(Arkabutla Lake, MS) Arkabutla Lake is popular with lots of people, but many stay away because the water here normally has the look and consistency of chocolate milk.
But rangers noticed something different this year.
”Normally this is a turbid lake. It’s got a muddy color to it and we noticed it was a lot cleaner” said Ernie Lentz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
And he means, a LOT.
In fact, the clarity of the water here right now rivals that of Sardis, and even Grenada lakes.
Normally, the lake doesn’t look anywhere close to this good until the dry season in late August or September.
Why the change? The answer is startling.
During last year’s drought, many areas of the lake grew thick vegetation. Now, all that growth is helping filter the water flowing into the lake from the Coldwater River.
It also affected the many creeks and streams that feed into the lake.
”All that vegetation in the mouth of these creeks and everything in filtering the water as it comes in, holding that sediment and it’s now flowing into the main body of the lake.”
Lentz says there’s almost no farming along the shore of the lake anymore, and that means less runoff.
He says the new, cleaner water here has turned a lot of heads.
”The old timers, folks have said they’ve never seen it like this and all my years, 18 years with the Corps, I’ve never seen it like this.”
Lentz says he doesn’t know how long it will last, but he hopes it’s a long time.