LITTLE ROCK — To complete a project started in 1999, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission finalized an an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a minimum flow regimen for the White River below Bull Shoals Dam.
The agreement will provide a consistent flow of water through Bull Shoals Dam into its tail water to improve water quality and habitat for its trout fishery. Trout fishing in the White River attracts anglers from all over the world and is a centerpiece to the tourism industry in north Arkansas.
The commission credited former commissioner Forrest Wood with starting the project, which required cooperation from Congress, the Corps of Engineers, the Southwest Power Administration and the AGFC. A similar agreement is already in effect for the North Fork of the White River below Norfork Dam. Mike Armstrong, AGFC assistant director, said he expects both projects to be operational by fall.
“I just want to continue the thank yous to this commission and to previous commissions,” said Wood, who attended. “I’ve always said I had a higher regard for this agency, the commission and its employees after serving here for seven years. It speaks very well of this organization that this commission will fulfill the promises and obligations of former commissions, and that’s what you have done here today.”
Wood recalled the genesis of the minimum flow proposals. In his first meeting as a commissioner, the group discussed how to partition and allocate fishing opportunities in the two trout streams. A fly fishing zone here, a catch and-release area there.
“I said, ‘Instead of arguing over who gets this little bit of pie, let’s make the pie bigger,’ ” Wood said. “Let’s get minimum flow below the dam.”
Wood also credited former U.S. Reps. Tim Hutchinson, John Boozeman and Marion Berry for cooperating in a nonpartisan fashion to help secure the necessary support in Congress.
Glenn Proffitt, project manager for the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District, praised the commission for persevering and seeing the project through.
“It never would have been possible if not for ya’ll,” Proffitt said.
Stay Fishy My Friends.