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Rehabilitated wildlife released in Ouachita River for Independence Day 

BY Kelly Winningham

ON 07-03-2024


SMACKOVER — Members of a coordinated response team were able to release just over a dozen turtles, frogs and other reptiles recovered from the recent oil spill near Smackover into the Ouachita River yesterday. The animals were cleaned and monitored by professional oil recovery contractors before release.

The spill, which affected portions of Holmes Creek and Smackover Creek, occurred June 15, was caused by a leaking manifold from the Martin Operating Partners facility, releasing an estimated 2,500 barrels of crude oil.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing, and the general public is encouraged to enjoy the nearby Ouachita River for boating, angling and other recreation. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, no evidence indicates a potential risk to public health from chemicals that may be in the air from the incident. Volatile organic compounds may be present and have an associated odor, but that odor does not indicate a level of risk from inhalation.

Anglers and boaters should also be aware that the entrance to Smackover Creek from the Ouachita River is blocked with a containment boom and no access to Smackover Creek is allowed for the general public’s safety.

The Environmental Protection Agency is leading the oil spill cleanup. Updates regarding the effort are available at

Please email if you have any environmental concerns.

Questions or concerns regarding fish or wildlife consumption advisories as well as general health-related questions should be directed to the Arkansas Department of Health at If you are experiencing any potential health effects that could be related to this site, please consult a physician or health care professional.

Questions or concerns regarding impacts to fish or wildlife in the area should be sent to





More than a dozen turtles were part of the first release of animals recovered from the Smackover Creek oil spill. 

Details about the animals released from the spill were recorded for future observation.

This frog was one of many animals found near Smackover Creek and rehabilitated.

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