The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas, Southwestern Energy partner to rehabilitate Archey Fork
SWN provides $900,000 to fully-fund Phase I of 3-year construction project
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas
Mark Boling, President of V+ Development Solutions, a division of Southwestern Energy Company (SWN), announced SWN’s $900,000 commitment to fund Phase I of the Archey Fork restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas during his keynote address at The Nature Conservancy’s Annual Partners in Conservation Luncheon in Little Rock.
“In April 2012, SWN announced the creation of V+ Development Solutions with the mission of engaging stakeholders to develop innovations and improvements that positively impact environmental stewardship, the economy and local communities. As part of this initiative, SWN approached The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas to help in identifying potential partnership projects that would benefit residents of the Fayetteville Shale,” Boling said. “We are proud to join in the effort to restore the Archey Fork to a condition that will improve habitat for a variety of rare aquatic species, protect and improve water quality in Greers Ferry Lake, and improve recreational opportunities in the area.”
The Conservancy has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the City of Clinton to restore a 3.2 mile stretch of the Upper Little Red River at the confluence of the South Fork and Archey Fork that was straightened and widened in the mid-1980s for flood control.
The river is threatened by sediment from decades of eroding river banks, run-off from rural roads and the clearing of riparian forest. This degradation of the river is contributing sediment into Greers Ferry Lake which provides drinking water for more than 200,000 as well as significant economic benefits through hydropower and recreational opportunities.
“Water quality of both the Little Red River and Greers Ferry Lake is important for the economic vitality of Clinton and the region,” said Scott Simon, The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas Director. “With SWN’s generous contribution we are one step closer to protecting and improving these precious resources.”
The Conservancy has developed a large-scale restoration design-and-build strategy based on the science of natural channel design. The project will require channel shaping and construction of in-channel rock structures to be completed in three phases, with the goal of reducing stream bank erosion, restoring channel stability, improving aquatic habitat and improving water quality. Phases I and II will restore approximately one mile of Archey Fork near Clinton, and Phase III will improve nearly two miles of the South Fork. Construction is scheduled to begin Summer 2013.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas works collaboratively with private landowners, businesses, state and federal agencies, and non-government organizations to conserve and restore the lands and waters of the Natural State for the benefit of people.
Southwestern Energy is an independent energy company whose wholly-owned subsidiaries are engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas gathering and marketing. Additional information on the company can be found online at www.swn.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.