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Arkansas Water Quality Policy

The Buffalo River in Arkansas

Arkansas, the Natural State, is often portrayed as a state with abundant water resources. However, the state has its share of polluted waterways, diminished aquifer levels and water access concerns.

The Division of Agriculture's Public Policy Center promotes the understanding of federal and state water policy issues through research, community outreach and public education.

What is water quality? The term "water quality" can mean different things to different people. The most widely used definition is that water quality is "the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a designated use."

Water has many uses, such as for recreation, drinking, fisheries, agriculture and industry. Each of these uses have been assigned chemical, physical and biological standards necessary to support the use. For example, standards are higher for drinking water than agriculture or industry use.


Current Water Issues

Arkansas Water Plan

Arkansas' water plan, a document that guides state policy on water conservation, development and protection, was updated in December 2014 after more than a year of public meetings and review overseen by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Recommendations from the recent update will go before the governor and a legislative review committee before any of them can be turned into new procedures or rules. For more information on the state water plan, visit www.arwaterplan.arkansas.gov.

Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan

Excessive sediment, nutrients and toxic metals prevent many Arkansas waterways from supporting aquatic life or other intended uses. The Public Policy Center has partnered with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to produce the 2018-2023 Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan, which discusses threats to 11 priority watersheds and action steps that watershed groups or industries can take to reduce pollution levels. The NPS plan can be found below. 

Arkansas Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan (2018-2023)

Arkansas Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan (2011-2016)

The Role of Nonpoint Source Models in Watershed Management

Watershed Prioritization for Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution in Arkansas

2017 Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Annual Report for the NPS Program

Arkansas' Impaired Waterbodies

Every two years, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality creates a list of rivers and lakes that have been tested and found to not meet water quality standards for their intended use (i.e., not enough oxygen to support fish life). This list, known as the 303(d) list, is submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The information gives state and federal agencies, as well as interested residents, a better understanding of the health of Arkansas' waterways and also a way to measure the impact of water quality activities and projects. 

AR Water Learning Library

 

2018-2023 NPS Management Plan - Kevin McGaughey, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program - Steve Stake & Tony Ramic, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

Arkansas Nutrient Reduction Strategy - Ryan Benefield, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

Conservation Polling Results - Scott Simon, The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas 

Lake Conway-Point Remove Watershed - Canton Ford, Lake Conway Point Remove Watershed Alliance 

NRCS Landscape Initiatives - Mississippi River Basin Initiative and National Water Quality Initiative - Dianne Schlenker, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Improving NPS Pollution Prevention in a Small Urban Community Watershed through Education and Demonstration (Murphy Pond) - Colin Massey, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Main Street Little Rock Water Quality Demonstration & Educational Program, Phase 2- Caran Curry, City of Little Rock

Illinois River Watershed Partnership Update - Dr. Nicole Hardiman, Illinois River Watershed Partnership 

White River and Richland Creek Watershed Opportunity Assessment - Melissa McCarver - Beaver Watershed Alliance 

Day 1

NPS Management Plan Update - Allen Brown, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

ADEQ Approaches to the Assessment Methodology - Sarah Clem, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality

Water Use Reporting for Agricultural Irrigation Use in Arkansas - Linda Johnson, FTN Associates

Edge-of-Field Monitoring for Arkansas Discovery Farms - Mike Daniels, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Arkansas Soil Health Alliance - Keith Scoggins, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Non-Point Source Pollution Assessment and Management - Greg Phillips, GBMc & Associates

Status of MRBI - Dianne Schlenker, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Conservation Service Updates - Teri Nehls, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Day 2

Water Quality Monitoring in the Upper Illinois River Watershed and Upper White River Basin - Erin Scott, Arkansas Water Resources Center

Monitoring Water Quality in Impaired Watersheds: Bayou Bartholomew, Lake Conway Point Remove, Lower Ouachita-Smackover, and L’Anguille presentation - Dan DeVun, Equillibrium

Bayou DeView Watershed Monitoring - Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, Arkansas State University 

Little River Ditches Watershed Monitoring- Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, Arkansas State University 

Strawberry River Watershed Monitoring - Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, Arkansas State University

Cover Crop Education and Demonstration Project for the Bayou Bartholomew Watershed - Trenton Roberts, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Boone County Beaver Reservoir Watershed Project - Lisa Widner, Boone County Conservation District

Cross County L’Anguille River Watershed Water Quality Project - LaMar Rolland, Cross County Conservation District

Strawberry River Subwatershed Cost Share - Michelle Ward, Fulton County Conservation District

Hicks Creek-White River Watershed Project - Robert Benedict, Baxter County Conservation District

Big Creek-White River Watershed Project Project - Mike Parkinson, Crooked Creek Conservation District

Strawberry River Improvement Project - Cody Stroud, Sharp County Conservation District

Arkansas Silvicultural Nonpoint Source Project - Arnold Hameister, Arkansas Forestry Commission

White River Bank Restoration and Monitoring Project - Matt Van Eps, Watershed Conservation Resource Center

Improving Water Quality Through Green Infrastructure in the Illinois River Watershed - Nicole Hardiman, Illinois River Watershed Partnership

Connecting NPS Management to Receiving Streams through BMP Education and Demonstration - Colin Massey, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

White River and Richland Creek Watershed Opportunity Assessment - Melissa Welch, Beaver Watershed Alliance

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