Byrd Lake Natural Area Appreciation Day planned
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
July 13, 2018
- Tourists in Arkansas spent $745 million in 2017
- Byrd Lake Natural Area and hiking trail in Pine Bluff sits on second most ecologically diverse waterway in North America
- Volunteers needed to help keep the natural area clean
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PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Residents from across Arkansas are invited to participate in the Byrd Lake Natural Area Appreciation Day. The event will take place from 9 a.m. until noon, July 21 at the Byrd Lake Natural Area, located at 43rd St. in Pine Bluff. Partners in the event include Keep Arkansas Beautiful, the City of Pine Bluff, and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.
John Pennington, Jefferson County urban stormwater agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the outdoor recreation-based stewardship event intended to “draw attention to and take care of a magnificent natural resource.”
“Taking care of natural areas is really taking care of ourselves, our community, and our state,” Pennington said. “Natural areas help provide valuable ecosystem services like primary drinking water filtration, flood attenuation, pollinator habitat and climate change resilience.”
Byrd Lake is an oxbow lake that still interacts with its parent stream, Bayou Bartholomew, during times of high water. The natural area is representative of the boundary line between the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and the Coastal Plain regions of Arkansas. Participants at the event will be treated to a half-mile interpretive hike, and will be encouraged to help take part in active stewardship during the event.
“Byrd Lake Natural Area is an Arkansas gem that needs some help from caring volunteers and interested citizens,” Pennington said.
Like many natural areas in the state, the Byrd Lake area is confronted with litter and other pollution from nearby urban areas — in this case, a major highway and a shopping center. Trash discarded by passing motorists often gets washed into storm drains, ending up discharged in bayous and other waterways.
“Natural areas also add quality of life benefits by allowing for a variety of educational applications and forms of recreation such as biking, hiking and boating, along with retention of our natural heritage,” Pennington said. “These areas also provide economic benefits by serving as tourist destinations, and increasing the attractiveness of a community that is necessary to attract, recruit and retain talent necessary to fuel and sustain community and economic development.
The Byrd Lake Natural Area is a part of the system of natural areas in the State of Arkansas that are preserved and managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Individuals and groups wanting to improve the water quality, wildlife habitat, and quality of life in the State of Arkansas can make a positive impact by joining in this effort to remove litter from a natural area. Residents can also adopt a natural area of their own by visiting http://www.naturalheritage.com.
To learn more about participating in the Byrd Lake Natural Area Appreciation Day and or about protecting water quality, contact Jefferson County urban stormwater agent John Pennington at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.uaex.edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service