AGFC honors five staff members for work after Mayflower oil spill

LITTLE ROCK —The state Game and Fish Commission honored five staff members Thursday for their work in the aftermath of the Mayflower oil spill that threatened Lake Conway.

The commission awarded certificates of appreciation to Mike Walker, Matt Mourot, Tom Bly, Matt Horton and Matt Schroeder.

AGFC director Mike Knoedl outlined the roles each played in the incident that began March 29 when an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured, spilling thousands of gallons of crude into a Mayflower subdivision.

Walker, regional maintenance coordinator, was off work and went quickly to the scene to work with a trackhoe in building a dam to stop the flow of oil.

Mourot, a wildlife biologist, spearheaded efforts to recover and rehabilitate animals, birds and reptiles covered in oil.

Bly is a district fisheries supervisor, Horton the Lake Conway manager and Schroeder a fisheries biologist. All were heavily involved in monitoring the lake’s water and fish to assess effects of the oil and to see if crude reached the main body of the lake.

“If it was not for their work, Lake Conway would have been changed forever,” Knoedl said Thursday.

Other recognitions at the meeting went to wildlife officers Block Meyer, stationed in Cross County, and Logan Brown, stationed in Union County.

Meyer rescued a woman from a vehicle when it was inundated by flash flood waters. Brown, a combat veteran of the Iraq war, was recently inducted into the Arkansas Military Hall of Fame for heroism in battle. Brown was severely wounded and received the military’s Bronze Star. He is the youngest person to be taken into the Hall of Fame.

Also Thursday, the commission approved new lifetime licenses for wounded and disabled servicemen and women. The lifetime hunting licenses will cost $1.50, lifetime fishing licenses $1.50 and lifetime combination hunting-fishing licenses $3.