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Commercial fisheries, farmers watch ponds during deluge

Farmers should keep a close eye on stock and fish ponds as more rain is forecast to fall on already saturated ground, says an Extension fisheries specialist with the University of Arkansas system.

“People should be checking on their farm pond spillways, especially if they have any fences or screens across the emergency spillway or trickle tube, to clean away any debris — if they can safely do so,” said Nathan Stone, who works with the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center, UAPB, a partner with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

“If water leaving a farm pond flows over the top of the dam, it can erode the dam and cause failure,” he said.

So far, the state’s commercial fish ponds have remained intact and unflooded, Stone said, adding, “we are monitoring the situation.”

“We are in good shape,” said Margie Saul of Saul Minnow Farm in DeValls Bluff, Ark. “The levees are getting very sloppy, but because of the gravel base, we’re in better shape than some farms.

“When the spring rains finally end, we may find we may have to do work on them,” she said.

“There’s lots of water out there,” she said. “As for our farm, we are up high, but not dry. If it gets us, we know there are a lot of people who have been devastated.”

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