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Restoring Lake Fayetteville, malaria in Arkansas


Restoring Lake Fayetteville

The city of Fayetteville has issued a restoration plan for Lake Fayetteville. The plan was made in partnership with outside water quality consultants and funded by money from the American Rescue Plan.

The public is currently barred from swimming in Lake Fayetteville. Ted Jack, Park Planning Superintendent for the city said that’s because of algal blooms.

“We're getting a lot of blooms because in the summer, the water course heats up and there's a lot of sunlight and there's a lot of, you know, kind of natural fertilizers and also fertilizers from humans that get in the lake which kind of helps the blooms go beyond what they normally would,” Jack said.

Fertilizer and phosphorus applied on lawns and farm fields around the lake all contribute to excess algae. Olssen Engineers, headquartered in Fayetteville, conducted the year-long $200,000 study. Findings were presented last month to the Environmental Action Committee, including short and long-term solutions.

“One of the methods and probably one of the more economical ones was to use alum which is a kind of powder that can be put into the lake and it goes down to the bottom and it locks up the phosphorus which there's an overabundance of phosphorus which is causing you know a lot of the blooms, so that would help with water quality I think that was one of the most efficient ones,” Jack said.

Along with aluminum sulfate applications, mesh bags of biochar placed in the water column and mechanical aeration could work to cleanse the lake. Construction and erosion have clogged Lake Fayetteville, so strategic dredging is recommended – with a plan to reuse the soil dredged up to construct wetlands.

The plan also suggests planting shrubs and trees to stabilize streambanks and absorb excess phosphorus. Jack said improving Lake Fayetteville for recreational use has been a long term goal.

“It’s not an easy thing to accomplish but it sure would be great if we could utilize it that way, there's a lot of different ways that it that could be used for recreation like triathlons and so forth,” he said.

The water quality implementation plan is expected to be presented to the city council soon.

Arkansas Climbers Coalition hosts social event at Fitzgerald Mountain

The Arkansas Climbers Coalition is hosting a public meet-up to celebrate a new climbing area at Springdale’s Fitzgerald Mountain this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coalition Vice President Andrew Blann said he is excited for climbers to discover this new urban climbing destination.

"So we've been working on opening the place open to climbers for over a year now," Blann said. "It's finally open to the public— people are going out there and enjoying climbing. We just wanted to put together a day for the climbing community to get together, hang out, climb, and just enjoy that new resource that rock climbers and outdoor recreationalists have in Northwest Arkansas."

Blann said Fitzgerald is particularly unique because of its proximity to downtown Springdale.

"It's an urban crag," he said. "There really are not that many urban crags even around the country, and this one is pretty amazing. I mean by far, the best urban crag in this part of the country."

The coalition will provide food and beverages, but no gear or instruction will be available. All climbers must secure and bring both their own climbing equipment and belay partners for the event. You can visit their website or social media for more information about the event and membership details.

New candidate in the race to be the next Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice

A fourth candidate has thrown their hat into the ring to be the next Supreme Court Chief Justice in Arkansas. North Little Rock attorney Jay Martin announced he plans to seek the seat up for election in 2024. The other three candidates who have announced their runs for Chief Justice are currently on the state supreme court: Justice Karen Baker, Justice Barbara Webb, and Justice Rhonda Wood.

Martin is a former Democratic legislator and house majority leader. He told Roby Brock from our partner Talk Business & Politics that he’s running for the position because he is concerned about partisanship in the judicial branch. All elected judicial offices — including Supreme Court Chief Justice — are nonpartisan positions.

State confirms locally-acquired malaria case

State health officials say the first case of locally-acquired malaria has been identified in Arkansas. A news release from the Arkansas Department of Health said the person resides in Saline County and has not traveled out of the country. This comes after a number of other locally-acquired malaria cases have been identified in Florida, Texas and Maryland. Malaria is a potentially fatal disease which is spread by infected mosquitoes. The Health Department said five other malaria cases have been identified in Arkansas this year, but all were the result of international travel. 

Razorback golf sweeps tournament

The Arkansas women’s and men’s golf teams swept the Blessings Collegiate Invitational this week. The final round of the tournament was canceled due to rain yesterday. Maria José Marin was the best on the women’s side, shooting 10 under par, and John Driscoll came in first on the men’s side at 8 under par.

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Jacqueline Froelich is an investigative reporter and news producer for <i>Ozarks at Large.</i>
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Jack Travis is a reporter for Ozarks at Large.
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