Fall 2014
In This Issue
Feature Story
Annual NPS Meeting
Watershed Spotlight
Best Management Practices
Upcoming Events
Know the Language
Total Maximum Daily Limit or TMDL- A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that load among the various sources of that pollutant. 
Source: EPA
Eutrophication - The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.


Source: USGS

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Join the Discussion: Stakeholders Invited to Water Quality Forums Across State 

Arkansans are paying more attention to water quality issues and getting involved in policy making and water quality improvement efforts. There has been extensive public input in recent years on the National Blueway designation for the White River, a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permit in the Buffalo River watershed and on the update of the Arkansas Water Plan. 

In coming months, stakeholders who live or work in priority watersheds will be invited to attend a water quality forum where they can meet other stakeholders, learn about existing water quality efforts and identify local priorities for addressing nonpoint source pollution. 


The Public Policy Center and County Extension agents will host a community forum in each of the priority watersheds to identify stakeholders and nonpoint source concerns that impact water quality. 

The UA Division of Agriculture, through the Public Policy Center, has an Arkansas Natural Resources Commission grant for expanding stakeholder engagement in the 10 priority watersheds 


Illinois River, Beaver Reservoir, Poteau River, Lake Conway-Point Remove, Strawberry River, Cache River, L'Anguille River, Upper Saline, Lower Ouachita-Smackover and Bayou Bartholomew. 


Stakeholders are already joining the discussion. At a Sept. 12 forum in the Poteau River watershed, 20 people attended. Stakeholders represented producers, industry, city and county officials, conservation districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel, extension agents, and local utilities. They identified dirt road degradation and extensive flooding as priority issues to address in the watershed.   

The Cache River Water Quality Forum took place on Oct. 23 in Newport with 21 in attendance. Stakeholders represented producers, agricultural lenders, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, county government, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, The Nature Conservancy, National Resources Conservation Service, Audubon Arkansas, conservation districts, extension agents, and private firms working on water issues. They identified flooding and sedimentation as priority issues in their watershed, as well as economic impact. 

Scheduling is underway for the other priority watershed forums, look for updates on future forums soon.  

Next forum:


Strawberry River Water Quality Forum


When: Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Where: Ozarka College, Student Center Rm: AFSC104 

64 College Dr., Ash Flat, AR 


Counties in the watershed: Fulton, Izard, Lawrence and Sharp


Who should attend: Watershed stakeholders - people who live and work in the watershed. Examples: Master Gardeners, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, city and county officials and workers (i.e. road department, parks), County Extension Councils and subcommittee members, environmental science teachers at local colleges and schools, school board, chambers of commerce representatives, business owners, producers, utility service providers, Farm Bureau members, conservation district personnel, etc.


Please RSVP with Amanda by email at aperez@uaex.edu or call 501-671-2228. 

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SPECIES, Stories, and Stakeholders
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission 
2014 Nonpoint Source Pollution Meeting
Held Sept. 17 and 18 in Little Rock, AR

Day one - Stakeholder Meeting Highlight
Dr. Dharmendra Saraswat provided an overview of a proposed 
Dr. Saraswat discusses adding threatened and endangered species to the priority watershed risk matrix. 
approach for inclusion of threatened and endangered (T&E) species in the priority watershed risk matrix. Stakeholders discussed the merits of inclusion in the matrix and weighting of points for T&E designations based on weather the species was threatened, endangered, endemic to the state, endemic to the region, and in a priority watershed.   

A majority of stakeholder meeting attendees expressed support for inclusion in the matrix by show of hands at the Sept. 17 meeting with a vote to move forward with what was presented, though some participants requested to seek out more data to inform the decision making and to convene a workgroup to discuss this further for potential future modifications.   

Day two - Project Review Overview
Each year 319 nonpoint source pollution improvement projects funded by ANRC provide annual updates on implementation plans and program efforts to reduce, manage or abate nonpoint source pollution in Arkansas at the annual Project Review meeting.  This year 18 speakers shared project reports on Sept. 18 in Little Rock. 

