Sunday, October 08, 2006

FFF Places North Fork on Endangered List

The Federation of Fly Fishers has placed the North Fork of Arkansas' White River on its list of endangered fisheries, due to the build up of run-off from recent development.

Homeport Land Co. stripped over 100 acres of vegetation from a mountain top in Northern Arkansas to make way for the construction of new high dollar homes. Without the vegetation protecting the soil, a series of seasonal rain events has created massive amounts of sediment to enter the North Fork. Following some rain events, as much as 15 inches of sediment has collected on the river bottom and floodplain. Prior to beginning construction, the developer did not obtain proper permits, and did not install or maintain any erosion control structures.

I wanted some first hand information on this so I contacted Contributing Editor Jeff Paisley to see what he noted during his recent trip to fish the river. He reported that the fishing was still very good and that while he did not notice increased statement he did notice a definite lesser number of scuds in the water. Scuds are a major source of food for White River trout so any negative change in their numbers could be a harbinger of things to come.

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