaver Lake is operated as part of a system of lakes on the White River to reduce peak flows in the river downstream. Three operational changes are being made to reduce how often Beaver Lake is high in the flood pool. Lowering the frequency of sustained high pools will reduce the population at risk of flooding. Two changes modify the direct operation of Beaver Lake and a third allows for faster evacuation of flood storage from the four upper White River lakes: Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, and Norfork.

What is an Interim Risk Reduction Measure (IRRM)?

An IRRM is a series of temporary actions implemented by engineers designed to reduce the risk to downstream populations that may be associated with high water elevations at a USACE reservoir. Since 2017, a series of IRRMs have been implemented at Beaver Lake Dam. These IRRMs ranged from updated emergency action plans to water-proofing the operational equipment at the dam (gate controls) to faster, more effective evacuation of the water from the flood pool. Updating these flood pool evacuation operations was performed in a series of three steps, which are described HERE.

map of the white river basin in arkansas and missouri

Beaver Lake Dam Safety

As part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Dam Safety Program, all water management projects undergo regular Period Inspections and Periodic Risk Assessments.  As a result of the August 2016 Periodic Risk Assessment, dam safety engineers recommended that Beaver Dam be classified as Dam Safety Action Classification 3 (DSAC 3).  Following the USACE Dam Safety process, with guidance from the Dam Safety Senior Oversight Group, numerous Interim Risk Reduction Measures were developed for Beaver Lake Dam and implementation began in 2017.

Since 2017, additional detailed analyses on the White River system of lakes and hydrologic analyses have been ongoing. These analyses have yielded additional IRRMs that are designed to significantly reduce the population at risk downstream of Beaver Lake Dam. Some of these IRRMs have impacts to the lake levels and downstream White River stages. This website provides detailed information about the IRRMs and we hope it addresses your questions and concerns. Please feel free to fill out the comment box or contact our office directly at the number listed. We have an automated audio PowerPoint that describes the Beaver Lake Dam IRRMs and takes about 7 minutes to view.  We also have handouts with related information. 

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