Wetland Management Plans: White Oak Bayou
The White Oak Bayou Wetland Management Plan project began in 2008 with the task of mapping wetlands within the White Oak Bayou watershed. The initial mapping was completed through the use of existing wetland delineation boundaries and aerial photo interpretation. This included creating a geographic information system (GIS) to continue refining mapping efforts within the watershed. To date nearly 1500 acres of wetlands have been mapped.
In 2009 a guidance document was developed which laid out steps to be taken in developing an effective Wetland Management Plan for the watershed. Since developing the guidance document, several other components of the project have been completed. A Technical Advisory Committee was created to provide assistance with scientific and technical guidance, and a Steering Committee of stakeholders was formed to guide the development of the Wetland Management Plan.
In 2010 a wetland assessment project was started to evaluate the ecological function of different types of wetlands in the watershed. Other science based efforts have included the completion of a master's thesis by a graduate student from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), several UCA undergraduate research projects, water quality and biological sampling of the channel of White Oak Bayou by Arkansas DEQ, vegetation surveys by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and documentation of groundwater seeps on the Camp Robinson military base.
A lot of public outreach and education has also taken place including wetland field tours, public presentations, public display booths, and wetland education at Maumelle Middle School. The Cypress Knee newsletter was developed to provide updates about the project and also includes information related to wetland education.