Cathie Brown Streambank Stabilization and Habitat Project, Mulberry River, Oark, Arkansas

Purpose of the project:

This project seeks to stop erosion, reduce sedimentation, reduce elevated water temperatures, and restore a riparian zone of the Mulberry River, a state-designated Extraordinary Resource Waterbody and nationally designated Scenic River. Restoration will take place on private property adjacent to US Forest Service (USFS) lands. This is a cooperative community project that will restore the streambank, reestablish the riparian zone 60 feet out into the floodplain, and educate citizens on water quality and river protection.

Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project will benefit the health of the land and water utilized by citizens visiting the nearby USFS property. At least 20 students from the Oark Public School will assist in planting 515 native trees, shrubs and grasses. They will also assist with the construction of 800’ of livestock exclusion fencing to protect the riparian corridor. An isolated community, the people of Oark work together to help each other. Residents know Ms. Brown’s property and are aware of the unsightly erosion issue she is dealing with. This project is the centerpiece of a historical site known as the “swinging bridge”, originally constructed in the late 1930s and restored in 2015. It is a 150’ long foot bridge that people can walk across from Highway 215 to access the river. Many people drive up and down Highway 215 every day and can see the ugly vertical walls of exposed soil that are dumping sediment into an “Extraordinary Resource Water” and a “Natural and Scenic Waterbody”. This project will have a huge impact on the community and it is likely that the nearby Environmental Science class at the Oark School will use this site as an educational opportunity.

Project Timeline:
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting was completed in the winter of 2015/2016. Streambank stabilization work will be completed during low flow conditions in the summer of 2016. It should take approximately two weeks to complete excavation work. Livestock exclusion fencing will be constructed after rock vanes are installed in late summer or early Fall 2016. Tree and shrub planting will occur during dormancy in the winter of 2016/2017.

Economic Calculator results:
2.5 jobs,
$228,005.91 USD total sales,
$131,883.11 USD value added, and
$86,730.57 USD income.

Partners:
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC),
United States Forest Service (USFS),
Cathie Brown (private landowner),
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
Clarksville Chamber of Commerce –
Johnson County Development Foundation,
Johnson County,
and Oark Public School.

2016 Waters to Watch