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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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January 2016
UA Faculty Seeks New Graduate Students
Dr. Benjamin Runkle is recruiting a PhD and or Masters student to join the Landscape Flux Group in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
 
The student will conduct research on rice agricultural systems with an emphasis on water, energy and carbon budgets. This position will work closely with researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Initial funding is available for travel, equipment and international collaboration.
 
Students with a background in environmental engineering, wetland ecology, biogeochemistry, biometeorology, watershed hydrology or agricultural sciences are encouraged to apply.
 
The start date is flexible, and students can begin immediately, in January 2016, or during the summer or fall of 2016. To apply, email the following information to Dr. Runkle (brrunkle@uark.edu): curriculum vitae, GRE scores, TOEFL if relevant, unofficial transcript, contact information of two references, a sample of your scientific writing, and a description of your research interests.
 
More information about these openings can be found
here and information about Dr. Runkle’s research activities can be found here.
Storm Drain Art Engages Community
Artists across northwest Arkansas are helping to educate the public about our communities’ storm drain infrastructure in a beautiful way. Storm drain murals have sprouted up on our cities’ streets and have even inspired a similar program in Little Rock.
 
Painted in 2013 by Napoleon Dezaldivar, New Growth (pictured above) is located at Tiger Blvd. and NW “A” St in Bentonville. The mural was painted as part of the UpStream Art project. UpStream Art has painted 50 murals in northwest Arkansas 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.
 
“My piece was created with a symbolic message of the importance of clean water and its effects on the environment as a whole. It was also designed to reflect the natural environment where it is painted. The flowers and roots stand for new growth as we continue to be mindful of our environment and community. The stems of the flowers have a pipe-like appearance to show how even the city systems are working to provide clean water back to nature.” – Napoleon
 
Napoleon Dezaldivar (pictured above) was born in 1975 in Palo Alto, California and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BFA in Fine Arts. He currently teaches art at Old High Middle School in Bentonville, Arkansas and is married with three children. Napoleon has displayed artwork in different parts of Northwest Arkansas including the University of Arkansas, Arts Center of the Ozarks, NWACC and the Springdale Public Library. Using a colorful pallet, he contrasts genres of urban, abstract, and symbolic elements to tell a story of surreal visions and life events.  “Much of my art illustrates the idea of reaching out for something beyond. The elements of my work pull together then reach out for something beyond the surface.”-
Napoleon Dezaldivar

Did you know? Many cities in Arkansas have ordinances that protect the storm drain infrastructure. Only rain is allowed down storm drains. This means that anything other than clean rainwater is prohibited from entering the storm drain system including leaf litter. As leaves pile up, they can clog storm drains creating potential flooding issues.
 
For more information on the UpStream Art project managed through the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Northwest Arkansas, visit:
www.nwaupstreamart.com or Facebook at /nwaupstreamart.
Call for Abstracts for American Ecological Engineering Society
The American Ecological Engineering Society is accepting proposals for oral and poster presentations at their upcoming annual conference. The conference will be hosted by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on June 7-9, 2016.
 
This year’s conference theme is “Rooftop to Rivers: Integrating Natural and Built Systems”. If you’re interested in topics such as environmental restoration, management of wetlands, streams and riparian systems, and how these systems integrate with the needs of society through policies and planning, then this conference is for you. In addition to technical sessions, there will be opportunities for technical field trips, a student design competition, and various networking activities.
 
The deadline to
submit proposals for oral presentations is February 5, 2016 and proposals for poster presentations will be accepted through April 2016. For more information, visit the conference website or contact Timothy Gangaware, Associate Director of the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center, at gangwrrc@utk.edu or 865-974-2151.
Researchers Study Sediments in Priority Watershed
Drs. Kelly Bryant and Hal Liechty, research faculty at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, are studying water quality in a priority watershed in Arkansas. They received funding from the Arkansas Water Resources Center through the US Geological Survey 104B Program for their research.
 
The Problem: Streams and rivers in the Bayou Bartholomew watershed are degraded due to high sediment loads and turbidity. The Bayou Bartholomew watershed, located in southeast Arkansas, covers 1 million acres of land, so implementing best management practices at this scale would be impossible. In a previous research effort to identify the most problematic areas within the watershed, sediment loads for smaller sub-watersheds were modeled and estimated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Lower Cutoff Creek was one of the sub-watersheds estimated to have greater sediment loads compared to other sub-watersheds in Bayou Bartholomew.
 
So What?: Millions of dollars are spent in Arkansas to address water-quality degradation through implementing best management practices on the landscape and the areas near water bodies. However, efforts should be targeted to where they’ll have the biggest impacts on water-quality improvements. So, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission has ranked areas within priority watersheds where best management practices should be targeted.
 
The Research Question: Bryant and Liechty wanted to know, are sediment concentrations actually higher in Lower Cutoff Creek, which was ranked as a priority sub-watershed by the SWAT model, than in Upper Cutoff Creek, an adjacent sub-watershed bordering on the north ranked as a low priority sub-watershed? Additionally, do bridges contribute to increased sediment concentrations in the study streams?
 
The Methods: The research team collected water samples at 7 locations on Upper Cutoff Creek and 7 locations on Lower Cutoff Creek, which included sites upstream and downstream from bridges. They collected water samples each week between April 2014 and January 2015, which included both base-flow and stormwater runoff conditions, and then measured sediment concentrations.
 
