Annual Habitat Day At Enid Is Feb. 7
By Park Ranger
Enid Lake’s Annual Habitat Day is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7. The event kicks off at 7 a.m. at the Enid Lake Field Office. The Habitat Day organizational meeting for all persons interested in participating will be held at Enid Lake Field Office on Thursday, January 22, at 7 p.m.
As many people are aware, Enid Lake is a flood control project and lake levels are significantly lower during the winter months. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and volunteers take advantage of these lower lake levels to construct fish shelters. The shelters are necessary after 55 years of inundation, which has left much of the lake bottom of Enid Lake void of structure.
Fish shelters provide cover and food for bait fish, and as a result, game fish such as bass, bream, and crappie are attracted to these rich food sources. Over the years, “Habitat Day” volunteers have built various types of fish habitat structures including cedar tree shelters, and stake beds.
This year participants will be constructing cedar tree shelters in the Bean Creek, Hubbard Creek, Wallace Creek, and Wildcat Brake areas. Bean Creek is located on the south side of the lake. Wallace Creek and Hubbard Creek are located on the north side of the lake, and Wildcat Brake is located on the east end of the lake. Plans are to place 1,500 cedar trees and 1,500 wooden stakes in Enid Lake, which will construct approximately 550 fish shelters.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake would like to invite volunteers of all ages to help accomplish this endeavor. Volunteers are needed to perform tasks such as dragging cedar trees with ATV’s, tying and anchoring cedar trees with concrete weights and ties, and driving wooden stakes with post drivers. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring their ATV’s to assist in placing cedar trees in designated locations. If you would like to participate and do not have an ATV, be assured that there will be plenty to do including: assisting ATV operators with hooking and unhooking trees, tying and anchoring shelters, and constructing wooden stake beds.
Volunteers will meet at the Enid Lake Field Office located on the North End of Enid Dam. At the field office the volunteers will register, enjoy breakfast, coffee, and juice, receive safety tips and instructions, and divide into groups to work in designated areas during the Habitat Day activities.
After a morning of constructing fish shelters, volunteers will return to Enid Lake’s maintenance shop for lunch and door prizes. This year our volunteers can look forward to pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw, and dessert. All registered volunteer names will be put into a drawing for some great door prizes. This year the door prizes include a small fishing boat compliments of Performance Marine located in Sardis.
For more information on the Enid Lake Habitat Day Activities contact the Enid Lake Field Office at 662-563-4571.
Riding In Lake Bottom Can Be Costly
Enid Lake is designated as a flood control project with the fluctuating lake levels dictated by a rule curve set at the U.S. Corps of Engineers District Headquarters in Vicksburg.
The annual drawdown begins on the first day of August and, based on rule curve, the Corps will draw the lake from 250 feet mean sea level to reach conservation pool of 230.00 feet mean sea level by the first of December.
On Feb. 1, the Corps officials begin filling the lake with intent to reach the recreation pool of 250 feet mean sea level by May 1. However, lake levels may vary depending on rainfall. As the water recedes during the annual drawn down, the exposed mudflats become an attractant for local mud riders. Over the years countless vehicles have been stuck, damaged, and even abandoned in the lake bottom.
This winter is no exception. ATV’s and 4-wheel drive trucks gather in the lake bottom to put their vehicles to the test. In the past few weeks multiple vehicles and farming equipment have been damaged and/or stuck in the lake bottom. If you are thinking about trying out that new 4-wheel drive truck or ATV in the lake bottom, we urge you to think again.
Although the concept of riding in the lake bottom seems like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, the outcome could be disastrous and costly.
Unfortunately, getting stuck should not be your only concern. It is necessary to remember that a hard rain can bring lake levels up rapidly. In a worst case scenario, a stranded vehicle could become submerged if it cannot be recovered before a hard rain.
Other cases of major damage include body damage, broken axles, and even total losses. The Corps would like to remind all visitors to Enid Lake that it is unlawful to intentionally and deliberately mud ride in the lake bottoms at Enid Lake. According to Title 36, Rules and Regulations, it is unlawful to operate ATV’s or other motorized vehicles (4 Wheel Drive Trucks) in a careless, negligent or reckless manner that endangers persons, property or environmental features.
Operators who refuse to follow established rules and regulations will be cited and subject to pay all fines, appear before a Federal Magistrate, or suffer banishment from Enid Lake or a combination of any of the above.
Corps officials want to remind you that the owner of the vehicle will incur all costs of removing and repairing the vehicles stranded in the lake bottom. Next time you want to go for a “spin” in the lake bottom, remember it could cost more than a tank of gas and some afternoon snacks.