Clear Creek Habitat Restoration
Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States. An explosion of impervious surfaces in recent years has introduced instability into almost every stream network in the region, including Clear Creek, a major tributary to the Illinois River.
Johnson, Arkansas, a small city sandwiched between the larger cities of Springdale and Fayetteville, hopes to restore the ecological function of an 80 acre parcel along Clear Creek and preserve it as a green space for residents of Northwest Arkansas. The property also contains two other tributaries, as well as a three-acre wetland. The site supports numerous waterfowl, wild turkey, barred owl, deer, beaver, and coyotes.
Illinois River Watershed Partnership is working to restore Clear Creek to its former ecologically diverse, regionally celebrated conditions. Once completed, the project should attenuate stormwater flows, treat overland runoff, and provide a critical wildlife corridor through an urban area. Potential strategies include:
-Increase public access and education through mowed trails, boardwalks, bird-viewing platforms, and interpretive signage
-Establish 46 acres of native warm season grasses and forbs for quail habitat
-Remove a low water crossing that impedes fish passage and increases erosion
-Construct a pedestrian bridge to allow access to both sides of the creek
-Reconnect entrenched stream to its floodplain using Natural Channel Design
-Restore the forested riparian buffer
-Improve in-stream fish habitat
* Project utilizes best management practices to filter and/or reduce pollution inputs into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands or near-shore marine areas