Category Archives: Best Management Practices

Managing landscapes with prescribed fire

by: Angela Danovi, Project Coordinator for Beaver LakeSmart

Over the next several weeks you may notice smoke or fire at areas you visit around Beaver Lake, within the Beaver Lake Watershed, or across the state of Arkansas. This time of year fires occurring on public lands are likely part of a prescribed fire management plan. In January, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced planned burns for Horseshoe Bend, War Eagle, Starkey, and Blue Springs recreational areas around Beaver Lake. Planned burns were also announced for the wildlife management area around Greers Ferry Lake and land surrounding Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes. Additionally, national forest managers are currently conducting prescribed burns in areas across the Ouachita and the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.

Many people do not understand how or why fire is used to manage lands while others react to what they see as a destructive practice against plants and animals. Fire scars found in Arkansas tree rings reveal that fire historically swept through the region at least every five to eight years, prior to the 1930s.  During the 1930s, intensive fire suppression tactics were undertaken.  Now, more than 80 years of fire suppression, we have changed the ecosystem, making it more vulnerable to catastrophic natural disasters and diseases while reducing ecological diversity, niche spaces, and wildlife habitat. Adapting our forest and land management plans to allow for prescribed fire can help to re-establish a healthy ecosystem.

Prescribed fire is generally described as a strategically planned and carefully managed fire application used to accomplish specific conservation or land management objectives.   Prescribed fire objectives include lowering wildfire threats by reducing fuels such as dead trees and limbs, improving wildlife habitat, regenerating plants and trees, controlling vegetation such as non-native or invasive plants,and restoring ecosystems.

Benefits of Prescribed Burning, Fact Sheet, 2017

Each prescribed fire has a scientific plan prepared in advance that describes the objectives of the fire, fuels, planned size, map of the planned burn area, and the precise environmental conditions under which it will burn. Fire managers consider various environmental conditions before beginning a prescribed burn including air temperature, relative humidity, and winds. One tool some fire managers use is the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), a drought scale ranging from 0 – 800 specifically designed to assess wildfire risk. The higher the number on the KBDI scale, the greater the threat of wildfires in a specific area.  A high threat of wildfires means prescribed fires should not be started.

During the wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN in November, the KBDI scale was over 600.  This means environmental conditions in Gatlinburg at the time such as low humidity, low soil moisture, low rainfall, and high winds indicated a very high risk of wildfire. The wildfire that burned through Gatlinburg ignited and expanded after two teenagers threw a lit match on the ground.  The resulting wildfire caused catastrophic damage and loss of life.  Currently, Northwest Arkansas is in the lowest range on the KBDI scale, meaning we generally have a low threat for wildfires and favorable conditions for land managers to safely complete prescribed burns. However, a final decision about whether or not to burn an area is always made on the day of the fire, based on specific conditions at the location of the prescribed fire.

Prescribed fire is not limited to public lands and is allowed on private land.  However, prescribed fires should only be done by trained individuals under the right conditions to reduce any chance of a prescribed fire turning into a wildfire.  Remember, the difference between a prescribed fire and a wildfire is control.  Trained professionals have the knowledge and experience to manage a prescribed fire.  Before deciding to use prescribed fire as a management tool, we recommend landowners get a forest management plan, available for free by contacting the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Once you identify prescribed fire as practice for your land, you will want to seek help in preparing a prescribed fire plan, identifying individuals to assist you on the day you plan to burn, and contacting appropriate agencies.  You will find several links below that provide critical information about doing prescribed fires in Arkansas including a sample plan, agency contacts, and potential personnel who are trained in prescribed fires.  Also, our colleagues at the Beaver Watershed Alliance occasionally conduct workshops on prescribed fire. Regardless of whether you plan to use prescribed fire on your property or you simply want to learn more about the science of fire, you can help promote managing our watershed for healthy forests and healthy land.

Prescribed Fire Resources

Arkansas Prescribed Fire Network – The Arkansas Prescribed Fire Network is a cooperative project of the Arkansas Prescribed Fire Council. The purpose of the Network is to provide accurate information on the use and benefits of prescribed fire in Arkansas, provide a place where people can come to find information, post photos, learn about training and equipment locations, and find help getting their own prescribed fires accomplished safely and effectively.

This is a great resource for specific information for prescribed fire planning and contacts.

GoodFires – and sister website are part of a 13-state effort to strengthen appreciation for our precious natural lands, as well as to promote understanding of and support for the key role played by prescribed fire.

Why We Burn: Prescribed Burning as a Management Tool – Publication FSA-5009 by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

Fire Prescriptions for Maintenance and Restoration of Native Plant Communities – Publication F-2878 by Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service

Fire: US Drought Portal within the National Integrated Drought Information Systems – Has several resources for tracking drought and fire risk




Permeable Paving Demonstrated at Lake Atalanta

by: Angela Danovi, Program Director of Beaver LakeSmart

Water quality protection, reduced runoff, and aesthetically pleasing public parking are just some of the benefits Ozarks Water Watch has helped to contribute in the current renovation at Lake Atalanta in Rogers.  Over the past several weeks, we have shared photos and information about the permeable paver project.  Today, we are going to share photos and information about how the pavers were installed and the benefits the pavers will provide to the community and to water quality in the Lake Atalanta and Beaver Lake Watershed.

What are Permeable Pavers?

