White Oak Bayou Wetlands Conservancy is a charitable non-profit founded by Certified Floodplain Manager Jim Narey. Jim believed that urban development proceeds best when it balances property rights and interests with aesthetics and wetland system function. White Oak Bayou reduces soil erosion and flooding, cleanses storm water pollution, creates wildlife habitat, and provides opportunities for education and recreation. The Conservancy is committed to encouraging smart urban growth through the protection of the Bayou's resources
for the benefit of all.
THE WHITE OAK BAYOU WATERSHED
White Oak Bayou’s headwaters form mainly in Camp Robinson out of three sub-drainages, White Oak Bayou, Winifree Creek and Newton Creek that then flow southwest through the Marche community, under I-40 and on into North Little Rock and Maumelle where they come together to continue on as White Oak Bayou. White Oak Bayou flows in a general southeast direction before emptying into the Arkansas River in Burns park. The entire watershed is in Pulaski County, Arkansas and contains over 1400 acres of wetlands. Communities impacted by the wetlands include Marche, Blue Hill, Crystal Hill, Maumelle, and North Little Rock.
A key objective of the organization is to identify, manage, and preserve for future generations a substantial portion of the most important wetlands along White Oak Bayou. Much of this acreage is under protective conservation easements. However, the wetlands are not protected from indirect threats such as pollutants from storm water run-off, alterations caused by beavers and flooding, and vegetation changes. Our Wetland Management Plan involves mitigating these threats and encouraging smart growth with green spaces, vegetation buffers, and storm water pollution prevention plans and treatment features. We seek easements for trails and land for creating a public wetlands park with access to the Bayou for kayaking and canoeing.
Whether hiking with the family or leading a group, the wetland trails provide abundant opportunities to observe and study water biology, plant species, and wildlife. School groups, daycare centers, community clubs, and local citizens have a hands-on living science center in their backyard. A wildlife observation deck is located approximately 1 mile from the Maumelle Wetland Trail entrance by the Diamond Center Softball Complex off Country Club Parkway.
Trail development is a central focus of the Conservancy. In addition to the Maumelle Wetland Trail, the White Oak Bayou Trail in North Little Rock's Burns Park leads to the mouth of the Bayou where it enters the Arkansas River. Planned guided float trips are held several times during the year. The Conservancy is working with both Maumelle and the City of North Little Rock to develop a master trail plan and public wetlands park.