Posted on September 14, 2022
The Army Corps of Engineers is looking to buy land on Beaver Lake that wasn’t purchased when the lake was first built decades ago.
They say this land acquisition study impacts about 500 landowners around Beaver Lake, who have all been notified. On average, the Corps wants to purchase one-fourth of an acre from each landowner.
“The Corps of Engineers should have bought that land in the first place but didn’t have the same technology as we do now back in the 50s,” said Jay Townsend, Chief of Public Affairs for the Army Corp of Engineers Little Rock District. “So, what we are doing now is trying to go back and right the wrong. So, they’ve had land that we’ve been putting water on for almost 70 years now.”
Townsend says the Corps presented two options during its first public scoping workshop earlier this year. One was to take no action and the other was to purchase the land needed regardless of whether the landowner was willing to sell. Based on the first round of public input, the Corps has added another option called the willing seller alternative.
“We believe there are enough willing sellers out there that we can purchase some land, enter into agreements with people that we are not having to dispute with over several, several years,” he said. “So we think this willing seller alternative is a good blend of what we heard from the public comments.”
Terry Fredrick owns lakefront property on the south part of Beaver Lake and attended the Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting. He says he doesn’t plan to sell the land to the Corps because he likes the land in front of his house being private property.
“I’m happy they changed their mind. I called Senator Boozman’s office a couple of time, I know others did too to say their heavy-handed approach got a lot of opposition,” Fredrick said.
Townsend says the Corps of Engineers is looking to buy the land now because funding is available.
“We’ve all enjoyed Beaver Lake for the last 70 years and we’d like to enjoy it for another 50 to 70 years and one way to do that is to ensure that we have the correct amount of land needed to protect the reservoir,” Townsend said.