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Ozark Waters 
Volume VII, Issue 18
May 6, 2013
In This Issue
Why Is Table Rock Lake So Clear this Year?
Quote of the Week
Beaver Lake Foundation Ready
Changes put on tap for water regulations State looks at new criteria for pollution
Bull Shoals Lake listed on Bassmaster's best-of list

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Want information about a Watershed Group? Click on the name to go to their website.



Table Rock Lake Water Quality


James River Basin Partnership


Kings River Watershed


Illinois River Watershed Partnership


Elk River Watershed


Friends of the North Fork and White River


Save the Illinois River




Watershed Conservation Resource Center


Northwest Arkansas Land Trust


Grand Lake Watershed Alliance Foundation 





Why Is Table Rock Lake So Clear this Year? 

40 Foot Visibility Not Seen in 30 Years!



David Casaletto, Executive Director, Ozarks Water Watch



Diver enjoys 40'+ visibility in Table Rock. 

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader



I am a PADI certified Advanced Open Water Diver. My PADI card shows my certification date as August 11, 1986. Wow! How time flies! I remember completing my deep water certification dive at Table Rock dam going down to around 95 feet if my memory serves me correctly. Over the years, I have dived at many locations in Table Rock Lake and my daughters first experienced diving while we were on family camping trips on the bluffs at the Port of Kimberling looking towards the Kimberling City bridge. But in all my years of diving Table Rock Lake, I cannot remember seeing water this clear.



   Diver finds a sunken sailboat.

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader



First, I need to make sure everyone understands, this extremely clear water is in the main body of the lake and near the dam. During a recent boat trip near Cape Fair, my wife and I found the water clarity to be its normal 3 foot range for that location. The higher nutrient concentrations in the arms of the lake allow for the greater algal growth.  


Under water rock ledge.

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader 


So everyone is asking why is the water so clear this year at the dam and I will try to answer as best I can. Over the last 10 to 15 years, the lake has responded to our efforts to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the lake, especially phosphorous. Reductions of phosphorous from various sources such as sewage treatment plants, failing septic systems, land disturbance, municipal lawns and large animal operations have taken place due to all our combined efforts. While water clarity varies somewhat each year, the trend line has shown our lake has been getting clearer.


A bass stays near the protection of a tree.

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader  


But a unique set of circumstances this spring has made the lake unusually clear. Normally there is always a springtime clear-water phase. As the water begins to warm, algae begin to grow faster. To take advantage of the sudden increase in food, populations of small crustaceans (zooplankton) explode and eat much of the algae that would cause the water to be murky. Temperature has an effect on the timing of this clear water phase. In the case of Table Rock this year, the cool spring likely delayed fish spawning, so the zooplankton have had longer than usual to eat the algae thereby making the water clearer than normal. In addition, the drought we experienced last year prevented nutrients from washing or flushing into the lake denying the waterborne algae their food source and also reducing their numbers.


A diver enters the clear water.

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader


But don't expect this unusually clear water to last all summer. This clear-water phase will end as newly hatched fish graze the zooplankton numbers down and allow the algal community to rebound. So while the clarity will most likely not stay at 40 feet, I want to assure you we would not be seeing this phenomenon today if we had not started on our quest to reduce pollution many years ago. We could, in all honesty, be looking at a green slimy lake that no one would want to even touch if it were not for the efforts of our water quality groups and our regulatory agencies. 


Water so clear it reminds divers of the tropical ocean.

Photo courtesy Wes Johnson, Springfield Newsleader


While improving water quality is a long-term effort and is notoriously difficult to measure, it is an event like this that makes me proud. Proud to be a part of the environmental community and proud to be closer to the "Vision" of Ozarks Water Watch: "WITH YOUR HELP WE WILL WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE BEAVER, TABLE ROCK, TANEYCOMO AND BULL SHOALS LAKES THE FOUR CLEANEST MANMADE LAKES IN NORTH AMERICA".



To see Wes Johnson's article and video on News-Leader.com, 

Click: HERE.




Quote of the Week


"We declare that the proper use of science is 

not to conquer nature but to live in it." 


~ Barry Commone 





Beaver Lake Foundation Ready


Northwest Arkansas Times 

May 1, 2013


PRAIRIE CREEK - With Beaver Lake shimmering blue in the background, officials with the Beaver Lake Foundation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed the legal document that allows the foundation to begin assisting the corps with projects around the lake. The corps and the Beaver Lake Foundation have been communicating for 18 months to draft the agreement that was signed on Tuesday at a Prairie Creek park picnic shelter, said Kerry Jensen, foundation president. Jensen also is president of Main Street Rogers. It allows the foundation to accept financial donations and provide manpower to complete projects at Beaver Lake the corps can't fund. 

