Cossatot Partnership, by Debbie Doss

Last year we were contacted by Stan Speight at the Cossatot State Parks who wanted to begin a formal partnership with us to help provide stewardship for the river and perhaps work on providing us better access and a Cossatot Committee was appointed.

The Committee consists of, Brian Abbott, Sabrina Mellor, Walter Felton and me. We met with Stan shortly after that and discussed some of the needs of the river. Stan mentioned the possibility of doing a water quality study at that time. We agreed to hold a cleanup on the river as our first activity. Four people showed up for the cleanup; Brian, Walter, Cowper and me. Sabrina is off the hook because she has spent countless hours cleaning the river whenever she is there.

A couple of months later Stan contacted me about the water study. The University had originally given a price tag of around 10,000 dollars for the study but because this study was so important they dropped the cost to about 5000 dollars. Stan was still having difficulty getting enough money from the state budget. I agreed to take the issue before the board and at our last meeting we agreed to donate 2500 dollars to the study. A check was written to the park.

See Mike Coogan’s summary as posted on our message board:

“The ACC recently donated $2500 to the Cossatot River State Park and Natural Area to help cover the approximately $4600 cost of collecting two water samples from three feeder creeks: Flat Creek, Pryor Creek, and Brushy Creek. The first sample was collected in November; the second will be collected this coming April. Ouachita Baptist University is doing the lab work required to analyze the data from the extensive battery of tests performed. The tests included dissolved oxygen, ph, electrical conductivity, sulphates, nitrates, nitrogen, and several metals. These two series of tests will be used to help determine changes to the watershed in the future when it is hoped that regularly scheduled tests will be established and funded by the state. This will be a great way to help preserve the quality of the river; early detection of negative changes will allow the best chance of avoiding a problem. Being a part of this effort from the very beginning is something the ACC can be proud of. Thanks go out to our Board for recognizing the significance of this project and voting to help.” Captain Aleve, alias Mike Coogan

As for access issues, we've been engaged with discussions with the Park, but there has been no announcement because there is no new access - at least not yet. We still have work to do. We would like an access at the Deer Camp just below the Falls. The park now owns this but keeps the gate into the area locked most of the time. They are concerned about vandalism to the area and the structures at the location. This could still be a possibility at some future date.

I wish to express my thanks again to Stan and his staff and also to my fellow committee members for giving their valuable time to helping preserve this wonderful resourse, the Cossatot River.

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