by: Angela Danovi, Beaver LakeSmart Project Director
Promoting the demonstration of new lake-friendly parking areas, mentoring new stream and lake water monitoring volunteers, launching the Arkansas Clean Marina Program, and hosting 15 public education events that reached over 3,500 people were just a few of the major accomplishments of Ozarks Water Watch in Arkansas this year! Through our local Beaver LakeSmart program, and with the help of many dedicated volunteers and wonderful partners we are proud to be able to bring you this summary of accomplishments for water quality in 2016!
Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Successes
Our volunteer monitoring programs were very successful this year, meeting our goals for new teams and for monitoring. In July, we welcomed our largest class of StreamSmart Volunteer trainees and by November several new teams were established including a new team on campus at the University of Arkansas, a new team on Ward Slough in the West Fork of the White River, and a new team on Hock Creek, representing our first reach into the Richland Creek Watershed. The cumulative impact of our volunteers can be seen with their volunteer hours and the value they bring to our monitoring programs.
In September, we celebrated our volunteer accomplishments with the annual volunteer appreciation dinner where several people received awards for their outstanding service. This year we honored Bruce Pertle for his 4 years of service while monitoring 3 different sites in the Beaver Lake Watershed. Thank you Bruce for all of your support!
Clean Marina is Launched in Arkansas
Two marinas signed on to the Arkansas Clean Marina Program this year, Prairie Creek Marina and Holiday Island Marina. By joining the Arkansas Clean Marina Program they agreed to take their best management practices to a higher level by lowering the chance of maintenance fluids entering the waterways, providing more training for their employees, and providing education to their clients about best practices to protect water quality. These marinas are on track to become designated clean marinas in 2017, leading the way on water quality protection across Beaver Lake and in the state of Arkansas.
Cleaner Water at Lake Atalanta
This year we were privileged to partner with and provide grant funding support to the City of Rogers, AR as they installed 2 permeable paving surfaces as part of their renovation of Lake Atalanta Park. These parking surfaces help protect the water quality of Prairie Creek and Lake Atalanta by capturing runoff and pollutants before they reach the waterway. The new Lake Atalanta Park was opened to the public in October. See more about this project at our website: http://www.ozarkswaterwatch.org/activities/lake-atalanta-pavers-gravel-pave/
On November 30, we hosted over 300 students at Lake Atalanta. Along with demonstrating the gravel pave system for capturing rainwater and pollutants, the new gravel pave also proved it could withstand the impact of several school buses parking on it.
Learn more about the Lake Atalanta Renovation, October Grand Opening, and our permeable paving projects at the link below.
Beaver LakeSmart Education Reaches Over 3500 People
We had a very series for outreach and education in 2016, delivering 15 different events and reaching over 3,500 people across the watershed and in Northwest Arkansas.
In January we hosted the 2016 Northwest Arkansas Environmental Education and Outreach Networking meeting, where we visited part of the new Lake Atalanta renovation. The event was a great opportunity for non-formal educators to learn about water quality and environmental education opportunities they could share with their own students and networks.
In March we partnered with University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to host an demonstration installing the permeable pavers at Lake Atalanta Park in Rogers. City engineers from Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Bella Vista watched the installation of permeable pavers, were able to ask questions, and learn more about how to apply these techniques in their cities to protect water quality.
In April we provided watershed education to over 530 students who attended Earth Day at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks. The students learned about point source and non point source pollution, runoff, pet waste, fertilizers, chemicals, storm drains, and household hazardous wastes while simulating daily life in the Ozarks through the watershed model.
In August we partnered again with Beaver Water District and a local Girl Scout troop for Secchi Day on Beaver Lake. Our booth featured the popular exhibit of live macroinvertebrates!! Visitors could pick up crayfish, hellgrammites, stoneflies, caddisflies, and many other macroinvertebrates. The high school girl scouts talked with the visitors about the importance of the macroinvertebrates and their role in water quality.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered for water quality monitoring, visited our booth, shared our permeable paver project with others, read our blogs, and interacted on our social media page. You are helping to share the importance of protecting our water quality now and for future generations. I look forward to a great 2017!