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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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April 2016
Top Experts Will Present at AWRC Water Conference
This year’s water conference is set for July 26-27, 2016 in Fayetteville. The theme for this year’s conference is Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and water quality, inspired by the recent working group on HABs in Arkansas.
 
Program:
HABs is still a new and emerging topic in Arkansas, so we’ve developed a regional program, bringing in experts from surrounding states where HABs have been a more prominent issue, in addition to speakers from within Arkansas.
 
We’ll open the conference with a session addressing the complex nature of water quality management, with presentations by John Lewis, from the National Weather Service in Arkansas, Rick Cruse, Director of the Iowa Water Center, and Heath Ward, Director of Springdale Water Utilities.
 
Rounding out the first day, we’ll hear about current research on nutrient sources and transport, water quality modeling and trends, and the use of biological thresholds to help inform nutrient criteria development. Each of these topics can have a direct impact on an emerging water quality concern in Arkansas – harmful algal blooms.
 
For the second day, we’re bringing in a group of national HABs experts including Hans Paerl, with the University of North Carolina, Alan Wilson of Auburn University, Bryan Brooks of Baylor University, Judy Westrick of Wayne State and Frank Blaha with the Water Research Foundation. We’ll also hear from agency personnel from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Session topics will focus on the science and research of HABs and toxins, as well as how agencies are prepared to evaluate and respond to HABs in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
 
Registration:
Online registration will be available in the coming days and end Monday, July 18th. Visit our
conference webpage to register soon.
 
Location:
The location for the conference is the Fayetteville Town Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This venue is at the historic downtown square in Fayetteville, surrounded by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains.
 
The Town Center is at 15 West Mountain in Fayetteville, 72701. For more information about the Fayetteville Town Center, visit their website at:
www.twncenter.com.
 
Accommodations:
If you’re coming from out of town, you can reserve a room at the Chancellor Hotel, just one block away from the Town Center. Use the reservation code “AWRC” to receive the $89/night government rate. To book under this reservation code, you must book your room by June 25, 2016. Visit the Chancellor Hotel website for accommodation and contact information:
www.hotelchancellor.com.
 
Visit our
website and stay tuned for more information. If you have any questions, contact Erin Scott at erins@uark.edu.

The amount of rain that falls before crops are planted - even months before - can influence agricultural production. For example, late winter or early spring storms can impact the growing season. Saturated soils might limit a farmer’s ability to complete necessary field work leading up to planting, which could delay the timing of planting and potentially shorten the growing period before harvest. If a farmer must delay planting due to field conditions, he or she may have to switch crop variety, or the type of crop altogether.
 
However, the article below by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, explains that the large rain event we received back in late December shouldn’t impact the amount of farm land in Arkansas devoted to rice this year.

Late Winter Rains Unlikely to Impact 2016 Rice Acreage
By Ryan McGeeney, UA System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

 
  • Rice acreage projected to increase 20 percent over 2015
  • Late winter rains may affect planting dates, but not overall acreage
  • Experts caution against exceeding 1.6 million acres for state
 
Despite receiving more than a foot of rain in four days in some portions of the state, the steady downpour isn’t likely to impact an overall increase 2016 rice acreage, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture experts said this week.
 
Jarrod Hardke, rice agronomist with the Division of Agriculture, said grower surveys indicate Arkansas farmers will be planting between 1.5 and 1.6 million acres of rice this year, a 20 percent jump from 2015. And although heavy rains across the state — especially pronounced in the southeastern third of Arkansas — could potentially push planting dates back into early April, they’re not likely going to impact growers’ long-range plans, he said.
 
“Obviously, what happens before planting determines a lot,” Hardke said. “Anywhere there are heavier clay soils are going to take this a lot harder. But lighter soils in the north, where they’re getting less rain, may end up in a better situation.
 
“But nothing currently suggests we’ll deviate from our current acreage projection,” he said. “Even as we reach eventual yield declines that happen as planting is pushed to late April or early May, when you look at the current price situation in rice, compared with other commodities, it still ‘pencils out’ better.”


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Bureau of Reclamation Seeks Your $20,000 Idea
The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with other federal agencies, is launching two new challenges, with a $20,000 prize for each.
  
The first is for new ideas about successful and cost-effective ways to allow fish passage downstream at tall dam sites. The solutions should minimize both stress on the fish and interference with the operation of the dam. The ultimate goal is to help recover threatened and endangered species such as salmon and steelhead trout.
 
The second challenge is about how to detect internal erosion in earthen embankments and dammed reservoirs, which can be a major driver in dam failures. Current detection methods are primarily based on visible signs of erosion, by which point enough damage has already occurred as to require costly mitigation or repair. The goal is to detect soil movement earlier than occurs by current visual inspection and instrumentation methods.
 
Submissions are due on May 10, 2016, and must be submitted through the Innocentive website. To submit entries for fish passage, go
here, and for erosion, go here. For more information about government challenges, view the list of challenges here.

How Feasible is a Water Crisis in Arkansas?

Little Rock, Arkansas - KTHV 11 Investigates the Possibility of Lead in Arkansas Drinking Water

An entire city in Michigan is plagued by lead-contaminated water, which killed 10 people and affected thousands, including children.
 
The Flint Water Crisis opened the eyes of many homeowners to the dangers of something we use every day--water.
 
“In certain ways, Flint is a unique situation,” said Jeff Stone, with the Arkansas Department of Health.
 
To save money, the city switched to a water source that was corrosive in 2014.
 
Corrosion happens when water travels through piping and pulls some of the metal out of the piping with it.
 
In the case of Flint, “It's an older city that has a lot of lead piping,” said Stone.
 
Stone assures the Natural State is fortunate because most of its structures were built after this piping was no longer used.
 
“We're not vulnerable in the same way that older communities, like Flint or Washington D.C.,” said Stone.


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Calendar of Events

April 26
EPA Small Systems Webinar Series - Disinfection Byproducts
Online

April 27
EPA Water Research Webinar Series - Major Ion Effects on Aquatic Organisms
Online

May 2-6
NWQMC National Water Monitoring Conference
Tampa, FL

May 19

BWA Speaker Series - Patti Erwin, Arkansas Forestry Commission
Fayetteville, AR

June 21-23

UCOWR/NIWR Annual Water Resources Conference
Pensacola Beach, FL

July 26-27

AWRC Water Research Conference
Fayetteville, AR
Job Openings

Olsson Associates
Senior Biologist
Multiple in OK, KS, CO, NE

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Biologist Specialist
Mountain Home, AR

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
Engineer
North Little Rock, AR

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