John Brummett writes about a hopeful outlook for Lake Maumelle. He says if Rep. John Edwards' bill to prevent the discharge of wastewater in the watershed can make it through the House it should have no problem passing the Senate as Sen. Bob Johnson has expressed support. Edwards says he has Speaker Robbie Wills on board, so that should help things along.
Brummett also mentions that an appraisal of over 800 acres of sod farm land in the western part of the watershed has been completed. Central Arkansas Water has told the Times they cannot release a specific dollar amount yet, but Brummett estimates six million-ish. According to CAW, the nonprofit Trust for Public Lands would pay for the land initially and money from the state's General Improvement Fund, along with other funds from Game and Fish and CAW, would be used to pay TPL back. Game and Fish would manage the land as a wildlife management area.
UPDATE: Marie Crawford of Central Arkansas Water calls to say the amount of the appraisal is $5,427,000. That's $6,750 per acre for 804 acres. Ideally, the Trust for Public Lands would buy the property from developer Jay DeHaven. Graham Rich, CEO of CAW, says he was a little surprised by the amount of the appraisal. In 2007, CAW bought land from Deltic Timber at a rate of $12,021 per acre.
"It’s a deal between Mr. Dehaven and the Trust for Public Lands," Rich says. "My guess is the price is much lower than he expected. So I don’t know what’s going to transpire. It was $6,750 an acre which seemed low. I don’t know how much of a factor the current economic situation was, but we thought it was low. We’ll just wait and see what happens."