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Outdoors: Commission OKs wildlife area

LITTLE ROCK — A wildlife management area around Lake Maumelle, operated on a yearly agreement since 2010, became a fixture Thursday with approval of a long-term lease by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The land is nearly 10,000 acres around the lake, and the management area will include the lake itself. It is owned by Central Arkansas Water.

The new management area will be open to public hunting. It totals 18,861 acres — 9,861 of this land and 8,000 acres of the lake.

The Game and Fish Commission and Central Arkansas Water agreed on a 99-year conservation easement. AGFC will pay CAW $1 million in three annual installments with 75 percent of the money coming from federal sources — Pittman-Robertson Act funds which are excise taxes paid by purchasers of hunting and shooting items.

The cost figures about $1 an acre, considerably less than other land leased for hunting purposes by the AGFC and by private hunting clubs or individuals.

The leased land will formally be the Maumelle River Wildlife Management Area. Operation of the management area will include following “CWA Lake Rules,” according to the agreement. The rules include no swimming, among other specifications.

AGFC will conduct game population surveys, operate check stations and “expend best efforts” to prevent unauthorized burning, illegal timber cutting, illegal dumping, road damages and trespassing. Wildlife food plots, also called wildlife openings, will be created by AGFC. Boundaries will be marked and signs erected by AGFC.

Lake Maumelle, west of Little Rock, supplies water for the Little Rock area through Central Arkansas Water. The lake was completed in 1958 and has fishing for striped bass, white bass, black bass, crappie, bream and catfish. The AGFC operates Frank Lyon Nursery Pond on its south side.

The CAW land in the lake’s watershed has good numbers of squirrel and deer, fair numbers of turkeys and several other species of game animals and birds.

In another action Thursday, AGFC Wildlife Officer Shad Cruce, stationed in Izard County, was recognized as the Arkansas Wildlife Officer of the Year, chosen by the national Wild Turkey Federation.

The commissioners agreed to donate a used vibratory roller, a road construction machine, to North Arkansas Community College at Harrison for use in its heavy equipment teaching program. In return, the college will refurbish AGC machinery in the future.

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