Free Little Sugar Creek

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We request the City of Bentonville remove the failed Lake Bella Vista dam and restore the flow of Little Sugar Creek.

Dam removal and stream restoration is the fiscally responsible course of action.  Removing the dam will cost less than completely rebuilding this poorly built and poorly located dam. The poor design and location of the dam creates flooding problems.  This in turn results in the associated costs of cleanup and repairs.  Once the dam is removed, the repair, maintenance and insurance costs are reduced considerably and savings can be dramatic when public safety costs are considered.

The dam will also continue to create environmental costs to our community.  The dam affects aquatic health by blocking fish passage, slowing the stream flow and raising water temperatures.  The city's observed practice of draining the reservoir when the algae builds up and flushing it downstream, then closing the gates and de-watering the stream below the dam is not a responsible practice and potentially opens the city to environmental compliance liabilities.

Restoring Little Sugar Creek will open up another 15 acres of land for folks to enjoy and create more access to the creek for people to swim, fish, float or just relax by a natural, flowing waterway.  The walking trail would remain and folks would not have to look at and smell the poor water quality in the reservoir.  The dam crossing, with its uneven surface, would be replaced with a safe, accessible pedestrian bridge. 

Bentonville city ordinance forbids swimming in Lake Bella Vista and due to the poor water quality people do not use the reservoir.  In contrast, many people gather at the upstream end of the park on Little Sugar Creek to swim, fish and play in the clear, flowing stream.  Removal of the dam and restoration of the stream will open more space for recreation in our community.  

Friends of Little Sugar Creek is a grassroots organization advocating for the cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to rebuilding the failed dam.  The Bentonville City Parks Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend to the Bentonville City Council to remove the dam and restore the flow of Little Sugar Creek.  The  Council is expected to vote on the recommendation in late July or early August.  The "pro-dam" contingent, led by one sitting Bentonville Councilman, is working hard to derail the Parks Advisory Board's recommendation and organize a "save the lake" group.  We need your support to show the Bentonville City Council that the vast majority understand the importance of being good stewards of our natural resources in the Ozarks.  

This is a federally-funded project on a publicly-owned waterway, so EVERYONE's voice counts. Please help to stop the dam builders by signing this petition to the Bentonville City Council.  Let's FREE LITTLE SUGAR CREEK for all to enjoy.


Friends of Little Sugar Creek