LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – The American Fisheries Society recently recognized the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for its efforts to provide the public with high-quality fishing opportunities and aquatic education programs.
The Fisheries Administrator's Section annually recognizes outstanding fisheries conservation projects and programs that are funded from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sport Fish Restoration program, commonly known as the Wallop-Breaux or Dingell-Johnson grant program.
Arkansas won the 2010 Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Habitat Improvement Award for its work on the Dry Run Creek Enhancement Project. Dry Run Creek is a very popular trout fishery near Norfork Lake in northern Arkansas near Mountain Home. Only youths under 16 and mobility impaired anglers may fish Dry Run Creek.
The fishery was created with the completion of the Norfork dam and the nearby Norfork National Fish Hatchery in the 1940s and 1950s. Over time, the area suffered from erosion and the habitat was further degraded with a major flood in April 2008.
Because of the importance and popularity of the fishery, the AGFC and a consortium of partners, including the Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, Trout Unlimited, USFWS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pooled its resources and talents to enhance the habitat for the fish and to provide better access for anglers.
The habitat improvements included deep pools to provide refuge, stabilizing the eroding shoreline and reconstructing critical overhead cover destroyed by the flood. These improvements have been very important to the local economy because of the heavy use of the area by anglers. To learn more about Dry Run Creek, go to: Dry Run Creek on the AGFC's website, www.agfc.com.
AGFC Chief of Fisheries Mark Oliver says he was honored to receive the award on behalf of the agency.
"This is a very prestigious award. We have worked hard on this project and made it an outstanding fishing opportunity for the anglers of Arkansas," Oliver said.
Three other agencies were recognized, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The USFWS's Sport Fish Restoration Program has provided more than $6 billion to state fisheries agencies since the program's inception in 1950. The program provides critical funding to state agencies for their fisheries conservation and management programs. Additional information on this program can be found at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm. The American Fisheries Society is the nation's leading organization of professional fisheries scientists. Its membership includes fisheries scientists from all 50 states, as well as international members.