Date: 9/22/18 1:44 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
The big rain and cold front of past two days has kicked off some interesting migration. Yesterday at Craig State Fish Hatchery in Centerton there was a nice flock of Blue-winged Teal. This morning, first of season (for me) Pied-billed Grebes (at least 10), Northern Pintail (female) and Gadwalls (2). I listed shorebirds yesterday. This was basically the same this morning, with addition of Greater Yellowlegs. I also saw an adult Bald Eagle.

Many of you have birded Centerton over the years. There are many key Arkansas records from the hatchery, which is why is was listed as an Important Bird Area. The hatchery was built in the 1940s because of large, flowing natural springs. The subterranean passages associated with these springs – which of course we don’t see when birding – include rare and unusual organisms, like Ozark Cavefish.

I mention this because a proposal for housing development called The Links at Centerton looks to me like it will damage the major spring. Housing would wrap around the north side of the big spring directly across the street from the hatchery office complex. It looks like the spring will be used as a storm water collector. This could mean that all of the run-off including gas, oil, various chemicals including herbicides and pesticides, would flow directly into the spring. A central area in the development would be a golf course – more chemicals applied here, and where will this run-off go, if not ultimately to the springs? And what will become of the rare subterranean organisms? If the water quality is compromised, how will this impact the hatchery?

There was a meeting September 19 in Centerton, but I didn’t know about it. If you live in Centerton, or nearby, please contact any city officials you know about this ASAP. Nothing should be built near this spring. The spring should absolutely not be used to collect storm water. The entire spring recharge zone should be protected. Any chemicals that could damage subterranean organisms should be prohibited. The letter I saw was from an engineer working for The Links. He said he wanted feedback on the proposal. Please give him some feedback ASAP: Hugh Jarratt 1200 E. Joyce Blvd, Fayetteville, AR 72703, 479 521 6686. There is no need to contact me about this -- let the people planning this development know about your concerns so they can make changes.

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