Watershed update: No report from the sheriff for the moment on the cutting of trees near Lake Maumelle


NO RETURN: This photo is by Rhonda Patton of an undergrowth tree in the pruned area to improve an owner’s eyesight.

Prosecutor Larry Jegley says he is still awaiting the sheriff’s report on his investigation into the logging of the Central Arkansas Water property in the Maumelle Lake watershed to improve the view from Dennis Rainey’s house overlooking the lake.

Rainey claimed he was authorized to cut pines and fell trees by a water department employee years ago, but this was disputed by a retired CAW employee and the widow of the Executive Rainey said he had given this permission.

Rhonda Patton, who lives in the area and first saw the cutting of trees, including on the Ouachita trail right-of-way, shared a note to me from the CAW watershed manager. He says the water utility completed a damage assessment and found 111 trees had been damaged or removed. Using the Corps of Engineers’ methods to assess the value of the landscape, she told Patton the value was almost $ 110,000.

The public service must first wait for the sheriff’s report to be completed. His lawyer said he was in favor of a criminal mischief prosecution, which could be concluded in part by restitution. If there is no criminal case, civil action is possible. Rainey told the utility’s board that he would like to resolve the issue.

Patton keeps the pressure on those responsible for the water, with photos like the one above. “It’s a photo of a small tree that won’t make it,” she wrote. “This is the story of the understory.”

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