Underwater Arkansas Program Returns This Summer

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LITTLE ROCK – One of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s most popular education programs will returns to the state’s lakes this summer. The program is called Underwater Arkansas and is a series of guided dives where participants gain a new perspective of the state’s underwater environment.

The AGFC along with Ocean Extreme Dive and Travel, SportsCo, Red Apple Inn, Eden Isle Marina and Mountain Harbor Resort have joined forces to offer divers a unique view of Arkansas.

Nine sessions will be offered with various topics covered each date. If you’re a certified diver, you’re practically on the boat. If not, contact Mike Taylor at
Ocean Extreme Dive and Travel in North Little Rock at (501) 812-0006 or Jack Dick atSportsCo in Springdale at (479) 751-0636 to get certified at a special. Divers must be at least 12 years old.

You can rent equipment or bring your own. This year the program has expanded to other waters, according to AGFC watchable wildlife coordinator Kirsten Bartlow. “We’re now on three great diving lakes and we have a snorkel and diving program on the Buffalo River,” she explained.

If you love to dive, or have always wanted to learn, don’t miss out. Make your plans to dive with the AGFC and friends this summer. “We’re so fortunate to live in The Natural State, with its abundance of wildlife and variety of unique ecological areas. We’re very excited about the Underwater Arkansas program because it delves into what lies beneath a lake’s surface,” Bartlow said.

The first dive session is scheduled for June 7 on Lake Ouachita. Fish Identification and Management with Brett Hobbs, assistant district fisheries biologist at the AGFC will be the featured speaker. The program will help divers identify native fish species and learn about management practices on lakes in Arkansas.

Dives, instructors contact information and dates are:

Lake Ouachita
Contact for Lake Ouachita:
Kirsten Bartlow
(501) 225-8544
kpbartlow [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us

  • Saturday, June 7—Fish ID and Management; Brett Hobbs; AGFC Assistant District Fisheries Biologist. Identify native fish species and learn about management practices on lakes in Arkansas.
  • Saturday, June 28—Spearfishing and Fish Habitat; Mark Oliver; AGFC Assistant Chief of Fisheries. Learn how to build and place fish habitat and the safety, laws and techniques of spearfishing. NOTE: There will not be any spearfishing while diving.
  • Saturday, August 23—Arkansas Mussels; Bill Posey; AGFC Malacologist. Learn about the life cycle and history of mussels in Arkansas.

Greers Ferry and Buffalo National River
Contact for Greers Ferry Lake and Buffalo National River:
Eric DeVries
(501) 223-6402
efdevries [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us

Buffalo River

  • Friday, June 13—River Ecology, Buffalo National River; Steve Filipek, AGFC Assistant Chief of Fisheries. Snorkelers welcome. Investigate river ecosystem issues such as water quality, bank management and species diversity.
  • Greers Ferry Lake
  • Saturday, July 12—Aquatic Reptiles and Amphibians; Stephen O’Neal, Stream Team Coordinator. Identify the reptiles and amphibians of Arkansas and their habitat requirements.
  • Saturday, August 2—GPS and Lake Mapping; Carey Wilcoxson, GIS Analyst. Learn how to read underwater topography maps and use GPS to choose dive sites and go geocaching.

Beaver Lake
Contact for Beaver Lake:
Steve Dunlap
(479) 750-3322
sedunlap [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us

  • Saturday, June 21—Lake Ecology and Ecosystems; Ron Moore, AGFC District Fisheries Supervisor. Learn how lakes change over time and how fish and vegetation are affected.
  • Saturday, July 19—Arkansas Mussels; Bill Posey, AGFC Malacologist. Learn about the life cycle and history of mussels in Arkansas.
  • Saturday, August 23—Fish Identification; Stephen Brown, AGFC Assistant District Fisheries Biologist. Identify native fish species and learn about their history and habitat requirements.

For more information on the program, just go to http://www.agfc.com/education-class/programs/underwater-arkansas.aspx or call Bartlow at (501) 225 8544 or email kpbartlow [at] agfc [dot] state [dot] ar [dot] us. Dive dates fill up fast and each excursion is limited to 10 divers, so don’t be left out.