Until now, there was no avenue for the public to donate money directly to the corps for specific projects at Beaver Lake. Now those donations can be made through the foundation. The foundation's first project will be a life-jacket loaner program at the swim beaches in corps parks on the lake. "It's a good entry-level project," Jensen said. Tours of Beaver Dam are planned that will raise money for the foundation by charging a fee for the tours. The foundation may one day take over operation of one or more parks at Beaver Lake, but that is "down the road," Jensen said. 

Sean Harper, the corps' operations manager at Beaver Lake, said one lifejacket loaner program is in operation at the Beaver Dam day-use-area swim beach. A wooden kiosk holds about a dozen life jackets that are mainly worn by children whose parents bring them to swim in the summer. "They take a life jacket, go swimming and put it back," Harper said. There's been no problem with theft of the life jackets, he added. Loaner stations planned by the Beaver Lake Foundation will be similar, Jensen said. Anyone who wants to get involved with the foundation as a volunteer, or make a donation, should contact Jensen at 479-586-5024. 

One benefit of the foundation operating a park is revenue raised through camping or other fees can be turned back to that particular park, said Col. Glen Masset, commander of the corps' Little Rock District. Fees collected at parks operated by the corps go into the general U.S. Treasury, Masset said. A similar foundation is in place at Table Rock Lake, Masset said. Six parks at Table Rock, downstream from Beaver Lake, are operated by the Table Rock foundation, he said. Those parks were on a list to be closed, but remain open thanks to that lake's foundation. A park's revenue raised through camping or other fees can be turned back to that particular park, said Col. Glen Masset, commander of the corps' Little Rock District. 


To read more, Click HERE.




Changes put on tap for water regulations

State looks at new criteria for pollution


Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
April 20, 2013


FAYETTEVILLE - Proposed changes to the state's water-quality regulations aim to base future pollution measures on a very large test case: Beaver Lake. The proposed changes were discussed Thursday night at the Fayetteville City Administration Building, during the second of four public comment sessions scheduled around the state by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The federal Clean Water Act requires that state environmental departments review water regulations every three years and allow for public input.   


Sarah Clem, technical assistance manager for the department's Water Division, took an audience of more than 50 Northwest Arkansas residents through a presentation outlining about 23 pages of changes to existing water regulations. Clem said that through funding available from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Walton Family Foundation, the department created a scientific working group that met from 2005-07 to establish more accurate nutrient criteria for Arkansas surface water.   


According to department spokesman Katherine Benenati, the group - which drew members from Beaver Water District, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other sources - published a report in 2008 based on modeling and analysis of existing water quality data at Beaver Lake. "They determined that nitrogen and phosphorus were not the best indicators of nutrient impairment," Clem said. Instead, under the proposed regulatory changes, inspectors will measure the clarity of the water and the presence of chlorophyll-A, which plants use to convert light to nutrients , to determine the effects of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, Clem said.   


Benenati said in an e-mail Friday that while existing standards for lakes in Arkansas are based on a "onesize-fits-all" measurement of turbidity - the cloudiness of water caused by particulate matter - more individualized criteria would better serve Arkansans. "A site-specific standard for our deep high-quality reservoirs is more desirable," Benenati said. Based on the success or failure of the new pollution monitoring at Beaver Lake, Clem said the state may apply the criteria to other lakes in Arkansas. 


To read more, Click HERE.




Bull Shoals Lake listed on Bassmaster's best-of list



May 1, 2013   


Bull Shoals Lake catapulted to No. 18 on Bassmaster Magazine's 2013 ranking of America's Top 100 Lakes for Bass Fishing. The ranking story that will be published in the magazine's June edition is in the mail to subscribers now. The ranking derived with input from anglers, sports writers, editors and biologists, found Bull Shoals at No. 51 last year.


The lake hadn't been on the Bassmaster radar screen at all since 1987. James Hall, Bassmaster editor accurately predicted a year ago the lake's ascent as a top destination place for bass fishing. "I would not at all be surprised to see Bull Shoals move up on the list next year after seeing the quality of fish in the tournament," Hall said a year ago. The event and nearly 80 pounds of bass caught by Brandon Palaniuk of Rothdrum, Idaho, was enough to deliver the second-year BASS angler his first Elite Series win and $100,000.


To read more, Click: HERE.


Contact Info
OZARKS WATER WATCH                          MISSOURI OFFICE                                 ARKANSAS OFFICE

David Casaletto, President                         PO Box 636, 2 Kissee Ave., Ste. C         1200 W. Walnut, Ste. 3405
(417) 739-5001                                             Kimberling City, MO  65686                    Rogers, AR  72756