White River Recognized as National Blueway


Map care of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Map care of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Today, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes announced that the White River has been named the nation’s second National Blueway.  National Blueways are nationally significant rivers ( and their watersheds) that are highly valued for the recreational, cultural, and ecological assets for the communities that depend on them.

A group shot of the many representatives from various federal, state, local and conservation agencies that worked to make the designation a reality. Photo by Z.Clift

A group shot of the many representatives from various federal, state, local and conservation agencies that worked to make the designation a reality. Photo by Z.Clift

As part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, today’s designation recognized the innovative partnerships that are working to conserve the White River across its watershed from the Ozarks to the Mississippi. Federal leaders also announced a series of new initiatives aimed at supporting the new National Blueway.

The White River hosts some impressive numbers. It flows for 772 miles from its headwaters in the Ozarks to its mouth at the Mississippi River and drains a watershed spanning 17.8 million acres across 60 counties in two states. It is a vital part of the wildlife-related economies of both Arkansas and Missouri. And in short, healthy rivers and watersheds are vital–providing not only outdoor recreation, but also clean water and flood and drought protection.


Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes with Arkansas Canoe Club Conservation Chair Debbie Doss. Photo by Z. Clift

In the press conference today at the Peabody in Little Rock, representatives from various federal, state, local and conservation agencies met to hear the announcement and learn more about the initiatives that are being created to support this important river.  Present at the designation were  federal partners from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Senator Mark Pryor, Executive Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism Richard Davies,  who made a speech on behalf of Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe,the mayor of Clarendon, and leaders from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Arkansas Canoe Club, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and more. All together 26 groups came together in a partnership to make the designation a reality.

Along with this announcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also said that they have  approved a 101,110-acre expansion to the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge-one of the White River’s main tributaries-that will protect floodplain habitat.

Another announcement was from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, who said they are moving forward with the Lower Cache River Basin Restoration Project, which will increase fish and wildlife habitat.

The National Blueways System was created last year by Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior.  The goal of the system if to advance a watershed-wide approach to conservation, outdoor recreation, and other economic opportunities that rivers provide. The other National Blueway is the Connecticut River and Watershed in New England.

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Posted in Outdoors, Travel Arkansas
10 comments on “White River Recognized as National Blueway
  1. Joel Clark says:

    I like. Wish this could have happened years ago.

  2. Arkansas Red says:

    Joel’s right. It should have happened years ago, but glad it did.

  3. Eric Esche says:

    Which are the next rivers in Arkansas to be nominated to be National Blueways?

  4. Mike Fivecoat says:

    These rivers are truly amazing, so beautiful. I love to be on the White fly fishing when the fog had settled in !! What a sight.

  5. hillbillypatriot says:

    This should never happen. Landowners in this area are about to get stuck from the backside by the government.

  6. SWEPCO has proposed constructing a 345 kV power line along the upper White in Carroll County. It will consist of 150′ poles with a 150′ right of way. One proposed route will be very close to the river and run parallel for approximately 2 miles.

    This should not be allowed to happen especially after the National Blueway designation.

  7. Alan says:

    just another way to take away private property rights.

  8. enough government already says:

    Was at meeting yesterday on Bluway designation and all parties are pulling nomination due to public outcry. Was nothing more than a land grab with an unaccountable and unelected bureaucracy that would be controlling 18 million acres of land in AR

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "White River Recognized as National Blueway"
  1. […] Huckabee parroted Burlsworth’s nonsense that local officials weren’t involved. You’ll see from the news release in January that heads of the state Game and Fish and Parks agencies were among those on hand for the rollout. Also, many local officials were on hand for this event. […]

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