Winter 2015
In This Issue
Feature Story
Watershed Spotlight
Best Management Practices
Upcoming Events
Know the Language
extrawaterExtraordinary Resource Waters (ERW)- A state designation recognizing the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of a waterbody and its watershed which is characterized by scenic beauty, aesthetics, scientific values, broad scope recreation potential and intangible social values.
ecosensEcologically Sensitive Waters (ESW) - A state designation for waterways known to provide habitat for threatened, endangered or endemic species of aquatic or semi-aquatic life forms.




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2014 Arkansas Water Plan Overview

Nonpoint Source Management Priorities

After two years of public meetings and citizen input, Arkansas has a state water plan that will be sent for legislative review. The 2014 Arkansas Water Plan is the product of a multi-partner, citizen-driven effort to create a long-term strategy to guide the use, management, development and conservation of water through 2050. 

The plan provides recommendations for addressing several identified water-related issues. Improving water quality through nonpoint source (NPS) management is part of the comprehensive water plan. Several recommendations regarding water quality improvement focused specifically on NPS management. 

Recommendations include:

1. Propose legislation to designate funding specifically for financing NPS pollution management programs and implementing NPS management practices.

2. ANRC will collaborate with multiple agencies* through:
a. The biennial Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality review processes.
b. The water quality criteria review to determine attainment or nonattainment of water quality standards in streams and identify the sources and causes of nonattainment.
c. Streams impaired because of NPS pollution may be considered as priority streams for restoration through the NPS management program.
d. Streams currently attaining water quality standards in priority watersheds may be considered for protection through the NPS management program.

3. Encourage the General Assembly to require nutrient management plans for the application of poultry litter and animal manure throughout the

4. Leverage funding from multiple sources such as Source Water Protection under the Safe Drinking Water Act, administered through the Arkansas Department of Health, to address NPS pollution in watersheds with drinking water sources.


The document includes several steps for implementing the above recommendations, such as evaluating the fiscal needs of the state's NPS management program, proposing legislation to support those needs, participating in water quality assessments, coordinating nutrient reduction strategies, encouraging research and education programs and considering undertaking a program to help local leaders manage unpaved roads. 


*Multi-agency/organization partnership: Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Department of Health and United States Geological Service are specifically mentioned.

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Water Quality Stakeholder Forums


Stakeholders are already joining the discussion. Attend these upcoming community forums and get engaged by sharing your perspective on issues that may impact local water quality.     
Upcoming Forums in these Watersheds:
Upper Saline, Lower Ouachita-Smackover, Bayou Bartholomew, L'Anguille River, Illinois River, Beaver Reservoir and Lake Conway-Point Remove.

Look for announcements on meeting dates and locations.

Upper Saline Water Quality Forum

When: Jan. 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Grant County Cooperative Extension Office,

202 West Pine Street in Sheridan


Counties in the watershed: Cleveland, Dallas, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson and Saline.


Who should attend: Watershed stakeholders - people who live and work in the watershed. Examples: Master Gardeners, Natural Resources Conservation Service 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 or call 501-671-2228. 


Find your watershed here. 

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Watershed Spotlight
 Upper Saline River

When looking at a map of Arkansas, you can find the Upper Saline River Watershed by looking at the geographic center of the state. The watershed's 1,716 square miles includes waterways that are home to species listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is included in the state's 2011-2016 Nonpoint Source Management Plan. 
Communities in Grant, Saline, Garland, Perry, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Cleveland, Dallas and Pulaski counties make up the watershed. The population in the watershed is growing at a rapid pace - Saline County grew 28.2 percent between 2000 and 2010, although Jefferson County lost 8.1 percent of its population during that time. Despite the rapid increase of people, the majority of the watershed is forested. 


Water quality concerns for this watershed include excessive mineral content - chlorides, sulfates and other dissolved minerals - from open-pit bauxite mining activities in the Hurricane Creek subwatershed, and dissolved oxygen issues affecting aquatic life in Big Creek. A fish consumption advisory has also been placed on much of the lower Saline River because of the presence of mercury. An 83-mile segment of Hurricane Creek is unable to be used for drinking water and this use was removed for this section sometime in the last decade.


The state considers the Middle Fork and other headwaters of the Saline River as Extraordinary Resource Waters and Ecologically Sensitive Waters because of their scenic beauty and the habitat the waterways provide various species. 


The Nature Conservancy has been very active in this watershed. In 2007, Cooper Communities donated 123 acres along the Middle Fork in Hot Springs Village to the Nature Conservancy near land managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. The Conservancy also conducted an extensive study of the waterway and worked with several state agencies and organizations to restore a 2,600-foot streambank along the Middle Fork that dumped about 140 full dump truck loads worth of sediment each year into the waterway. 

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Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Smart Salting


Although spreading a little salt can be an easy way to prevent ice during bad weather or to encourage faster melting, salt can quickly accumulate and enter our streams, rivers and lakes when snow melts. High salt levels can harm or kill aquatic life, and damage vegetation and soil, leading to erosion problems. 



When bad weather is in your forecast, keep in mind these smart salt basics to avoid over doing the salt: 


Shovel first. The more snow you remove yourself, the less salt you have to use and the more effective it can be.


More salt does not mean more melting. The Institute on Snow Research recommends using 0.08 of an ounce of salt per square foot, so multiply your square footage by 0.08 and use only that amount. 


An average parking space is about 150 square feet, which would use the equivalent of a 12-ounce coffee mug. 


Be patient. Salt takes time to work. Applying more will lead to unnecessary contamination.  


15 degrees is too cold for salt. Most salts stop working at this degree. Use sand instead for traction (but note that sand or another product such as cat litter does not melt ice). 


Sweep up leftover salt. If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement, it is no longer doing anything to get rid of ice. Sweep it up before it can be washed away.


Consider a de-icer alternative. Use something other than salt to get rid of ice. Here are some possible alternatives, depending on your budget and availability:


Calcium Chloride
Works to: Minus 25 degrees
Advantages: Produces heat as it melts; less harmful to vegetation
Disadvantages: Corrosive to metal; leaves residue harmful to carpet, tile, shoes; attracts moisture from the air

Magnesium Chloride
Works to: Minus 13 degrees
Advantages: Attracts moisture from the air
Disadvantages: Keeps pavement wet if it attracts too much moisture from air; corrosive to metal

Potassium Acetate
Works to: Minus 75 degrees
Advantages: Safer than salt for steel structures; performs very well; noncorrosive, biodegradable
Disadvantages: Could cause slickness on pavement; lowers oxygen levels in bodies of water

Calcium Magnesium Acetate
Works to: 25 degrees
Advantages: Won't harm environment if used sparingly; biodegradable
Disadvantages: Subject to dilution and refreezing; could cause slickness on pavement; expensive

Regardless of what material you use, remember to store it in a dry, covered area away from wet weather.


Did you know? 


Arkansas' highway department has started using beet juice in its salt brine as a way to increase the de-icer's effectiveness in temperatures below 15 degrees and to reduce the amount of salt applied to roadways.


Sources: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Northwest Arkansas Stormwater Education program, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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Upcoming Events 

Jan. 29-30:  Arkansas Water Well Contractors Association Annual Winter Meeting & Tradeshow, Clarion Resort on the Lake, Hot Springs.

Jan. 30: Arkansas Soil and Water Education Conference, ASU Convocation Center, Jonesboro. 


Feb. 20-22: 2015 Arkansas Flower & Garden Show - Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock.


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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 1, 2015

Salt photograph courtesy of Daniel Lobo