The felony charge filed against Dennis Rainey for cutting more than 100 trees in the Lake Maumelle watershed to improve the view from his hilltop home prompted this news release today from Central Arkansas Water, whose lake is fed by runoff in the watershed.
On Thursday, Central Arkansas Water mailed 159 certified letters to property owners within the Lake Maumelle watershed, reminding them that they have no authority to remove or prune any trees or vegetation on CAW property.
“Maintaining the watershed forest surrounding Lake Maumelle and protecting the water quality of Lake Maumelle from all threats for the benefit of current and future customers is one of CAW’s most important duties,” CAW CEO Tad Bohannon said.
The letter is in response to the recent incident where resident Dennis Rainey chose to remove trees without permission on CAW property. It is to remind residents of how serious CAW will respond to any illegal cutting in the watershed.
“We will not hesitate to defend our watershed when a property owner chooses to illegally and intentionally damage it,” Bohannon said. “I am totally baffled by the idea that one man would think his view of a lake created for the purpose of providing drinking water, not enhanced residential views, was more important than the health and safety of a half-million Arkansans.”
CAW learned yesterday that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Rainey on the charge of Criminal Mischief, a class B felony, punishable by 5 to 20 years in jail, plus fines, for the intentional destruction and topping of over 100 trees on CAW property. It is undisputed that Rainey instructed hired crews to take these illegal actions to improve the views of Lake Maumelle from his Pulaski County home.
CAW sincerely appreciates the thorough investigation conducted by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office. The PCSO quickly recognized the seriousness of Rainey’s actions and took appropriate measures to provide a well-documented case file to the prosecuting attorney’s office.
CAW also appreciates the timely review of the evidence by the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s office which led to the issuance of the charge against Rainey.
CAW will continue to closely monitor future developments in this case.
“Lake Maumelle provides outstanding, nationally recognized, great tasting drinking water to approximately 500,000 residents in seven counties. That source water is protected by healthy forest, maintained pursuant to internationally recognized and award-winning programs and community efforts”, Bohannon added. “We are grateful for the residents and local officials who monitor our watershed with us to ensure its protection.”
Rainey was arraigned in district court this morning on a felony charge of criminal mischief for causing more than $25,000 damage by cutting trees. He was released on his own recognizance, with the next court appearance scheduled in October.