Clinton, Others Unveil Plans for Clark Wetlands Project

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007 11:39 am  

Former President Bill Clinton and Little Rock City Director Dean Kumpuris on Tuesday unveiled plans for the 13-acre William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands Project, a $2 million wetlands conservation preserve that will begin construction this winter.

The Clark Wetlands Project involves the restoration of riverfront wetlands near the Clinton Presidential Library and Riverfront Park in downtown Little Rock. It will be funded with federal grant money and private donations raised through contributions to the City Parks Conservancy in memory of William E. "Bill" Clark.

Clark died in May after battling cancer. He was CEO of CDI Contractors of Little Rock.

Clark partnered with Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock to form the commercial contracting firm in March 1987. Under his direction, CDI grew into one of the state's leading construction companies with revenue that topped $400 million, powered by a roster of high-profile projects that includes the Clinton Presidential Library.

The wetlands project is designed as a memorial to Clark.

"Bill Clark was respected and beloved throughout Arkansas for his leadership, generosity, candor, humor and ability to make things happen," Clinton said. "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."

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

The Clark Wetlands is designed to provide 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.

Design for the William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands has been contributed in-kind by Larson Burns Smith Inc. working with Landscape Architecture Inc.

Other design features:

  • 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

§                   Birds

§                   Mammals

§                   Amphibians

§                   Reptiles


  • 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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