Remembrance of Steve Wilson:

Steve Wilson passed away February 21 in New Mexico.  He was a Norfork, AR resident for several years after his retirement from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  Steve served as Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for 21 years, shaping it into the organization it is today.  He was a very active member of the Ozark Society and was President of the OS, 1976-1978.  Steve and his wife Jo and their children hiked and paddled as often as possible, good or bad weather.

Steve was a born leader as evidenced by the following career successes: He was District Wildlife Biologist for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 1968-1969, Senior Environmental Scientist for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department 1972-1974, Assistant Chief of Highway and Transportation Dept. 1974-1979, Chief of AHTD’s Environmental Division in 1979, Director of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1979.   During his tenure at AG & F, he established the elk herd in the Buffalo River corridor, stocking 112 elk from Colorado from 1981 to 1985.  Then there is fishing! During Steve’s term Arkansas developed into our country’s most popular destination to fish for trophy brown trout; Arkansas also became the inland striped bass stop-over for avid fishermen plus our state became known for both smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing.  The white-tail deer population GREW and Arkansas became another top hunting location.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with the Dept. of Parks and Tourism persuaded Arkansans to enact a one-eighth percent sales tax to benefit Arkansas Game and Fish, the Dept. of Natural Heritage, Arkansas State Parks, and Keep Arkansas Beautiful. He also secured extra funding for adding wildlife management areas and special areas that preserved wildlife communities.

We were always proud of Steve and know he will long be remembered.  Our heartfelt sympathy goes to his family.

I wish to acknowledge credit to Bryan Hendricks (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) for the dates and highlights of Steve’s career.

Closure of the C&H Hog Farm:

Our Buffalo River Coalition has been trying for months to get a closure statement, documenting the actual closure of C & H Hog Farm.  The general comments from DEQ have been that the closure is substantially complete; the waste was pumped out of the ponds, there was some depth of scraping the bottom of the ponds, the pond filled in with dirt and whatever other material that was required.  Then a mound of dirt was pushed up above the former ponds to account for the expected shrinking or compaction of the dirt.  Last,  a required particular grass was planted on the dirt mound.

Turns out the wrong grass was planted, had to be removed and the correct grass planted, hence the closure delays.  At the PC&E meeting February 26, the Director of DEQ and Energy, Becky Keogh stated “We are awaiting the expiration in mid-May of a one-year warranty guaranteeing that vegetation was properly established per specifications.”   “We are just waiting for the grass to grow.”  But, there are more concerns beyond the grass growing, such as follow-up testing of water quality in Big Creek, nutrients, algae and if there is any impact to the Buffalo.