Commission approves purchase of Stone Prairie in Faulkner County

LITTLE ROCK – Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the purchase of 989 acres known as Stone Prairie from The Nature Conservancy at today’s scheduled meeting. The property, which borders a portion of the Camp Robinson Special Use Area, will be added to the Commission’s system of wildlife management areas for public use with a special emphasis on quail restoration.

“Stone Prairie has an ideal mix of open lands that lend well to our northern bobwhite initiative,” said Steven Fowler, assistant chief of the AGFC’s wildlife management division, during a briefing on Wednesday. “It’s proximity to Camp Robinson (special use area) makes it a good fit to expand hunting opportunities in that area.”

The purchase of the property will be derived from unobligated Federal Wildlife Restoration Program Grant funds and the property will remain a separate WMA from the Camp Robinson complex, incorporating its established name in its new title – Stone Prairie WMA.

In other business, the Commission:

Recognized nine employees with a total of 185 years of service for their commitment to the people and natural resources of Arkansas.

Heard a presentation from Arkansas State Senator Terry Rice concerning questions about enforcement of feral hog laws.

Approved a budget increase of $1 million to advance the payment on the 1,390-acre addition to Frog Bayou WMA in Crawford County.

Approved the removal of equipment and inventory with an original value of $430,236.05 and a current net book value of $7,198.82.

Approved a budget increase of $400,000 to the Fiscal Year 2017 agency budget for the purchase of agency vehicles.

Approved a budget increase of $2.8 million to the Fiscal Year 2017 agency budget for the purchase of capital equipment.

Awarded Russ Carmack, retiring enforcement captain, his service sidearm.

Approved the purchase of 1.3 acres of property on Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir for the development of a new bank-fishing access.

Approved an agreement to partner with the National Wild Turkey Federation in the creation of an Arkansas R3 (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) coordinator to increase interest and participation in hunting and angling.

Approved the disposal of conservation easement rights on a small portion of Moro Big Pine Natural Area Wildlife Management Area bordering Arkansas Highway 167 to facilitate the transfer of property needed to expand the highway.

Heard the first official reading of proposed hunting regulations changes for the 2017-18 hunting season before they are submitted for public comment.

Heard the first official reading of the removal of game fish limits and the minimum length limit on largemouth bass on Mercer Bayou in preparation for a renovation of that lake.

Approved the vision statement for the newly developed Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division.