Accomplishments - Past 20 Years
Arkansas Chapter Trout Unlimited
1. Beaver Tailwater Project
- Presented with the Fisheries Management Conservation Achievement Award by the American Fisheries Society.
- Selected as the “Conservation Project of the Year” by TU National as it represented a model project for its collaboration and comprehensiveness.
- Consequently, the project has received outstanding recognition and publicity both locally and nationally
2. Handicap access development
3. Parker Bend stream improvement – proposed “J Vein” project
4. Youth programs
- Support of various school-based programs
- Hooked on Fishing
- Big Brothers/ Big Sisters
5. Annual river clean-ups on the Beaver Tailwater
6. Casting for Recovery
7. Cotter Habitat improvement project
8. Minimum Flow
9. Future Hatchery at Beaver
10. Hosted Trout Unlimited national and regional meetings.
11. Support for the AG&FC
- Trout tagging
- Hub deflectors for dissolved oxygen improvement
- Financial support
- In-kind/volunteer support
12. Financial Support
- TU National’s Embrace-A-Stream grant program
- TU National operational support
- University of Arkansas study
- Parker Bend J-Vein project
13. Dissolved Oxygen Problems.
Part a joint 514/AGFC investigation team into the fish kill in the Bull Shoals Tailwaters attributed/due to low dissolved oxygen during winter nighttime generation. Resulted in the installation of dissolved oxygen measurement equipment in the tailwaters.
14. Part of a joint 514/AGFC effort to stock Spavinaw stream with 4 to 5 inch brown trout to determine feasibility of creating a new and additional non-tailwater resource
15. Spearheaded efforts to establish an additional trout stream below the new Fort Smith dam/water supply.
During the past ten years, the Arkansas Chapter of Trout Unlimited has successfully led a $500,000+ river improvement project on the Beaver Tailwater section of the White River in northwest Arkansas.
The Arkansas Chapter of Trout Unlimited has considered the 8-mile Beaver Tailwater as its “home waters" almost since the inception of the Chapter. Its commitment to this stretch of river, however, escalated with the devastation caused by a 100-year flood in 1990. When the floodgates on Beaver Dam were opened for 10 consecutive days in April 1990, it was a marvel to watch but a disaster for trout habitat in the Tailwater. Typically the normal flow in the Beaver Tailwaters is 20 cfs to 8,000 cfs. However, the 1990 flood increased stream flows to over 51,000 cfs. This water force literally scoured the Beaver Tailwater - eroding banks, filling most of the deep holes and washing away essentially all prime habitat and vegetation. As a result, the trout population plummeted. Given the enormity of the damage to the Chapter’s home water, restoration of the Beaver Tailwater became the Chapter’s primary project.
Almost immediately after the flood waters receded, the leadership of the Arkansas Chapter mobilized local volunteers, agencies and other organizations as the Chapter proceeded to develop a plan to restore this treasured stretch of river. During the months and years following the flood, Arkansas TU forged partnerships with key organizations including the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Arkansas Soil & Water Conservation Commission, Arkansas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Southwestern Power Administration, EPA, other TU Chapters and the U.S. Navy Seabees. Arkansas TU also began the process of submitting applications to required agencies for stream restoration permits. Trout habitat projects are usually done on small streams but this one tackled a large river. The result has been one of the most impressive restoration projects to be found anywhere in the United States. In 1993-94 the American Fisheries Society quickly took notice and presented the Arkansas Chapter of TU with the Fisheries Management Conservation Achievement Award for this work. To date, Arkansas Trout Unlimited has invested over $75,000 in cash and countless hours of volunteer service to the project along with significant contributions from other TU chapters in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. In addition, TU’s partners have made a cumulative investment of over $500,000 in this project. TU National has supported this restoration with two EAS grants totaling $20,000 and a $15,000 Coldwater Conservation Fund award. In addition, TU National named it as a “Conservation Project of the Year” as it represented a model project for its collaboration and comprehensiveness. Consequently, the project has received outstanding recognition and publicity both locally and nationally. In 1999 the Arkansas Chapter was awarded a $10,000 Embrace-A-Stream grant to augment the restoration work with the construction of two handicapped fishing sites. The EAS award has allowed these sites to become a destination point for handicapped anglers from at least a four-state area.