(AGFC) – Just when a multi-partnered Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir
improvement campaign began rolling effectively, nature interfered.
A devastating tornado last spring threw hundreds of large and small
trees and an immense amount of brush into Palarm Creek between the Craig
D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir dam and the Arkansas River. The creek
was blocked, its water flow choked.
This stretch of the creek is the Pulaski-Faulkner county line much of
the way. The creek must be free flowing to take water from Craig D.
Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir to the river in times of heavy
That tornado traveled from the Lake Maumelle area across the river,
destroyed a barn and several outbuildings, brushed a home, jumped over
three liquor businesses then took out a church before slamming into the
thick woods bordering the creek. Continuing northeasterly, the tornado
ravished the Dr. James E. Moore Shooting Range of the Arkansas Game and
Fish Commission and went out to its heaviest hit – Vilonia, where
several lives were lost and millions of dollars of damage done.
Unclogging Palarm Creek instantly became a priority for the
two-year-old Lake Conway Watershed Advocacy Group. The advocacy group,
or LCWAG, has a persistent driving force in State Rep. Jane English of
North Little Rock. Its agenda includes visible results like rebuilding
Grassy Lake Road near Mayflower to avoid flood closures. Another is the
now-completed scientific study of Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway
Reservoir's makeup by Southwestern Energy Company. Longer range, the
advocacy group is working on a permanent plan for low impact development
in the lake's watershed.
Involved in the advocacy group are a number of entities -- Metroplan,
the Little Rock-area planning group, the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission which owns the lake but not the territory below it, Faulkner
County, Pulaski County, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation
Department and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas
Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas Health Department and
two citizens groups -- Lake Conway Citizens Advisory Committee and Lake
Conway Homeowners Association.
The creek was able to be cleaned out quickly using Emergency Watershed
Protection funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural
Resources Conservation Service. The cleanup was sponsored by Faulkner
County, and landowners along the creek contributed to the match by
burning the debris and reseeding the disturbed areas.
Cleaning the trees, brush and other debris from the creek also restores
a hidden asset – a stream for fishing and floating. Palarm Creek from
the lake's dam to the river is not heavily used, but some anglers regard
it as their secret fishing hole. Canoeists use it, too, and it's handy
to the Little Rock metropolitan area. Launching is just below the dam
and under the Interstate 40 bridge. Takeout is at Palarm Creek Park,
near the river.