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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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August 2015
High School Student Joins AWRC for Summer Internship
Blake Arnold, a senior at Greenland High School, spent the summer working at the Arkansas Water Resources Center.
 
Blake is in the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) program, a projects-based program that provides students with opportunities to use cutting edge technology in a variety of fields. Some of the projects Blake has been working on in EAST include engineering and building a small hover craft and cooking up biodiesel fuel to shoot off home-made rockets. He also has an interest in geospatial information systems (GIS), which is why we brought him in.
Blake used ArcMap software to produce maps and crunch GIS data for a variety of water quality monitoring projects for the Center. He spent his days, sometimes painstakingly (software crash!), at the computer delineating watershed boundaries and calculating land use and land cover. We’re using the data that Blake produced to help demonstrate how land use around the stream and throughout a watershed can affect water quality.
 
AWRC plans to continue its successful partnership with the EAST programs throughout the region. What a great opportunity to work with students and help in the effort to train future scientists and engineers! 
New USGS Gaging Stations Installed in NWA
The U.S. Geological Survey installed two new gaging stations in northwest Arkansas, both of which are funded by the City of Fayetteville.  One station is on Town Branch (
USGS Station No. 07048495) on Armstrong Street in southeast Fayetteville.  The other station is on Mud Creek (USGS Station No. 071948095) on Gregg Avenue in north Fayetteville, near Johnson, AR. These stations started collecting data in June 2015.
 
These new stations provide near real-time water quality, as well as discharge.  Both stations continuously monitor things like precipitation, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. Water depth, or gage height, is also continuously monitored, and the USGS uses this information to estimate discharge at each site. Stream discharge can be used with concentration data to estimate constituent loads and evaluate long term trends in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.
 
The addition of the new gaging stations at Town Branch and Mud Creek came as three existing stations went offline. There are no longer active stations at Niokaska Creek at Gulley Park, Town Branch at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., or a tributary to Town Branch at Walker Park. Visit the USGS
National Water Information System (NWIS) website for a complete list of gaging stations throughout Arkansas and across the nation.
AWRC Highlights Storm Drain Art
If you attended the AWRC 2015 conference, you had the opportunity to select a conference t-shirt of your choice. There were three designs to choose from and all were part of the UpStream Art storm drain mural project. Each of those designs can be found on the streets of Northwest Arkansas as an educational message to help protect waterways from stormwater runoff.

Starting this month, the AWRC newsletter will feature a storm drain mural that can be found somewhere on our cities’ streets either through the UpStream Art project in Northwest Arkansas or the DrainSmart project that operates in Little Rock.


This month’s design is by Lee Peaslee Porter and is called “Stripes”.  Lee painted this piece in 2014 and was her second year to be painting with UpStream Art.  The art can be found at Church Ave. and Spring St. in Fayetteville. Lee moved to Fayetteville to study landscape architecture at the University of Arkansas. Her interests of making spaces aesthetically pleasing, communicating, drawing, being outside and plants are embodied in the field of landscape architecture and environmental design. She currently spends her time working as a freelance designer and working for the City of Fayetteville’s Sustainability and Resilience Department. Her message with her art is: Love where you live...

Why storm drain murals? The purpose of UpStream Art, a project of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, is to draw attention to the usually discreet concrete and iron infrastructure with the hope that observers stop and think about where the water flows after it enters a storm drain. If residents understand that stormwater flows untreated to creeks, streams, rivers and lakes, then they will be more conscious of potential pollutants that can enter those waterways. Look in future newsletters about everyday tips on what you can do to protect our water from urban stormwater runoff.

For more information on Arkansas storm drain murals:
www.nwaupstreamart.com or www.drain-smart.org.
Water Plan for Arkansas is Nearly Complete
Johnathan Reaves, UALR Public Radio

Since 2012, The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission has been working on drafting a plan that will be in place until 2050. Final public meetings on the final rules in the plan are taking place across the state. Next year, Arkansas should have a new water plan in place. 

