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
- 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.