Summer 2015
In This Issue
Know the Language
extrawaterRiparian area- The land connected and adjacent to water, such as stream banks and lake shores. 
Bottom-dwelling organisms of waterbodies that spend part of their life cycle underwater in streams and lakes. They are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, lack a backbone and serve as biological water quality indicators.

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Arkansas Natural Resource Commission 2015 Nonpoint Source Pollution

Stakeholder and Project Review Meeting


Please join us for the 2015 Arkansas Natural Resources Commission 

Nonpoint Source Pollution Stakeholder and Project Review Meeting


Registration now open. Click here to register.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 23 & Thursday, Sept.24, 2015
Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and the conference begins each day at 9 a.m.

Agenda available here. Registration is free. 

Where: UA Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service State Office, 2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock

Highlights of this year's meeting include:

- Presentations and a panel discussion on how watershed groups succeeded at developing and using watershed management plans.

- Priority Watershed Matrix updates, Inclusion of Threatened and Endangered Species.

- Share your latest water quality efforts, 2015 Snapshot Reporting.

- Setting priorities and moving to action in priority watersheds.

- Project Reviews on Day Two, 319 program.

- Exhibition space, agency and active groups can register for a table to share water quality resources.

This year's meeting will include an optional afternoon tour. Please be sure to indicate your interest on the registration form. 


- Optional afternoon tour: Low Impact Development in downtown Little Rock. Space is limited to 40 people. 

Please call the Public Policy Center if you have questions regarding the conference or registration at 501-671-2299 or e-mail

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Watershed Spotlight
Lower Ouachita-Smackover Watershed

Nearly 76 percent of this watershed's land is forested. The 1,797-acre watershed includes the Ouachita River, which flows through 11 Arkansas counties before crossing into Louisiana. 
Communities in Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Nevada and Ouachita counties make up this watershed. Although these counties were already sparsely populated, the 2010 Census showed that the communities in the watershed overall were losing population. 


The watershed was added to the state's list of priority watersheds for nonpoint source pollution impairment in 2011. The Lower Ouachita River, Champanolle and Moro Creeks have had fish consumption advisories since the 1990s because of mercury contamination. Mercury is found in area rock formations and was previously mined in the region.


High levels of ammonia, nitrates, minerals and metals have been found in waterways near El Dorado, where numerous oil and brine processing and storage facilities exist. 


At a June 2015 water quality stakeholder forum hosted by the Public Policy Center in Hampton, participants said a lack of education in the community about water quality needed to be addressed in order to prevent water pollution. They discussed creating non-technical educational materials about water quality that could be distributed to doctor offices, beauty salons and places where fishing licenses were sold.


Participants voted on their top priority at the Lower Ouachita-Smackover water quality forum in June in Hampton.


Forum participants discussing their concerns and priorities for addressing nonpoint source pollution in the Lower Ouachita-Smackover Watershed.
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Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Arkansas Mud Drive - Keeping fields flooded and sediment out of the water

Sediment from an agricultural field is eroding and stacking up outside a drainage outlet in this January 2015 photo.


After leaving a March water quality 

forum in the Bayou Bartholomew

watershed, Mike Budd was deep in thought wondering what he could do to spur some action to educate young people and stop sediment from leaving farm fields and getting into local water ways.


As a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Budd drives a lot around Arkansas. He often sees fields with open water control structures during the winter that, if closed, he thought could help preserve water quality and act as a rest stop for migrating birds. The idea of a competition came to mind and the Arkansas Mud Drive was born.


Budd is working with conservation groups to generate competition among farmers and youth groups to close water control structures in late summer or 14 days post-harvest. Agricultural students and groups can win a cash prize by obtaining pledges from farmers interested in closing their water control structures. This is a way for students to learn about farming, wildlife and water quality issues, Budd said. Or farmers can submit the pledges themselves to donate "mud" on their property.


"It solves a whole lot of resource concerns at one time," Budd said.


The program seeks to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients that leave fields during the winter and fall, provide critical habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl, reduce the abundance of spring weeks, and shows that producers are concerned about water quality, the environment and wildlife habitat.


"It's just like having ground cover," said Mike Daniels, water quality specialist for Extension. "The rain water will hit the water and you don't get the impact and soil erosion. It's a way to maintain cover in the winter time and reduce soil erosion. It's also a BMP for creating habitat for overwintering waterfowl." 


The one-time pledge says that the property owner will leave risers closed, or not remove boards from water control structures, until Jan. 15, 2016. This will keep the field flooded for a short period of time. Budd hopes the Mud Drive will become an annual project. Pledges should be submitted to county conservation district offices. 


For more information about the project, visit

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Best Management Practices in Action
Proper Pool Drainage


Learn about Best Management Practices 

from Colin Massey, Extension's Washington County Water Quality Extension Agent by clicking on the video to the right. He shares information about how to protect water quality and tips for you to take action. 

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Upcoming Events 

Cooperative Extension Service Water Quality Forums 

Aug. 20 - L' Anguille River Water Quality Stakeholder Forum, 5-8 p.m., Wynne Fire Station, 1111 N. Falls Boulevard, Wynne

Aug. 24 Illinois River Water Quality Stakeholder Forum, 4:30-8:30 p.m., Washington County Extension Service, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville

Aug. 25 -  Beaver Reservoir/Upper White Water Quality Stakeholder Forum, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Clifty Community Center, 182 Madison Co. Road 8248, Huntsville

RSVP for the Water Quality Stakeholder Forums by calling 501-671-2299 or emailing

Aug. 25 - ANRC's Cache River Watershed management plan meetings
  • Jonesboro Upper Cache River Meeting - 10-11:30 a.m. - Crowley's Ridge Nature Center, Jonesboro.
  • Lower Cache River Meeting - 2-3:30 p.m. - Chappell Civic Center, McCrory.
For more information, contact Allen Brown at Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, or Terry Horton at FTN Associates, 501-225-7779,


Sept. 23 - 24 - ANRC Nonpoint Source Pollution Stakeholder & Project Review Meeting, UA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Little Rock.

Sept. 25 - Beaver Lake Watershed Symposium, Carroll Electric, Huntsville


Oct. 18 - 23 - EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference, Hot Springs Convention Center, Hot Springs.

Oct. 27 - 28 Southern Agricultural Cover Crops Workshop, Arkansas State University Convocation Center, Jonesboro.
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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, 2015

Cover photo: White herons lift off from a shorn rice field in Lonoke County on Sept. 24, 2014. Photo by Mary Hightower of  the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.