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Top left: A road at Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Van Buren County showcases runoff flows leading to erosion and poor driv- ing condition. Top right: The road following reconstruction and implementation of best management practices, including placing gravel in the road surface and crowning it to drain water from the road surface. Bottom left: A shallow crosspipe and rock armor installed at an angle diverts water away from the road, into a stable outlet with a slash apron, and into a forested area. Bottom right: One of the best manage- ment practices is to compact the aggregrate with a pavement roller. Adding proper-sized road aggregate, and then crowinng and compact- ing the material with heavy equipment significantly upgrades the road to prevent erosion and keep aggregate and base material in place. Photos and photo information courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

A Balancing Act Public and private partners cooperate on road maintenance and species protection

ByMichael Dougherty For County Lines

shared by many for a number of different reasons. Program officials said eroding unpaved roads sometimes channel runoff

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from the rain in a manner that increases erosion and sediment delivery to streams, rivers and lakes. Tat makes the challenge a significant one in a state in which more than 85 percent of county roads are unpaved. Besides making for rougher rides and causing wear and tear on ve- hicles, the problem of deteriorating roads means maintenance problems for road crews (in this case, those of Arkansas counties) and a major bite on road maintenance funds in those counties. Te erosion can dam- age land and clog stream beds that serve as habitats to game fish and non-game fish and other aquatic species. Program officials also said the

he Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program is not yet two years old. But the group is opening the eyes of a number of its members and other observers in its early success in reaching a consensus on attacking sedimentation — a problem that’s

increased sediment deposits make treatment of drinking water more expensive and decreases lake capacity in such sources of drinking water. Jim Boggs, field supervisor of the Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said the Arkansas Unpaved Roads group was formed in a political atmosphere that often stymies such activity. “A number of the members had different reasons for working with the person across the table,” Boggs said. “But the willingness to look beyond agendas and motives and listen to the needs of other members to achieve a common goal seems to be working as the Unpaved Roads group moves to the halfway point of its first project, replacing a small bridge in Polk County.” Te group was formed to develop ways to solve the problem that sedimentation causes — from the deterioration of the roads them- selves to the erosion of soil from the edges of the roads to nearby land and river banks and the deposits that build up in streams and rivers that eventually may change the course of the river and restructure the beds that are home to the Arkansas fatmucket and other mussels and organisms in the state.


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