Ark. Girds for High Court Showdown v. Army Corps Over Forest Flooding

The Army Corpts of Engineers changed the operating schedule for the Clearwater Dam on the Black River in Missouri in the 1990s in response to requests by Missouri farmers. On October 3 Arkansas is going to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Corps action has damaged the 23,000-acre Black River Wildlife Management Area 115 miles downstream. What's more, the state is arguing that the Corps should compensate it under the "takings clause," a favorite conservative legal weapon.

"BLACK RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA, Ark. -- Poking his finger at the sky, Martin Blaney tried to explain why this forest in northeastern Arkansas is radically different from how it was before the floods.

His pale green brimmed hat shading his eyes from the sun, the forester pointed out the loss of the leafy canopy that was provided by the mature nuttall and overcup oaks that now lie rotting. In their place, he said, other species -- button bushes, green ash and elms -- have taken over, a riot of green growing rapidly in place of the older trees.

"This would have been wide open with real large oaks," Blaney said. "There's hardly any of that left.""

Lawrence Hurley reports for Greenwire September 26, 2012.
 

Source: Greenwire, 09/27/2012