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Coalition: Removal of Blueway Designation for White River Would be Huge Loss for Arkansans

Group says duck hunting and trout fishing enthusiasts would benefit from additional resources for the state to keep the river healthy and beautiful.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News Release) - The Arkansas Citizens First Congress adamantly supports the National Blueway designation for the White River. Several groups have been spreading misinformation about the designation and what it means for Arkansas, causing a growing controversy and opposition to the Blueway designation. This is unfortunate, since the designation would do a great deal of good for the state.

The Blueway designation would simply provide resources for partnerships between landowners, businesses, organizations, and public agencies to develop conservation efforts throughout the White River Watershed.

Duck hunting and trout fishing enthusiasts would benefit from additional resources for the state to keep the river healthy and beautiful. Local economies would benefit from resources to fund new fish hatcheries, erosion prevention efforts, and other programs that would create jobs. The state would receive over $22 million in funding from the USDA, much of which would go to efforts to restore damage caused by last year’s drought.

Now the state risks losing millions in potential resources because public opinion is being driven by misinformation and paranoia rather than facts and rational discourse. The concerns about the Blueway designation are totally unfounded and being circulated by groups who are misinformed about it. There is nothing in the Blueway designation that will affect property rights or water rights in any way, nor is there any new regulation associated with it; the program is entirely voluntary.

Yet, these groups are convincing some public officials to go against the interests of all the residents who enjoy the hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, and natural beauty that the White River provides.

The CFC urges public officials and constituents to look more closely at the facts before coming to drastic conclusions. In today’s economic climate where federal funding is becoming more and more scarce, Arkansas simply cannot afford to miss out on opportunities like this that would strengthen our economies, protect our valuable natural resources, and draw more business and tourism to the Natural State.

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