LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Feb. 19, 2018 – More tourists, more ducks and cleaner water are three benefits Entergy hopes to see in east Arkansas by supporting a Ducks Unlimited project to restore wetlands near the White River.
"Partners like Entergy make the wetland restoration work we do possible," DU Director of Development Corey Dunn said. "Improvements on public lands like the White River Refuge enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone, including Entergy’s employees and customers. At the same time, we are enhancing habitat for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife we are enhancing water quality and flood protection in the area."
For four years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned to modify the topography of 30 acres of land in the White River National Wildlife Refuge. The modifications will create two reservoirs that would enhance water quality by allowing suspended solids to settle. The project will also enhance the area’s capacity for waterfowl and provide other benefits.
While the plan has been in place, the money to execute it has not. A grant of $150,000 from the Entergy Environmental Initiatives Fund, funded by Entergy shareholder contributions, to Ducks Unlimited provided partial funding for the project. Using the grant from Entergy and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, DU will work with the USFWS to design and deliver the project and several others on White River NWR.
"Entergy is committed to protecting our environment, in big ways and small," said Rick Riley, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc. "Improvement projects we help implement in our local communities through the Environmental Initiatives Fund are good not only for the land and water, but also the local economy. Hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts flock to this part of the state to enjoy the natural resources found there and we’re happy to do our part to help preserve these delicate wetlands."
The project is on the Turner Tract of the White River NWR, which is in Arkansas County. It will begin this fall and is expected to take approximately one year to complete.
The White River is vital to the wildlife-related economy of Arkansas, which accounted for $2.8 billion in 2011. Tourism and outdoor recreation are second only to agriculture in the watershed. This project will enhance wetland habitat in a heavily farmed area, promoting watershed health.
The White River NWR is part of Arkansas’ Big Woods and one of the nation’s largest remaining seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood forests. These forested wetlands are particularly important for mallards and other migrating and wintering waterfowl. The area is part of DU’s America’s River Initiative, aimed at ensuring sufficient wetland habitat in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and more than 13,000 employees.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.