New press! But more press(ure) needed!
This past week, the Central Delta Argus-Sun ran our story (http://argussunonline.com/editionviewer/?Edition=8210e7c1-25f5-47dd-97f8-2a009042571f&Section=0), and yesterday the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published an opinion piece (http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/jul/11/save-our-bridge-20160711/). Be sure to check these out! We're getting some good press coverage.
BUT we really need phone calls, emails, and snail mails going - we need public outcry! It's especially important to contact Keith Weaver at the Cache River Wildlife Refuge. If possible, call and/or write Keith Weaver (every day!) and urge his cooperation and support in re-examining old hydrology studies. Then contact elected officials and ask them to be a voice for us as well.
Be aware that you may hear "reasons" for demolition of our bridge, but these are simply excuses to avoid a re-examination of old data. The changes to the western berm that have already been done merit that re-examination. The federal officials may say they have no jurisdiction over state, and the state officials may say they have no sway with the federal, but this is simply not true. Everyone can be a voice for this project and should be willing to at least take another look.
As mentioned in the previous news post, we have three action items you can participate in:
Write a letter and make phone calls to key USF&WS and AHTD officials, asking them to meet with USGS for the purpose of RE-studying the hydrology flow and eco-system impact of removing vs. leaving the bridge in place (contact information below).
Write letters and make phone calls to elected officials (especially the Arkansas Congressional delegation in Washington), asking them to apply pressure to achieve such a meeting between USF&WS, USGS, and ATHD officials for the purpose of RE-studying the hydrology flow (since removal of a significant of the western berm) and eco-system impact of removing vs. leaving the bridge in place. Also emphasize to elected officials that this is a literal bridge to economic development for all of Eastern Arkansas.
Join "Friends of the Bridge" with your donation today. Should public outcry fail, we need funds for depositions, testimony, and filings in the lawsuit that we are mounting in order to help bring AHTD and USF&WS to the table to meet with USGS experts.
Be sure to keep all contact polite and gracious but insistent that there is a way to save the bridge and still benefit all stakeholders. Start calling or emailing as soon as possible! Contact information is below:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Mr. Keith Weaver
Project Leader, Cache River National Wildlife Refuge
26320 Highway 33 South
Augusta, AR 72006
870-347-2614, ext. 207 OR 870-347-3038, ext. 207
Note: If you get to speak with Mr. Weaver, be sure to congratulate him on being awarded the Paul Kroegel Refuge Manager of the Year Award! This is an honor to him for his 31-year career in conservation, and we are proud of his work and this deserving award.
Arkansas Highway Commissioners:
Contact all commissioners via email at http://www.arkansashighways.com/commission.aspx
A Sample Postcard Message to Mr. Weaver & AHTD Commissioners
Please support our efforts to save the historic White River Bridge at Clarendon for tourism use. It is crucial to economic development for the Delta. We are seeking new hydrology and eco-studies due to the removal of approximately 1.8 miles of dirt berm already. New studies will benefit all stakeholders. Please meet with USGS officials and reconsider this issue.
Federal elected officials:
Senator John Boozman
Email at https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
or mail to
The Honorable John Boozman
1401 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 155 Little Rock, AR 72201 Phone: (501) 372-7153 Fax: (501) 372-7163
Washington, DC phone: (202) 224-4843
Senator Tom Cotton
Email at https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=contact
or mail to
The Honorable Tom Cotton
1108 South Old Missouri Road Suite B Springdale, AR 72764
Phone: (479) 751-0879 Fax: (479) 927-1092
Washington, DC phone: (202) 224-2353
Representative Rick Crawford
Email at https://crawford.house.gov/contact/contact-form.htm
or mail to
The Honorable Rick Crawford
2400 Highland Drive, Suite 300 Jonesboro, AR 72401 Phone: (870) 203-0540 Fax: (870) 203-0542
Washington, DC phone: (202) 225-4076
State elected officials:
State Senator Jonathan Dismang
or mail to
The Honorable Jonathan Dismang
P.O. Box 475
Beebe, AR 72012
State Senator Ronald Caldwell
or mail to
The Honorable Ronald Caldwell
120 CR 393
Wynne, AR 72396
State Representative Reginald Murdock
or mail to
The Honorable Reginald Murdock
P.O. Box 1071
Marianna, AR 72360
State Representative Marshall Wright
or mail to
The Honorable Marshall Wright
P.O. Box 924
Forrest City, AR 72336
NOTE: Also be sure to email or write Governor Asa Hutchinson and THANK him for his unwavering support of this project. He is a big advocate for our bridge, and others of our congressional delegation need to be as favorable.
Governor Asa Hutchinson
email at http://governor.arkansas.gov/contact-info
or mail to
The Honorable Asa Hutchinson
Governor of Arkansas
State Capitol Room 250 500 Woodlane Ave. Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 682-2345
A Sample Letter
Please take time to personalize this and tailor it to your own voice. Elected officials need to know you are personally invested, rather than simply sending a form letter. (BUT a form letter is better than no letter at all!)
Dear [Senator, Representative, etc.] -------:
I am writing in support of saving the historic White River Bridge at Clarendon for the purpose of a bicycle and accessible pedestrian hiking trail. The Friends of the Bridge group is working hard to save this bridge as a centerpiece to their plan for trail connections all over Eastern Arkansas. Their trails project will bring badly needed revitalization to this area of the state, and the bridge will be a key attraction within that plan. It truly is the "bridge" to economic development for us.
Cache River Refuge Project Leader Keith Weaver of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) does not currently support saving our bridge, claiming hydrology and ecosystem life will be improved with demolition. Yet changes to the western approach have already restored a large portion of water flow since the initial hydrology studies, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officials who conducted the first studies concur that there is merit in considering new studies. Therefore, the “Friends” group is asking for new studies to be conducted by the USGS.
With USF&WS officials currently unwilling to meet with the USGS environmentalists, the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department is simply waiting for our idea of saving the bridge to “go away.” Please support our efforts to economically revitalize Eastern Arkansas by personally urging both Keith Weaver and the Arkansas Highway Commissioners to meet with the appropriate officials at USGS in order to re-examine the hydrological model and determine if recent changes favorably impact keeping our bridge.
As local residents, our desire is certainly to protect our wildlife, but we can complement that by also developing this great economic opportunity for our area. With your help, this meeting can take place, and our cause can be heard.
A Sample Postcard Message to Elected Officials
Please save our historic White River Bridge at Clarendon for tourism purposes by urging US Fish & Wildlife officials to entertain new hydrology tests and permit this opportunity for Eastern Arkansas. We need your support for this bridge to economic success.
Postcards still coming...
We're still trying to print postcards asap, so everyone will be able to write again (and again!). Just as soon as we get these, we'll place them around town with a contact information handout. But in the meantime, keep calling and writing. Call every day!
Here is the postcard design:
Front of card:
Back of card: