Public Policy Center Co-Hosts Water Quality Stakeholder Meeting
The 2019 NPS Stakeholder and Project Review Meeting took place Sept. 19 in Little Rock at the Cooperative Extension Service headquarters. This annual meeting has taken place since the early 2000s and is an opportunity for people working, living and "playing" in watersheds to get together and discuss policy issues related to nonpoint source pollution.
Water quality enthusiasts from across the state met in Little Rock recently to discuss updates to Arkansas' Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan and to learn about educational projects taking place in priority watersheds.
The stakeholder meeting is hosted by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. The Public Policy Center has for more than a decade assisted in coordinating the meeting, which attracts more
than 80 people each year.
This year's meeting focused on programmatic updates at the federal level and the state level. ANRC Director Bruce Holland discussed the departments' merger with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. He said the agency would continue to be known as ANRC but with a tagline of being a division of the Department of Agriculture.
Deputy Director Ryan Benefield discussed nutrient management strategies in the state, and program manager Tony Ramick detailed along with Steve Stake how they would be moving forward with the Arkansas Unpaved Road Program now that is under their department.
Kevin McGaughey reviewed changes to the state's NPS Management Plan, which includes a profile on the state's 11 priority watersheds. These watersheds are identified through a multi-layered matrix tool that takes into consideration factors such as population, impairments, presence of endangered species. The top 11 resulting watersheds are then considered priorities for education and project funding.
Watershed-specific projects were highlighted throughout the day, specifically in the Lake Conway-Point Remove Watershed, Beaver Watershed, and Illinois Watershed.
You can view the 2019 NPS Stakeholder Presentations at https://www.uaex.edu/environment-nature/water/quality/policies.aspx. Find the agenda here.
What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?
Water pollution that comes from multiple sources spread over an area, such as runoff from parking lots, agricultural fields, residential lawns, home gardens, construction, mining and logging, is known as nonpoint source pollution. As runoff moves across the landscape, it carries natural and manmade substances that can accumulate in waterways and make them uninhabitable for aquatic species or unusable by people. Potential pollutants include bacteria, nutrients, sediment, hazardous substances and trash. Given the number of potential sources and variation in their potential contributions, these pollutants are not easily traced back to their source.