Corps of Engineers’ proposed Bull Shoals shoreline plan impacts boat docks and mowing
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Monday night held its second public workshop in Ozark County this month, this time welcoming residents to a drop-in session at Lutie School in Theodosia to introduce its proposed Shoreline Management Plan Revision for Bull Shoals Lake. An estimated 50 people attended the meeting to talk with Corps of Engineers representatives about the proposed plan.
On Feb. 13 in Gainesville, the Corps hosted a similar workshop where it presented its plan for Tecumseh Park on Highway 160 over Norfork Lake. (See the Feb. 21 edition of the Times for that report.)
Mark Case, project manager at the Corps’ Mountain Home, Arkansas, office said that, after gathering public input and completing other studies since 2016, the Corps has proposed three alternatives for updating the Bull Shoals Shoreline Management Plan, with one plan recommended as the preferred choice.
While the plan includes references to a wide range of factors, the two that are of most interest to landowners who have access to the lake pertain to boat dock permits and permits related to mowing an access pathway to the lake from their property.
The good news, for some residents whose property adjoins the Bull Shoals “take line,” is that the proposed SMP would add 1.6 miles of new zoning where privately owned boat docks can be placed on the lake – but only if the property owner meets the criteria specified in the permit requirements. The proposed additional zoning allowing boat docks is scattered in sections throughout the lake, in both Missouri and Arkansas, Case said.
“It doesn’t mean everyone can suddenly get a permit for a boat dock,” Case said, “but we are proposing to add 1.6 miles of new zoning where boat docks can be placed on the lake. That’s about a 10 or 11 percent increase.”
Case downplayed a statement on one of the handouts distributed at the workshop that said, under the preferred SMP, “Public Recreation Area lands would be reduced from 139.4 to 52.8 miles,” a change of about 87 miles. This term – Public Recreation Area lands – does not pertain to areas such as campgrounds and other public accesses but is, in essence, a renaming of areas originally laid out in 1974, when “they didn’t have a plan – they just had a map,” Case said.
He stressed that “no parks are going away on this plan. This is mainly about boat docks and mowing permits. There is no assault on recreation by the Corps. In fact, the Corps is in the recreation business. This plan is not taking any permits away from anybody. If you have a valid permit with the Corps, and you’re legal and compliant with the permit requirements, you will keep that permit.”
Additional workshops and comment opportunities
The Corps will host additional Bull Shoals Lake Shoreline Management Plan update workshops from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight (Feb. 28) at Quality Inn Convention Center, 1210 U.S. Highway 62/65N in Harrison, Arkansas, and from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Forsyth Public School cafeteria, 178 Panther Road in Forsyth.
The draft documents are also online at: https://go.usa.gov/xnpue.
The public’s input can be made at any time during the public comment period, which runs through March 16. Comments can be mailed to the Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, Programs and Project Management Division, ATTN: Bull Shoals SMP, P.O. Box 867, Little Rock, AR 72203-0867 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. An on-line fillable comment card is available at https://go.usa.gov/xnpue.
The Corps announced a temporary halt to new shoreline use requests in April 2016 to facilitate the SMP revision process, which will remain in effect until the completion of the plan.