Public meetings scheduled for Mercer Bayou

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TEXARKANA – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host two public meetings addressing management plans for Mercer Bayou in Miller County.

Mercer Bayou is a 770-acre reservoir constructed in 1950, which is owned by the AGFC. It lies within Sulphur River WMA and has a history of excellent bass, crappie and bream fishing. However, as with most shallow fisheries in south Arkansas, it has become overrun with vegetation, and the lakebed is becoming covered in muck and silt, which hinders reproduction of many fish species. The added living and decomposing vegetation have led to localized fish kills in some areas during the last summer, despite efforts by biologists to control it.

“We have been stocking 3,000 grass carp yearlings each of the last four years in addition to annual herbicide treatments,” said Eric Brinkman, fisheries supervisor in the AGFC’s southwest regional office in Hope. “But invasive species, and even native species of vegetation continue to grow and choke out much of the system. There’s only so much we can do through our traditional methods of vegetation removal, and mild winters like the one we just had make it even more difficult to fight the vegetation and keep the sport fishery open.”

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The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

Texarkana
6 p.m., April 11
Southwest Arkansas Electric, Rural Electric Association Building
2904 E. 9th Street
Texarkana, AR 71854

Fouke
6 p.m., April 18
Fouke Community Center
203 East Redcut Road
Fouke, AR 71837

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