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Saturday, July 22, 2017, 9:38 a.m.

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Environment notebook

By Emily Walkenhorst

This article was published July 16, 2017 at 3:41 a.m.

State gets funding to assist marinas

The Arkansas Department of Health has received $867,454 to distribute to marinas and other businesses operating in rivers for updated equipment, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The department receives Clean Vessel Act grant money every year, state Health Department spokesman Meg Mirivel said. The fiscal 2018 award is up about $237,000 from last year but still lower than the 2015 and 2016 amounts, which topped $1 million.

The funds will be used for boats to pump sewage at a Swaha Lodge and Marina on Lake Greeson and Jennings Enterprises Sugarloaf Harbor Marina on Bull Shoals Lake, Mirivel said. Additional funds will be used for floating restrooms, marine sewage pumps, pipes for marine sewage and plumbing on docks that sends boater sewage ashore.

Forest restoration assessment done

The Mena-Ogden Ranger District of the Ouachita National Forest has published an environmental assessment of proposed burning, cutting, planting and rehabilitation in hundreds of acres of the forest.

The project intends to eliminate non-native invasive plant species, develop road systems for easy access, accommodate for diverse plant and animal communities and provide "sustained yield of wood products," replacing loblolly pines with shortleaf pines and reduce the chances of a disease breakout.

Removing loblolly pines in favor of shortleaf pines, which are native and allow more light to hit vegetation on the ground, has been a part of that effort in recent years.

Burning and non-native invasive plant species work would both take place on 6,834 acres. Thinning by cutting down trees would take place over 1,433 acres, and habitat improvement would take place over 1,253 acres. Other projects would take place on up to a few hundred acres. The Forest Service opted for a method that uses herbicides after reviewing the environmental assessment.

The Ouachita National Forest is home to the northern bobwhite quail, eastern wild turkey, white-tailed deer, red-cockaded woodpecker, prairie warbler, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and numerous fish species.

The assessment and other documents on the project are available at http://bit.ly/2tWXr6v. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 12.

Metro on 07/16/2017

Print Headline: Forest restoration assessment done State gets funding to assist marinas

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