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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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Arkansas Water Resources Center
Newsletter - April 2015
AWRC’s 2015 Annual Conference
 
“Meeting Arkansas’s Water Needs Now and Into the Future” is the theme of this year’s AWRC Watersheds and Research Conference and will be held on July 21-22, 2015 in Fayetteville, AR.
 
We’re creating a timely agenda that includes a keynote address by Edward Swaim of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, where he’ll provide a synthesis of the Arkansas Water Plan. The conference sessions are designed to address important water issues in Arkansas, including:
 
  • Animal Manure and the Land-Water Interface – 20 Years Later;
  • Agricultural Water Management in the Delta;
  • Emerging Research by Students Funded Through the USGS 104B Program;
  • Urban Stormwater Management
 
Jessica Johnson, the Stormwater Coordinator for the City of Hot Springs, will teach a workshop on Stormwater Management for Construction Sites. Participants will receive professional development hours and have the opportunity to gain ADEQ recognized certification.
 
This year’s conference is sure to be interesting and informative and we hope you can join us. Stay tuned for more information about conference proceedings
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grant Opportunity
 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through the National Institutes for Water Resources, is soliciting proposals for their competitive grants program. The closing date is July 17, 2015. Click here for more information.
Researcher Spotlight on
Dr. Andrew Sharpley
 
 Professor of Soils and Water Quality -  Department of Crop, Soil and  Environmental  Sciences
 
 Sharpley received a base grant from the  Arkansas Water Resources Center through  the US Geological Survey 104B program to fund a research project titled “Development and Implementation of Nutrient Reduction Measures for Poultry Houses.”
 
The problem: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), runoff from poultry production areas like broiler houses can potentially contribute nutrients to “waters of the U.S.” That means that runoff from these poultry production activities could be regulated by EPA as outlined in the Clean Water Act.
 
So what?: The EPA conducted inspections of poultry farms in northwest Arkansas from 2010 to 2012 and identified a need for farmers to implement best management practices (BMPs) for their production facilities. Some common BMPs include the use of well-designed wastewater lagoons, storing litter under tarp and weights, and creation of a nutrient management plan.
 
The Research Question: Lots of dust settles outside the fans at poultry facilities. How much nutrients are carried away by runoff during rainfall? And, what are some BMPs that could reduce this transport? Sharpley wanted to measure the amount of nutrients carried away from these areas during rain events because there was so little information available about nutrient sources around the facilities. The ultimate goal was to identify which BMPs might work best.
 
The Methods: Sharpley studied poultry houses on the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Savoy Poultry Farm and on two private farms in northwest Arkansas. There were two parts to the study. The first one was small-scale where they sprinkled dust from poultry house fans onto small plots of land and used simulated rainfall to measure nutrients in runoff. The second was large-scale where they measured nutrients in runoff during natural rain events. They also put material known to bind phosphorus near the poultry house fans to see if it reduced the amounts of nutrients in runoff.
 
The Findings: Natural processes and BMPs helped reduce the transport of nutrients from the areas where dust accumulated by the fans at the poultry facilities. Nutrient concentrations were relatively high in rainfall runoff closest to the fans, but concentrations decreased substantially further away. All BMPs evaluated by Sharpley helped reduce nutrient concentrations. These BMPs included ponds and large grassy areas, which slows the flow of water and allows more time for water and nutrients to be absorbed into the soil and taken up by plants.  Applying materials to the ground where dust accumulates to bind the nutrients also helped reduce the transport of nutrients in runoff from rain events.
 
The benefits: Sharpley’s group measured the potential for nutrients in fan dust that settles on the ground to make its way to nearby streams and rivers. They also identified best management practices that farmers can use to reduce the amount of nutrients in runoff. Ultimately, Sharpley wants to gather enough information for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help fund on-farm adoption of BMPs.
Modeling Workshop
Hosted by Dr. Thad Scott
 
 Dr. Thad Scott of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas 
hosted a workshop on water quality modeling in March. 

The workshop featured presentations by Clelia Marti, deputy 
director of the Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia. “This workshop was intended to introduce a novel water quality modeling platform that was developed in Australia for applications in our region and eventually across Arkansas and the U.S.”, Scott said.
 
During the first day of the workshop the public was invited to attend and stakeholders from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, U.S. Geological Survey, Beaver Water District, Arkansas Water Resources Center, private consulting firms and interested citizens attended. Six water quality professionals stayed through the week and worked hands-on with Dr. Marti on model development. By the end of the week, they completed a water quality model for Lake Wister in Oklahoma.
 
Water quality models can be created using computer simulations that look at relationships between water quality and environmental data, like water chemistry, soil type, vegetation and precipitation. Water quality models rely on data collected, which is used to help the model simulate what’s going on in the environment. These models are then incredible tools used to evaluate what-if scenarios, because we can’t always collect data to answer these questions.
 
The workshop was part of a greater effort by Dr. Scott’s biogeochemistry lab to develop a modeling program to assess water quality for the southern region of the U.S. “Our hope is to expand the application of this model to other waterbodies influenced by human-induced environmental change”, explained Dr. Scott. The modeling platform can be used by other researchers, as well, to study water quality and landscape activities.  
Organization Spotlight on
Beaver Water District
 



Once a month, laboratory and environmental technicians at Beaver Water District (BWD) in Lowell gather equipment, load the SUV, and head out around 8 a.m. for “the long run.” On Tuesday, Dec. 16, it was overcast, the temperature hovered at or just above freezing, and the wind gusted to as much as 24 miles an hour. Sabrina Bowman, Environmental Technician, and Cindy Harp, Laboratory Technician, were bundled up in coats and gloves and boots, braced to face the elements. Dot Neely, Education Coordinator, and Amy Wilson, Public Affairs Director, had arrived to ride along that day to observe, take photographs, and learn.
 
“We call it the long run because we drive a long way and it takes an entire morning to visit sites on tributaries throughout the Beaver Lake Watershed,” Bowman said. “At every stop, we gather samples and record measurements. It’s a long morning and sometimes in the winter, like today, the weather can be brutal.”
 
READ MORE
Upcoming Events

April 18, 2015
BioBlitz at Ozark Natural Science Center
Huntsville, AR

April 22, 2015 
Happy Earth Day!

Mullins Creek Cleanup
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Scull Creek Cleanup
Fayetteville, AR

April 25, 2015
East Fork Cleanup 
Bunch Park, Elkins

Trails & Waterways Bike Ride
Cave Springs, AR              

May 2, 2015
Rain Garden Academy (workshop)
Hobbs State Park, Rogers AR

May 16, 2015
West Fork Cleanup
Walker Park, Fayetteville, AR

May 30, 2015
War Eagle Appreciation Day
War Eagle Creek
 
Upcoming Conferences

June 2
Connecting Families and Nature
Ozarks Water Watch

June 3-5, 2015
Designing 21st Century Grasslands: Fire, Water, Conservation, & Carbon
American Ecological Engineering Society

July 21-22
Meeting Arkansas's Water Needs Now and Into the Future
Arkansas Water Resources Center

October 14-15
60th Midwest Groundwater Conference 
Illinois River Watershed Partnership
 

Job Seeking?


Central Arkansas Water
Water Quality Intern

Garver
   Project Engineer

     Frisco, TX
   Summer Intern
     North Little Rock, AR

   Summer Intern
     Tulsa, OK


Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
   Engineer
Contact Us
 

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