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The Arkansas Water Resources Center publishes this e-newsletter each month to highlight research, faculty, news and important events.
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July 2016
Last Day to Register is July 18 for AWRC Water Conference

The deadline to register for this year’s AWRC Annual Water Research Conference is Monday, July 18th. Those who register by this date will receive a FREE conference t-shirt! Visit our conference webpage to register, to view program information, and more.  

The conference theme is “Nutrients, Water Quality and Harmful Algal Blooms”, and will be held on July 26-27 at the Fayetteville Town Center. The program covers topics that are becoming increasingly important for source water protection, drinking water systems, and lake managers. 

We’ll hear from experts throughout the country on topics such as TMDLs, nutrient sources and transport, and the growing threat of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). We’ll also learn about how water utilities and state agencies can address the threat of toxins produced by HABs to drinking water supplies, public health, and even the potential closing of lakes for recreational uses. 

If you have any questions, please contact Erin Scott, erins@uark.edu. We look forward to seeing you there!

Water Research Faculty Invited to Submit Pre-Proposals for 104B Funding Opportunity

The Arkansas Water Resources Center invites pre-proposals for research projects that address critical water needs in Arkansas. This funding opportunity comes as part of the US Geological Survey 104B Grants Program

Eligibility: Any faculty member or affiliate at a college or university in Arkansas is eligible to apply. Students with a faculty advisor are also eligible to apply for a smaller student grant that supplements current research efforts. Federal employees are NOT eligible as a principal investigator, but can collaborate with faculty as a co-investigator. 

Funding: Funding is contingent upon USGS funds being provided. We anticipate funding faculty researchers up to $25,000 and student researchers up to $5,000. 

Deadline: The deadline to submit pre-proposals is September 2, 2016 by 5:00 pm. 


Visit our website for additional information and to view the full Request for Pre-Proposals. If you have any questions, please contact Erin Scott at erins@uark.edu. 

Study Examines Phosphorus Pollution in the Illinois River Watershed


The Problem: Excess phosphorus (P) has been a long-running problem in the Illinois River Watershed, a transboundary watershed where water flows from Arkansas into Oklahoma. Productive agriculture and wastewater treatment facilities of rapidly growing cities in the Arkansas portion of the Watershed have the potential to contribute P to area streams and ultimately the Illinois River.  For instance, Arkansas is the second largest broiler producer in the US, with three billion dollars in revenue for the State each year.   The manure from poultry production (i.e., litter) is a valuable source of fertilizer for area pastures, but over a number of years, production can exceed pasture needs and P can accumulate at the soil surface, especially when the litter is applied as a source of needed nitrogen.   
 
So What?:  Although farmers have reduced litter (and P) applications to less than a third of rates prior to 2003 lawsuits, this “legacy” P can be a long-term source of P to area streams. This means we need to improve our understanding of the sources, both short-term and long-term, of P transport to streams and rivers without sacrificing food production and economic revenue.
 
The Research Question: Drs. Rosalind Dodd, Post-Doctoral Associate and Andrew Sharpley, professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas, wanted to know what the potential for P storage and release was from three different types of landscapes – agricultural, urban, and forest. They also wanted to know if there was a difference in the type of P being stored or transported, and do these differ at various points within the landscape, from the field to the riparian area to in the stream bed.
 
The Methods: Dodd and Sharpley studied the Goose Creek Watershed, which flows into the Illinois River. They collected soil samples at 7 locations over a two-day period in August 2015 during base-flow conditions. Five of these locations were within an agricultural landscape, 1 location was within an urban landscape, and 1 location was within a forested landscape. For each location, soil samples were collected from the streambed, the riparian area, and from a field adjacent to the stream and which contributed runoff to the stream. They measured several different forms of P to determine how likely these P fractions were to be transported during rainfall runoff events. Keep in mind that typically, most P and sediment transport to streams from the landscape occurs during rainfall events, when water runs off the landscape and into nearby streams and rivers.
 
The Findings: Soil P concentrations, especially water extractable P (WEP), were significantly higher in 3 of the 5 agricultural soils of Goose Creek compared to the urban and forest soils. These high levels of WEP can mean a greater potential for P transport from the fields to streams during rainfall runoff events. But, soil P was similar in the streambed sediments across the agriculture, urban and forest landscapes. This means that for these study sites, P did not appear to accumulate in bed sediments of streams draining agricultural land.
 
The Benefits: Acceptable P concentrations in the Illinois River Watershed have been a long-standing, contentious issue between Arkansas and Oklahoma. Both states are coming together to identify specific research needs and conduct scientific investigation within the watershed. Dodd and Sharpley’s research expands on our understanding of how legacy P can be stored and transported across various landscapes throughout the watershed. This information can help inform management activities to reduce P into streams and guide future research regarding legacy P sources and transport.
 
