March 27, 2019
LITTLE ROCK — The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas recently conducted a statewide poll of likely voters to better understand conservation interests and priorities. Protection of drinking water sources and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats ranked highest among those polled.
A survey was conducted by Gilmore Strategy Group of Little Rock. Jon Gilmore, founder of the group, said he had not seen favorable numbers as high as the results shown from the survey for any other statewide issue or candidate. “It’s clear voters believe in the importance of conservation,” Gilmore said.
The survey revealed voters’ concern for, as well as their resounding support of the state’s water quality. With 98 percent of those polled citing “protecting sources of drinking water” as an important issue for conservation within the state. And 87 percent said they would support efforts to reduce sediment runoff from dirt and gravel roads, a leading contributor of pollution to streams, lakes, and rivers in Arkansas.
“It is evident clear, clean water should be a priority for conservation organizations in the state,” Gilmore added.
“While conserving land and water is a part of our daily mission, it’s encouraging to see positive momentum among voters along with their support of the work of our agency partners, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Department of Arkansas Heritage, and Arkansas State Parks,” said Scott Simon, Arkansas director of The Nature Conservancy. Pragmatic conservation solutions happen in our state because people work together towards improving and keeping our lakes, rivers and streams clean.”
96 percent of the respondents cited the importance to conserve fish and wildlife habitats and 80 percent showed favorable views of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure stated, “The survey results are a welcomed confirmation for the work of our team here at the Commission, but also is evidence for how strong voters’ support our state’s natural resources. The outdoors are a way of life in Arkansas and together we need to protect the opportunities we have for future generations.”
The survey asked likely voters if they favored or opposed Amendment 75, which directs 1/8th of a percent of all sales in the state to conservation. Almost 80 percent said they support it. In 1996, Arkansas voters passed this tax to provide funding for fish and wildlife conservation, state parks, litter prevention and protection of natural heritage. The AGFC receives 45 percent; Arkansas State Parks, 45 percent; Department of Arkansas Heritage, 9 percent; and Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, 1 percent of the funding.