The Findings: Sediment concentrations in Lower Cutoff Creek were not different than those in Upper Cutoff Creek, with average concentrations of 13 mg/L and ranging from 1 to 80 mg/L throughout the study period. This result is interesting and surprising since the SWAT model ranked Lower Cutoff Creek as an area with high sediment loads and Upper Cutoff Creek to have relatively low sediment loads. Bridges, which have been implicated in increased sediment transport, didn’t cause an increase in sediment concentrations downstream compared to upstream.
 
The Benefits: This study shows that sediment concentrations were not different between Lower and Upper Cutoff Creeks, which varied in priority rankings based on the watershed model. This underscores the potential limitations of using model estimations to identify priority sub-watersheds as target areas for the implementation of best management practices. However, there might be differences in land use and hydrology between the two sub-watersheds that could influence sediment concentrations at a range of flow conditions. Water-quality monitoring can provide important information to water resource managers about how watershed characteristics influence the water quality of streams and rivers.
Arkansas Christmas Flooding Most Extensive in 25 Years on Some Rivers
From USGS

Significant flood peaks occurred across the Arkansas, White and Red River Basins in Arkansas beginning on Dec. 26 and the rivers are still high, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  

“The flooding that began Christmas weekend is the most extensive and severe flooding to strike some places, particularly the Arkansas River, since 1990,” said Jonathan Gillip, a USGS hydrologist in Arkansas. “Based on historical data, it appears that some of the most unusual floods, in terms of magnitude, occurred in the Arkansas River near Fort Smith, Dardanelle and Little Rock and its tributaries. This includes sites like the Fourche LaFave River near Gravelly and Flint Creek near Siloam Springs.”   

Heavy rainfall of up to 10 inches in northern and western Arkansas fell during Christmas weekend and is still causing major flooding in some areas. Water levels increased at some locations by as much as 40 feet over the duration of the flood event. More than 30 streamgages in Arkansas operated by the USGS experienced a “top 10” flood, meaning this flood event was one of the 10 highest flood events ever recorded at these streamgages.  Most of these streamgages were located in the Arkansas and White River basins.

 “Over the holiday, USGS field crews were out measuring historic flooding, some river sites were at levels we haven’t experienced in many years,” said Jaysson Funkhouser, a hydrologist with the USGS in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Preliminary calculations of the most extreme flood sites show that there’s only a 2 to 4 percent chance of exceeding this level of flooding in any given year (50 to 25 year floods).”


READ MORE
NWQMC Solicits Award Nominations
Do you know anyone or any group who has contributed “above and beyond”, who has made an exceptional difference, in the field of water quality monitoring or water resource management? If you answered “yes”, please consider nominating them for an award from the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC).
 
The
Elizabeth J. Fellows Award recognizes an individual for outstanding achievement, exemplary service and distinguished leadership in the field of water quality monitoring or natural resource management. The Barry Long Award honors an individual who demonstrates exceptional perseverance, positive spirit and significant contributions to water resource protection. And the Vision Award recognizes a group for their extraordinary vision and cooperation in the management and protection of water resources.
 
Awards will be given during the National Monitoring Conference held on May 2-6, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. To nominate an individual or group, visit the
conference website to access a pdf form, or simply email Dan Sullivan at djsulliv@usgs.gov with the following information: your name and contact information, the nominee’s name, affiliation and contact information, and a 1-2 paragraph explanation of why this person or group should receive the award for which you’re nominating them.
 
The deadline for nominations is Friday, January 31, 2016.
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Calendar of Events

January 19
Deadline to submit abstract for UCOWR/NIWR Annual Water Resources Conference

January 21
Blue Pathways Workshop
Fayetteville, AR

January 26
Deadline to submit ANRC 319 Program Workplan

EPA Small Systems Webinar Series
Online

January 27
Arkansas Soil and Water Education Conference
Jonesboro, AR

January 29
Deadline to submit abstract for Arkansas AFS meeting

January 30
BWA Forest Management Workshop
Hobbs State Park, Rogers, AR

January 31
Deadline to submit award nominations for NWQMC

February 5
Deadline to submit abstract for AEES conference

February 10-12
AFS Annual Meeting
Fairfield Bay, AR

February 15
Deadline to submit application for OSU Research Experience for Undergraduates
Stillwater, OK

February 25
Deadline to submit proposal for AWRC-USGS 104G Program Grant

February 26
Deadline to submit proposal for AGFC State Wildlife Grant

February 27
BWA Cleanup at Richland Creek
Goshen, AR

March 18-19
ONSC Teacher Workshop on Watersheds
Huntsville, AR

March 19
BWA Cleanup at War Eagle Creek
Withrow Springs State Park, Huntsville, AR

March 24-25
OSU Annual Student Water Conference
Stillwater, OK

May 2-6

NWQMC National Water Monitoring Conference
Tampa, FL

June 21-23

UCOWR/NIWR Annual Water Resources Conference
Pensacola Beach, FL
Job Openings

Arkansas Department of Health (Engineering)
Engineer Technician
Little Rock, AR

Little Rock Wastewater
Engineering Technician
Little Rock, AR

Garver
Several postings for Project Managers, Engineers and Interns
Little Rock, Fayetteville, and regionally