by Max Brantley
Central Arkansas Water will do selective timber cutting around Lake Maumelle this summer, work that CAW Watershed Manager John Tynan said is meant to improve forest health and cut down on fire risk.
Sometime in July, Bibler Lumber will thin the pines on around 120 acres at Lunsford Corner on the north shore of Maumelle, near the Hwy. 300 and the Ouachita Trail intersection. A dock was once located in the area. The trail will be closed while Bibler works.
Bibler did selective thinning with a chainsaw crew and “minimal equipment” of pine trees on around 50 acres in the Bufflehead Bay area on the south shore of Maumelle last year. Bibler is paying CAW $44,200 for the two contracts. (CAW is not paying Bibler, as the item originally said.)
Tynan said there would be no clearcutting. He said the thinning will allow sunlight to reach the forest floor and create a grassy understory, which he said “will improve filtration over time.” He said the north shore area includes “fairly flat” places. The contract requires a buffer between the work and the lake, the waterways feeding the lake and the trail. He said contracts require the bidder to “abide by all best practices for water quality” and includes triggers that would halt work in case of drought to avoid the risk of fire.
Bibler will also cut both pines and hardwood in 36 acres in Sleepy Hollow west of the lake, a contract worth $9,700.
Tynan said there is potential for runoff from access roads, but said the roads will be seeded after the job is done. He said there would be very little runoff if there is no rain.
"We are being very conscientious," Tynan said, and will check on the work "weekly if not daily to make sure best practices are being adhered to."
Tynan said the time the job will require depends on the weather and demands on the crew. “It could be a few weeks or longer.” He said the trail will be posted when CAW knows exactly when the work will begin.