Find the 2014 project presentations at - www.arkansaswater.org.
2014 Projects included: 
  • West Fork and White River Restoration
  • Upper Sager Creek Regional Treatment
Horsebarn Trail Rain Garden, Rogers (1)
  • (1) Beaver Water District and Illinois River Watershed Partnership Rain Gardens
  • Illinois and Upper White River Monitoring 
  • Lower Conway-Point Remove and L'Anguille River Watershed Monitoring
  • STRebanD Phase II and SWAT Modeling
  • Cache River Monitoring and Larkin Creek - Phase II Implementation
  • L'Anguille River - Conservation Tillage 
  • Boone County - Bull Shoals Conservation
Flow Control System for Reducing Streambank Erosion (2)
  • (2) Cross County Cost Share, Cross County Conservation 
  • St. Francis County Cost Share, St. Francis County Conservation
  • Arkansas Watershed Stewardship Education 
Low Impact Design, Little Rock (3)
  • (3) Low Impact Development on Main Street, Little Rock
  • Little Palarm Creek Water Management Plan and Low Impact Development Plan for Lake Conway 
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Watershed Spotlight
 Poteau River 

The Poteau Watershed has its beginnings, or headwaters, in Arkansas and includes 1,889 acres of land in the Natural State despite the lion's share of the watershed falling within Oklahoma territory.

Communities in Polk, Scott and Sebastian counties make up the Arkansas side of the watershed, with the majority of the land remaining forested. 


Past monitoring has shown excessive turbidity in one section above the river's confluence with the Arkansas River and another section near Waldron as not supporting aquatic life because of elevated metals and total phosphorus. In 2006, the state issued a limit to the amount of turbidity that could be introduced into the waterway without harming water quality. The watershed was designated as a priority in the state's 2006-2011 Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan.


Participants attending a September water quality forum hosted in this watershed identified dirt roads and flooding as two priority issues for the Poteau Watershed. Other water quality concerns included erosion, excessive nutrients and sediment.


The water quality forum was facilitated by the UA Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center and was one of 10 forums that the Center is hosting in priority watersheds as part of an Arkansas Natural Resources Commission grant for nonpoint source pollution stakeholder engagement.
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Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Phosphorus Removal Structure


Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element that can be found in all living organisms, as well as in water and soil. It is an important ingredient for plant health. But if too much phosphorus enters our waterways, the excess amounts can lead to low oxygen levels, algae growth and fish kills. In recent years, Oklahoma and Maryland university researchers built and tested phosphorus removal structures on properties where high amounts of phosphorus were present to trap and filter phosphorus from runoff water.


Landscape filters

Phosphorus Removal Structures, or landscaped filters, have been used in agricultural and residential settings in the Illinois River Watershed to intercept phosphorus particles before they could enter local waterways. The contaminants are absorbed by materials that act as a filter, and then removed from the structure because a build up of phosphorus in the soil is detrimental over time.

photo courtesy of Dr. Chad Penn
A phosphorus removal structure was tested on a poultry farm near the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. There are many ways to build this filtration structure. They don't necessarily need to be a box.


Potential users

Golf courses and cities may be the first users of this type of BMP because of the cost involved. Farmers may also be interested in it. Oklahoma State University is in the process of licensing modeling software for private use and expects to provide the software at no cost to Natural Resources Conservation Service, which helps farmers design BMPs.



These structures can be placed in "hot spots" or drainage ditches where runoff may contain dissolved phosphorus. Researchers have placed them on golf courses, in roadway ditches and near poultry houses. 



Phosphorus Removal Structures can vary in size and shape. University researchers used a metal box-shaped design. They also tested filling a ditch with steel slag instead of building a contained structure. Anyone can build this BMP, though using software to determine how much water and phosphorus a structure could handle would be more effective.



The ideal filter material to use in this structure would be local, inexpensive and fast acting, as well as something that won't be a pollutant itself. OSU researchers used steel slag, a gravel-like byproduct of the steel production industry, in one of their test structures. Water should be able to easily move through the filter material and not clog. When the material can no longer trap and hold phosphorus, it should be removed. Steel slag that can no longer hold phosphorus can be used on dirt roads or in construction, according to Dr. Chad Penn, an OSU professor researching and testing the BMP. Re-release of phosphorus would not be a concern, he said.

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Upcoming Events 

Nov. 19-212014 Arkansas Watershed Conference- Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, AR.

Nov. 19 - Arkansas Watershed Stewards Workshop - Day 1 of Arkansas Watershed Conference. Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs. Last day to register for workshop is Nov. 3, 2014.

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This newsletter is produced as part of a grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, paid for by Section 319(h) Clean Water Act funds.
 Issue 3, 2014