By Laurie Driver
Little Rock District
HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. — To provide the best value to the largest number of people possible during these austere economic times, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Greers Ferry Project Office will stop accepting requests for shoreline use permits from May 15 until Oct. 1.
Examples include applications for new or changes to private boat docks, permits for mowing on government land, and permits for meandering paths across public land to the water’s edge. The Corps will continue to manage existing permits, and permit holders are reminded that the terms and conditions of their permits will still be enforced.
Deferring new shoreline use permits is one of several steps the Corps’ Little Rock District is taking at Greers Ferry Lake and across the district to reduce spending yet continue to provide quality benefits to taxpayers. Greers Ferry Lake provides flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.
Funding for Little Rock District operations and maintenance was reduced by $17 million this fiscal year as national leaders focused on controlling spending in the wake of recession and several natural disasters around the country. This trend does not appear to be going away.
Since the district did not receive enough funds to continue offering the same levels of service that had been provided in the past, officials developed a Recreation Adjustment Plan to provide the most benefits possible with available resources.
At Greers Ferry Lake, working hours are being limited for nine summer ranger positions, and seven other summer ranger positions will not be filled. This has reduced the amount of manpower available this summer. Therefore officials are refocusing manpower from processing shoreline use permits to helping fulfill ranger duties in the parks.
In addition, several less efficient campsites, camping loops and parks have been closed in the district. Seven of 11 Corps parks on Greers Ferry have been affected. Officials have looked to local communities and volunteers to take over operating and maintaining some facilities instead of closing them.
Other cost-saving activities being instituted around the district include reducing inspections of shoreline management facilities, cancelation of boundary maintenance activities, cancellation of pest control activities and timber harvests.