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City of Little Rock Public Relations
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Contact(s):Scott Whiteley Carter

Jordan Johnson

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Project Will Be Lasting Memorial to Little Rock Civic Leader

(Little Rock, AR – October 23, 2007) Surrounded by family and friends of the late civic leader William E. “Bill” Clark, President Bill Clinton and Little Rock City Director Dean Kumpuris today unveiled the plans for the thirteen (13) acre William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands Project, which will be a lasting memorial to the Little Rock businessman, philanthropist, and outdoorsman who died earlier this year.

The Clark Wetlands Project involves the restoration of riverfront wetlands adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Park and Riverfront Park in downtown Little Rock. It is designed to showcase wildlife and river life in a restored wetlands habitat for the education and enjoyment of the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to the Clinton Presidential Park and Library and Little Rock’s River Market District.

The William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands Project is the result of a national collaboration between The Conservation Fund, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and the William J. Clinton Foundation. Also participating in the Clark Wetlands Project are Audubon Arkansas, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the City Parks Conservancy, and the City of Little Rock.

The Wetlands is named for William E. “Bill” Clark, an avid outdoorsman and strong business, civic, charitable, and political leader in Arkansas for over three decades. The Clark and Dillard families created one of the South’s largest construction firms, CDI, of which Bill served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Bill built his personal and professional reputation nationally as CDI successfully completed award-winning projects from coast to coast.

As the builder of the Clinton Presidential Library, Bill Clark and CDI turned the attention of the world to Little Rock for innovation, craftsmanship, skill, and quality in completing perhaps the most intriguing, efficient, environmentally-sensitive Presidential Library in our nation’s history.

In remembering his friend, President Clinton noted, “Bill Clark was respected and beloved throughout Arkansas for his leadership, generosity, candor, humor, and ability to make things happen. Throughout his career, he transformed many landscapes, and the transformation of the Wetlands is a tribute to him personally. It is also a major, environmentally-sensitive addition to the riverfront of Little Rock and to the area which is now the home of my Presidential Library and Heifer International world headquarters.”

Clark’s friend and fellow outdoorsman Dr. Kumpuris remarked, “Bill always loved the outdoors and devoted much of his time to preserving and enjoying it. An avid hunter and fisherman, he spent many sunrises and sunsets overlooking the Arkansas River and wetlands, enjoying nature. With this project, millions more will get to share that same experience and do so in the City that Bill loved next to two parks that he loved.”

The Clark Wetlands will provide unprecedented public access to conservation, tourism, educational, environmental, and wildlife opportunities. The project will feature pedestrian trails and an elevated walkway to provide access to the entire site. The Clark Wetlands will also include two bridges that offer spectacular views of the Arkansas River, the channel stream, and wetland and aquatic habitats. It will feature interpretive displays and observation pavilions for visitors, students, and patrons to both enjoy and learn from the Clark Wetlands.

Design for the William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands has been contributed in-kind by Larson Burns Smith, Inc. working with Landscape Architecture, Inc. The $2 million project is scheduled to being construction this winter.


• Arkansas Backwater Sandbar Habitat Restoration and Demonstration Area 
* Total Ecological Restoration ±5 Acres
*Sandbar Habitat 
* Low Marsh
*High Marsh
*Herbaceous Sandbar
*Shrub/Tree Sandbar
*Native Grass, Forbs, Wildflower Seeded High Banks 
* Invasive Species Control 
* Management Plan

• Aquatic Habitat 
* Main Backwater Channel – 8’ deep/5’wide (1000 linear feet) 
* Side Backwater Channel - 3-5’ deep/5’ wide (150 linear feet) 
* Scour Pool – Storm water Outfall – Dissipate Energy 
* Deep Pool – 12’ deep – ¼ acre – Refuge of Cool Water during Summer
*Channels constructed out of 12” diameter pine logs placed vertical – local renewable resource
*Total Open Water Channel Width – 25’
*10:1 Slope from Channel to Low Marsh

• Terrestrial Habitat
*Bat Boxes

• Wildlife Viewing

• Pedestrian Interaction/Education
*Concrete Walks with Railing – 1750 linear feet (barrier free)
*Boardwalks with Rail– 7500 square feet (barrier free)
*Overlooks with Shade Structures
*Constructed Wetlands Terraced with Clay Seal
*Re-Circulate Water – Low flow solar pump
*Solar Air Diffusers – Dissolved Oxygen Supporting Aquatic life
*Native Trees
*Native Ornamental Aquatics

• Storm water Filter and Trash Collection/Disposal Demonstration
*Trash Boom vs. Oil Grease Separator 
* Maintenance Access to Main Storm water Drain line 
* Stormwater Watershed Area
*Educational Opportunities
*Contaminant Filter through Plant Material

• Arkansas River Hydrology
*Controls every aspect of the project from design through construction
*Normal Water Level 230
*Level 233.00 for 50 days of the year
*High water mark 243.00

• Project Budget and Funding
*Approximately $2 Million; combination of Federal grant money and private donations.
*Private funds raised through contributions to the City Parks Conservancy in memory of William E. “Bill” Clark.

• Construction will commence this winter
• Length of construction will be dictated by the Arkansas River

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