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Environmental Issues

The Arkansas Chapter of the Southern Division AFS has been active in addressing environmental issues as they arise throughout the state and nation. Our Environmental Affairs Committee is part of a rapid alert system which works to respond rapidly to environmental concerns.

The Arkansas Chapter is currently involved in the following issues:

  • AR Chapter AFS opposes S.2554, the Water Resources Development Act of 2004 in summer 2004 form Letter
  • AR Chapter AFS supports Wallop-Breaux Reauthorization. Resolution Letter
  • Environmental Issues at proposed construction site for Bass Pro Shops. Letter
  • AR Chapter AFS supports ADEQ Extraordinary Resource Waterbodies. Letter
    • A Resolution By the Arkansas Chapter – American Fisheries Society Opposing the Petition to Alter the Designation Status for Extraordinary Resource Waters, Ecologically Sensitive Waters and Natural and Scenic Waterways in Arkansas Reg2_Hearings.pdf and ARAFSresolutionERW_rev.pdf
  • Black Carp Resolution passed 30-11 PDF
  • Proposed Bear Creek Impoundment.

    The Searcy County Regional Water District has obtained 401 Water Quality Certification from the Arkansas Dept. of Environmental Quality for this project, and the Little Rock District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now considering their request for a 404 permit. This project would significantly reduce the stream flow of Bear Creek, a major Buffalo River tributary, and it likely violates the enabling legislation that created the Buffalo National River.

    • Update 1: USACE denied permit due to proximity of other adequate water supplies (i.e. Greers Ferry Lake).
    • Update 2: Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their decision to deny the 404 permit.
    • In addition, Searcy County Water District has appealed the 404 permit denial. (Jan. 02, 2001)
    • Update 3: Dallas Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over rules Little Rock Office and approves 404 permit.
    • Update 4: Ozark Society files law suit against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers challenging the issuance of a 404 permit authorizing the construction of a dam on Bear Creek.
    • AR Chapter of AFS EXCOM votes to join lawsuit and contribute $200 to cover prospective costs, which will be reimbursed if the lawsuit is won. For more information on the lawsuit - click here
    • Update 5: Dallas Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revokes approval of the 404 permit.
  • Federal Projects on the White River.

    The construction and operation of several large dams has significantly impacted the fisheries resources of the lower White River. The Chapter passed a resolution objecting to a Corps of Engineers project to widen the navigational channel to Batesville from 100 to 200 feet and the depth from six to nine feet deep. This project could detrimentally affect paddlefish spawning areas and mussel beds (including the endangered pink mucket). The Chapter passed a resolution supporting White River system mitigation measures which would improve fishing boat navigation, increase aquatic invertebrate communities, trout habitat, and spawning shoal coverage. The Chapter passed a resolution urging the Corps of Engineers to consider the combined cumulative impacts of the Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, the Montgomery point Lock and dam, and the White River navigation Project on the White River basin in the final Grand Area Demonstration Project EIS. GPADP alternative

  • Involvement in the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee (LMRCC).

    The Chapter took a lead role in lobbying for a LMRCC initiative to organize and coordinate biological research and management efforts in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. LMRCC is completing an Aquatic Resource Management Plan for the lower Mississippi, including a Geographic Information system database. The Plan deals primarily with the restoration of degraded backwater habitats.

Other important issues that the Arkansas Chapter AFS has been involved include:

  • Log Removal from the Lower Saline River.

    Update: Permit was denied by Arkansas Land Commission. On October 25, 2001, the Natural Resources Committee of the Commissioner of State Lands decided not to re-advertise a petition to remove logs from the Saline River. Essentially the petition is dead until the petitioner re-petitions.

  • Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA).

    The American Fisheries Society has worked with the Teaming with Wildlife Committee for years to secure funding for nongame programs. Because funds from hunting and fishing license revenues are devoted primarily to the management of game fish and wildlife, we seek to find funding sources for the conservation and preservation of nongame and threatened and endangered species. CARA, a bill that has been passed in the House of Representatives, would provide a source for such funding from Outer Continental Shelf oil revenues. Arkansas would receive several million dollars per year to use for improvements in air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat protection, and urban conservation projects. We will continue to lobby Congress to promote passage of CARA in the U.S. Senate this year.

  • Crooked Creek.

    Crooked Creek is an exemplary Ozark Mountain stream known for its outstanding smallmouth bass fishery. It has been heavily impacted by gravel mining. The Chapter has joined with other conservation organizations to promote protection and minimize impacts from gravel mining to this stream. The Chapter passed a resolution encouraging the Governor of Arkansas, the state legislature, and the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology to include Crooked Creek as an Extraordinary Resource Waterbody. A bill was introduced in the state legislature, but did not pass. Recently the Chapter has commented on proposed changes to Regulation 15 (open-cut mining regulation). Most of these proposed changes will result in more stringent requirements for gravel mining operations on streams throughout the state.

  • Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA, H.R. 701)
  • Letter 1 : Letter 2
  • Wallop-Breaux Reauthorization of Motor Fuel Tax.

    This congressional authorization transfers motor boat fuel tax funds and small engine fuel tax funds from the Highway Trust Fund to the National Aquatics Resource Trust Fund. If this measure is not regularly reauthorized by Congress, significant reductions to states for aquatic resource management result.

  • Proposed impoundments on the South Fork of the Ouachita River.

    The chapter opposed construction of a third dam on the Ouachita River, which would result in adverse impacts to the mainstream water quality and biota, and could result in additional adverse alterations to the South Fork ecosystem, which includes the federally protected Arkansas fatmucket mussel. Efforts to construct this dam have halted for now, but could re-surface.

  • Proposed damming of the North Fork, Saline River.

    The Chapter opposed the proposed impoundment to construct Lake Avilla near Benton, Arkansas. Construction of this dam would violate water quality standards on an Extraordinary Resource Waterbody, and impact sensitive aquatic species and a quality smallmouth bass fishery. The Chapter passed a resolution and Chapter members testified at an Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology hearing, helping to stop this proposed dam.

  • Minimum instream flows.

    The Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission (ASWWC) has been designated by the state legislature as the agency that sets instream flow requirements on Arkansas streams. The Chapter passed a resolution encouraging ASWCC and the state legislature to adequately consider the needs of aquatic biota in setting minimum instream flow requirements. Stream flow alteration is one of the largest impacts that human activities have on stream ecosystems.

  • Exotic Fishes Resolution.

    The Chapter recognizes that the diverse assemblage of fish species in the state, more than 20 of which are considered threatened or endangered, may be impacted by introduction of exotic species. Chapter members passed a resolution recommending a stringent procedure for the review of any future introduction of non-native fish species in Arkansas.

  • Involvement in the Arkansas River Conservation Committee (ARCC).

    Chapter members established the ARCC with Oklahoma Chapter members at the Joint 1993 AFS meeting in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Mission Statement included the protection, enhancement, and wise use of the fisheries, wildlife, recreational and other aquatic resources of the Arkansas River Basin. The specific goals were promoting biological integrity and habitat diversity within the basin; providing a network for communication among groups interested in conservation and management of the Arkansas River Basin, and promoting needed research and management needs. There is a need to reactivate this committee to promote a comprehensive approach to the use and management of the Arkansas River Basin.

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