From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission:
LITTLE ROCK - Commissioners from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today approved an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore Arkansas River backwater habitat at Rector Brake and Coal Pile.
The grant money will come from the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. SARP is a regional collaboration of natural resource and science agencies, conservation organizations and private interests developed to strengthen the management and conservation of aquatic resources in the southeastern United States. The AGFC will dredge openings in the two areas to increase the overall depth of the backwater. Cost of the project is $120,000.
Rector Brake is a popular backwater for fishing near the City of Maumelle. It is a popular area for black bass, crappie and catfish. Coal Pile is the one of the most popular backwater areas for black bass fishing in the lower Arkansas River. The winning fish from the annual Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza often comes from this area. It is also a top spot for catfish and crappie anglers. Coal Pile is located near Dumas in southeast Arkansas.
In other business, the Commission:
- Discussed various options to end the daily "boat races" at some of the state's wildlife management areas. During waterfowl season, some hunters race their boats to favorite spots on the WMAs. Many of the races occur at the popular Bayou Meto WMA in southeast Arkansas. AGFC wildlife officers will immediately concentrate enforcement efforts at various locations to limit dangerous boating practices that occur each morning.
- Agreed to purchase two one-ton trucks for the agency's construction crews. The low bid for the trucks came from Kent Chevrolet of Mountain Home for just over $74,500.
- Approved the 2013 strategic deer plan. The plan provides critical, long-term guidance for proper management of Arkansas's deer herd.
- Approved grants of youth elk hunting permits (either sex) for the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation also received an either sex permit. The permits are for fundraising purposes and will be used during the October 2013 hunt.