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Restrictions OK'd on turtle trapping

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has approved a proposal that further restricts commercial turtle trapping in the state.

The rules limit what is allowed in the already significantly declining commercial turtle harvesting industry.

In 2004, more than 250,000 wild turtles were caught and sold in Arkansas, according to commission data. The commission records 21,533 turtles harvested in 2017. From 2009-17, the number of commercial-harvest and dealer permits that were issued dropped from 91 to 35.

The commission will now limit permits issued annually to 150 from 2019-21, the duration of a study on a possible total ban on turtle trapping in Arkansas. The new rules require the harvester to submit one report per year to renew the commercial-harvest or dealer permit, clarify that people holding wild-caught aquatic turtles with the intent to sell must have dealer permits, and ban the harvest of razorback musk turtles. Trappers can no longer gather the turtles at the Gulf Coastal Plain or the St. Francis River area in Greene and Clay counties.

The commission approved the changes at its Nov. 15 meeting after receiving more than 100 public comments, most of them in favor of the new rules.

8 schools chosen for recycling aid

Eight Pulaski County schools will get $1,000 for recycling programs after winning grants from the Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District.

The district is a state solid waste district operating only in Pulaski County.

The winners are eStem High, Forest Park Elementary, Arkansas School for the Deaf, Oakbrooke Elementary, Amboy Elementary, Pinnacle View Middle, Agape Academy and The Anthony School, according to an announcement from the district.

Schools could use the funds to start or expand recycling programs. Schools will use the money to, among other things, purchase more indoor recycling bins, start paper recycling programs and create educational materials to use when teaching students about the benefits of waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

EPA offers $1.5M to groups in U.S.

Interested parties have until Feb. 15 to apply to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for up to $30,000 to address environmental justice issues in their communities.

The EPA is making $1.5 million available for up to 50 different community-based organizations, according to a news release from the agency.

Environmental justice refers to the effort to address the low-income and minority-group communities disproportionately affected by environmental risks or hazards, according to the EPA.

The EPA has had only one grant project on environmental justice in Arkansas since 2014: a $30,000 grant in 2017 to Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light to start a community garden and a food hub on West 12th Street in Little Rock.

Metro on 11/26/2018

Print Headline: Restrictions OK'd on turtle trapping 8 schools chosen for recycling aid EPA offers $1.5M to groups in U.S.

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