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Commission authorizes more than $538,000 for boat access in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously authorized $538,900 from the state’s Marine Fuel Tax program to be used in Fiscal Year 2020 for repairs and upgrades to boat ramps and access points throughout Arkansas at its meeting today.

The money will fund 15 improvements in the next year ranging from road repairs and parking lots to courtesy docks and riprap reinforcements to prevent erosion. Estimated costs for individual projects range from $10,000 for a courtesy dock at Brewer Lake to $60,000 to completely renovate the Perryville Access on the Fourche River.

During Wednesday’s briefing Commission Chairman Ken Reeves of Harrison asked about the various prices of projects planned that appeared similar on paper. Kevin Mullen, chief of the AGFC’s operations division, explained that various factors like site conditions, water level changes and engineering can cause a project’s cost and construction time to fluctuate widely.

“These are big improvements that our constituents have been waiting on,” said Commissioner Bobby Martin of Rogers.

Marine fuel taxes are collected on gasoline and diesel fuel used in boats throughout Arkansas. The money is held by the Arkansas State Department of Transportation and is distributed through a partnership between the AGFC and ADOT.

Ben Batten, AGFC chief of fisheries, said since its inception in 1969 Arkansas’s marine fuel tax has funded nearly $59 million in improvements to boating access in the state.

Projects funded for Fiscal Year 2020 with Marine Fuel Tax funds are:

Repair of an asphalt road and riprap at Don Roufa Highway 412 Beaver Lake Access

Repair of the parking area at Riverview School Access on the Strawberry River.

Placement of rock to prevent erosion around the boat ramp at Romp Hole Access on the Kings River

A courtesy dock on the Arkansas River at the Pendleton Access

A courtesy dock on Brewer Lake

Engineering for a boat ramp’s construction at the Greenville Bridge Access of the Mississippi River

A new parking area and engineering for a new boat ramp at the Barfield Access of the Mississippi River

Placement of riprap to repair an eroded hole in the parking lot of Highway 45 Access at Beaver Lake

A courtesy dock at South Shore Landing on Lake Columbia

Paving a parking lot at Big Clifty Park Access on Beaver Lake

Boat access development at Highway 124 on Cadron Creek

Renovation of the Perryville Access on the Fourche River

Renovation and replacement of the ramp at Nimmo Access on the Little Red River

A courtesy dock at Brady Point Access on Lake Ouachita

A new parking lot and boat ramp at Interstate Park in Little Rock

In other business, the Commission:

Authorized AGFC Director Pat Fitts to issue a permanent right-of-way easement for roughly 0.9 acres to Entergy Arkansas for placement of an overhead electric transmission line on Petit Jean River Wildlife Management Area.

Awarded retiring AGFC Wildlife Officer Lt. Howard “Bubba” Norvell his service sidearm after 34 years of service.

Awarded retiring AGFC Wildlife Officer Senior Cpl. Ross Spurlock his service sidearm after 30 years of service.

Awarded retiring AGFC Wildlife Officer Senior Cpl. Robbie Stout his service sidearm after 24 years of service.

Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with a total original cost of $90,909.85 and a present net book value of $8,128.60.

A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish/videos.