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Geological Survey under grant agreement No. G11AP20066 and administered by the Arkansas Water Resources Center. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Geological Survey.
CDC Launches First National Reporting System for Harmful Algal Blooms and Associated Illnesses
From the Centers for Disease Control
 
CDC launched the first national reporting system for harmful algal blooms, as well as a new website with important information for health officials and the public. The
One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System (OHHABS) will collect data on harmful algal blooms and associated human and animal illness. CDC encourages state and territorial public health agencies to use this voluntary system to report harmful algal blooms and associated illness. The new website provides information on how to recognize these blooms and what people can do to protect themselves, their families, and their pets.

Evidence suggests that harmful algal blooms are increasing in frequency and severity as a result of climate change, farming practices, storm and wastewater runoff, and other environmental issues. Rapid growth of algae can create harmful blooms that produce toxins that get into the air, water, or food, or severely deplete oxygen in bodies of water. These blooms can harm animals, people, and the local ecology. OHHABS will help health officials understand the severity and extent of illnesses caused by harmful algal blooms in people and animals and the effect they have on the environment.


READ MORE
Discovery Farms Are Empowering Agricultural Producers to Effectively Address Natural Resource Issues
From the Confluence Newsletter

Agriculture is considered by some as the leading source of nutrients delivered to the Gulf of Mexico. Excessive nutrients in the Gulf lead to a large seasonal hypoxic zone that creates unsuitable habitat for aquatic organisms. It is a serious natural resource issue that has garnered national attention from federal and state agencies alike.
 
Research and Education is a fundamental cornerstone to addressing this regional water quality concern. There are several different educational approaches and strategies to help agricultural producers minimize nutrient loss in runoff. A challenge with any educational program related to natural resource concerns is finding a way to get private land owners to truly engage to the point of actively addressing the issue. It's difficult for landowners to envision the connection from their land to large-scale, regional issues such as the Gulf of Mexico, especially when little to no nutrient loss data has been collected from their farm.
 
So what are the most effective educational approaches to engaging agricultural producers on sensitive natural resource issues, such as off-site water quality concerns?   While that is a tough question to answer, one approach, the Discovery Farm Program, was initiated in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Extension Service, and has been implemented in six States to date, (Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Arkansas, Illinois and Washington). This Program has proven effective in getting producers actively engaged in determining their impact and finding management solutions that work on their farm for their situation.
 

Click here to view the entire Confluence eNewsletter and to learn more about Discovery Farm Programs in Arkansas and other states.
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Calendar of Events

July 14
BWA and Hobbs State Park Lakes Appreciation Month Kayak Tour
Rogers, AR

July 15

BWA White River Stewardship Float Trip
Eureka Springs, AR

July 16

OWW StreamSmart Training Workshop
Rogers, AR

July 20

BWA Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup of Highway 412
Springdale, AR

July 23

BWA Devil's Eyebrow Float, Cleanup, and Urban Forestry Forum
Garfield, AR

July 26

EPA Small Systems Webinar Series- Lead and Copper Tap Sampling Requirements and Techniques

July 26-27
AWRC Water Research Conference
Fayetteville, AR

July 28
BWA Lakes Appreciation Month Snorkeling Boat Tour
Rogers, AR

July 28
BWA Speaker Series - Dr. Robert Morgan, Beaver Water District
Rogers, AR

August 4
USDA-AFRI Proposal Applications Due

August 13
BWA Town Branch Cleanup
Fayetteville, AR

August 17
BWA Mullins Creek Cleaup
Fayetteville, AR

August 20
Secchi Day on Beaver Lake
Prairie Creek, AR

August 20

IRWP Bats and Bluegrass
Cave Springs, AR 

August 31
EPA Water Research Webinar Series - Systems View of Nutrient Management – Nutrient Modeling

September 21-22
ANRC and UA Division of Ag Nonpoint Source Pollution Stakeholder Meeting
Little Rock, AR

October 23-25
SW AWWA Annual Conference
Rogers, AR

October 27-28
ADEQ and ANRC Biennial Watershed Conference: A Fluid Mosaic - The Big Picture of Watersheds
Eureka Springs, AR
Job Openings


City of Rogers - Water Utilities
Plant Manager
Rogers, AR

Arkansas Rural Water Association
Multiple postings for managers and operators
Fort Smith, Little Rock, Higginson, AR


Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
Environmental Program Coordinator

Little Rock, AR

Garver
Multiple postings for managers and leaders
AR, TX, OK

Gates Corporation  
Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager 
Siloam Springs, AR 

Chemtura Corporation 
Environmental Engineer
El Dorado, AR