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Volunteers cleaning up the shoreline of Crooked Creek and planting native trees and shrubs to stabilize the banks.

Volunteers cleaning up the shoreline of Crooked Creek and planting native trees and shrubs to stabilize the banks.

More than a dozen college students joined other volunteers and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission personnel on a chilly Saturday to plant about 400 trees and shrubs on flood-ravaged areas of two creeks in north Arkansas.

Most of the plantings were on Crooked Creek, the internationally renowned smallmouth bass fishery. The work was just north of the Harmon community in eastern Boone County. Other plantings were on Ponca Creek near the AGFC’s Ponca Elk Education Center.

The Crooked Creek work was part of a renovation project to counter damage done by flooding. Two years ago, another project helped with problems downstream on the creek near Yellville.

David Evans of the AGFC’s Stream Team was in charge of the work near Harmon. He said, “We planted a variety of trees and shrubs. Every species we put in produces nuts or berries. Which are very wildlife friendly.”

The plantings were done on the creek’s bank several feet above the water’s surface. Previous work had involved using heavy equipment to move large boulders and down trees into positions to help the creek’s flow and to restore habitat favorable to fish spawning.

Four students drove from Jonesboro to do the plantings. They were members of the Wildlife Club at Arkansas State University. A van full of University of Ozarks students came up from Clarksville for the planting activities. Hal Johnson came from Rogers, Eli Evans came from Harrison and Gwen Allison came from Guy to wield shovels.
Students were Nena Evans, Chris Thigpen, Jonathan Wagner, Joe Sellers, Alexander Wern, Richard Rumpf, Trent Ueunten, Janett Cisneros, Lauren Ray, Heather Hill, Natalie Roda and Elliot Sharp.

The trees and shrubs were scattered along the creek with the various species spaced apart. Some of the species that went into the ground were black walnut, white oak, redbud, dogwood, serviceberry, beauty berry and catalpa.
Crooked Creek rises in northern Newton County, flows north through the middle of Harrison then turns east and meanders to the White River between Cotter and Buffalo City.

It is picturesque, and it is fish-rich. The smallmouth action has drawn anglers from near and far for generations, and this built the creek’s deserved reputation. Several other species are numerous and attractive to fishermen – largemouth bass and several members of the bream family plus channel catfish and flathead catfish.

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