Meetings have been held in Russellville and Jonesboro [as well as Little Rock, Fayetteville, El Dorado and Stuttgart], with [three] more meetings yet to be held. One in [Texarkana] is set for [this Thursday].

The water plan is designed to cover existing and future water use, quantifying available water supplies to meet existing and future water use, and the development of water resource solutions and recommendations.

Edward Swaim is Acting Deputy Director of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. He says the plan will cover areas like crop irrigation, public water supply, power generation, infrastructure, and more. He also says supplies meet the needs.

“We may look at what is available in reservoirs in the state, as well as rivers and streams, and groundwater,” said Swaim. “We look at trends with both demand and supply during that period out to 2050. We look at demands that we don’t think can be met and we call those ‘gaps’. Knowing which gaps are there allows us to explore which tools and processes can be used to close those gaps.”

He says the plan must also address any funding gaps that may exist.

“We have infrastructure gaps. We have close to $6 billion in public water supply needs just in the next 10 years. With wastewater needs, that is another $4 billion. There is a fiscal gap that we have to meet. Additionally, we have to finance water and sewer projects and take care of other needs.”


READ MORE

New Law Requires EPA Plan on Cyanotoxins

American Water Works Association

AWWA is committed to working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the states and others to find ways to address both the causes of and the impacts of cyanotoxins. Now there’s new legislative energy behind the issue. Late last week, President Obama signed into law H.R. 212, the
Drinking Water Protection Act. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, in the House and Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in the Senate. It requires EPA to develop and submit a plan to Congress by Nov. 5 to evaluate harmful cyanotoxins risks to human health and to recommend feasible treatment options to mitigate any adverse public health effects. The law also would require the EPA to publish a list of harmful cyanotoxins, summarize their known adverse health effects, and issue health advisories for them.

In our view, it’s also absolutely critical that all involved remember that effectively managing cyanotoxins begins with better source water protection. Controlling nutrient pollution -- especially nitrogen and phosphorus -- in water bodies will reduce cyanotoxin-producing algal blooms like the one that shut down drinking water for more than 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, last August. Toledo gets its drinking water from Lake Erie, and another large algal bloom is expected in Lake Erie this summer.
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Calendar of Events

August 18

BWA and WCRC Cato Springs Invasive Plant Removal Event
Fayetteville, AR

August 20

UA Division of Ag. Public Policy Center Water Quality Public Stakeholder Forum: L'Anguille Watershed
Wynne, AR

ANRC Arkansas Water Plan Public Hearing
Texarkana, AR

August 21
LFWP Gearhead Benefit
Fayetteville, AR

August 22
IRWP Bats and Bluegrass
Cave Springs, AR

August 24

UA Division of Ag. Public Policy Center Water Quality Public Stakeholder Forum: Illinois River Watershed
Fayetteville, AR

August 25

UA Division of Ag. Public Policy Center Water Quality Public Stakeholder Forum: Beaver Reservoir Watershed
Clifty, AR

ANRC Arkansas Water Plan Public Hearing
Monticello, AR

August 27

ANRC Arkansas Water Plan Public Hearing
Harrison, AR

IECA Roadshow :Stormwater Workshop
Bella Vista, AR

August 29

IRWP Trails and Waterways Bike Ride
Cave Springs, AR

September 19

ABLE Beaver Lake Games
Rogers, AR

September 25

BWA Beaver Lake Watershed Symposium
Huntsville, AR

September 26
Beaver Lake Cleanup
Rogers, AR

October 14-15
IRWP 60th Midwest Groundwater Conference
Bentonville, AR

October 18-22
EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference
Hot Springs, AR
Job Openings

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Biologist (Multiple Openings for Specialists and Supervisor)

Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
Land Resource Specialist
Bentonville, AR

Grand Prairie Regional Water District
General Manager
Stuttgart, AR