Permeable is a term used to describe paving methods for roads, parking lots, and walkways. A permeable paving system allows water and air to move around the paving material. The permeable pavers that have been placed near the entrance to Lake Atalanta are an interlocking paver.  They look similar to a brick.  However, they have small notches on the side that allows them to interlock with one another while leaving space for rainwater to infiltrate into a layered media that is placed beneath the pavers.  Permeable pavers are different from pervious pavers because water cannot infiltrate through the paver but is instead directed to the edge of the paver where it infiltrates into the ground.  Learn more about the type of permeable pavers installed at Lake Atalanta here.

Bethany Alender from Beaver Watershed Alliance holds a pervious paver during a demonstration installation at Lake Atalanta


Permeable paver with interlocking notches allows for the pavers to lock together while leaving space for water to pass between pavers and infiltrate into underlying media


Pallets of Unilock interlocking permeable pavers at the construction site prior to installation.

How are permeable pavers installed?

A permeable paving system generally has three layers of clean gravel.  Each subsequent layer of gravel is smaller than the layer the beneath it.  The interlocking pavers sit on top of the layer of the smallest size gravel.  In some systems small rock is placed between the pavers to maintain space and allow water to infiltrate between the pavers.  For the system at Lake Atalanta, the notches on each paver lock the network of pavers together while leaving space for water to infiltrate between them.


A base layer of clean and washed gravel is laid as part of the permeable paver system at Lake Atalanta


The second layer of clean and washed gravel is laid as part of the permeable paver system at Lake Atalanta


The second layer of the permeable paver system is compacted.


permeable paver layers


Top layer of clean and washed chipped rock is spread over the permeable paver site.


The top layer of chipped rock in the permeable paver system is spread and evenly layered.


The pavers are placed by hand, interlocking each of the notches together and are gently tapped into place.


Design plan for permeable pavers. The pavers are laid out in a herringbone pattern.



The pavers are placed by hand, interlocking each of the notches together and are gently tapped into place.

paver layers

The four layers of the permeable paver system at Lake Atalanta


See the finished permeable pavers at Lake Atalanta:


The permeable paver parking area at Lake Atalanta


Installed permeable paver interlocked together with space for water infiltration


Edge of the permeable paver system. The system will be enclosed with curbs on the outer edge and concrete on the inner edge.


The completed permeable paver project at the entrance to Lake Atalanta


Benefits of Permeable Pavers to the Community:

  1. Permeable or pervious pavers allow water to infiltrate back into the ground.  This allows for rainwater to recharge local groundwater supplies, rather than quickly running into nearby creeks or streams.
  2. Permeable pavers reduce flashy runoff during rain storms.  Flash flooding is a result of rain falling on too much impervious surface in a concentrated area during a storm.  With permeable pavers, water can infiltrate into the ground, reducing runoff during rainstorms, reducing high streamflows during storms, and allowing water to slowly percolate, providing more water for streams throughout the year, rather than just during storms.
  3. When reflective, light-colored pavers are used, permeable pavers can be effective in reducing the urban heat island effect. Conventional asphalt absorbs most of the sunlight that strikes it because of its dark color.  That light is converted to heat and radiated back out, contributing to relatively higher temperatures in paved or urban areas.  This is known as a heat island.  By using light colored pavers, more light is reflected and less and is converted into heat, reducing the urban heat island effect.
  4. Due to their design, permeable pavers can provide a safer driving surface in hazardous winter driving conditions.  Unlike conventional asphalt and concrete, which provides a foundation for sheets of ice to develop in winter weather conditions, permeable pavers allow for ice to only form in small sections, providing less continuous surface area for sheet of ice to form, and allowing sunlight to penetrate the ice and melt it quicker.
  5. Permeable pavers protect local water resources.  By reducing runoff and increasing infiltration, permeable pavers also help to reduce pollution.  When a raindrop hits a surface, that raindrop will carry with it sediment and any pollution laying on the earth’s surface, where the raindrop strikes.  By allowing the raindrop to soak into the ground, rather than running to the stream, sediment and pollutants are captured in the ground and cleaner water will slowly release to the stream or percolate into the groundwater.
  6. Permeable pavers reduce thermal pollution in streams.  Thermal pollution is pollution resulting from abnormally hot water entering a waterway.  Hot water discharges to streams can come from many sources including industry.  One of the most common sources of thermal pollution is from asphalt parking lots.  By installing permeable pavers, water that would strike a hot parking lot and runoff, is allowed to soak into the ground, percolate through the soil, and cool to an appropriate temperature before entering a waterway.  By reducing thermal pollution, the habitat of aquatic species is protected.

Benefits of Permeable Pavers to the landowner:

  1. With increased infiltration and runoff reduction, permeable pavers can help reduce costs associated with erosion.  Permeable pavers may even be effective in reducing irrigation to nearby grass or plants.
  2. Permeable pavers are easily replaced.  if one becomes chipped or broken, the individual paver can be lifted out of place and replaced with a new one, extending the overall life and function of pervious paving project for relatively little cost.
  3. Permeable pavers provide an aesthetically pleasing design to any outdoor space.  Due to the versatility in design, they can be placed in any size or shaped area and provide a more pleasing design than concrete would allow.

Thank you to our project partners

The Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.


CityofRogers logoANRC_logo



UofA logo














Why does that water look so dirty?

War Eagle

War Eagle Mill sits in the middle of War Eagle Creek in Northwest Arkansas, December, 2015. Photos: Stuart Covey. Photo obtained from Garrett Lewis on Facebook

Just a few weeks ago Northwest Arkansas became flooded after 10 inches of rain fell across the area.  People flocked up to Beaver Dam for the rare sight of water spilling through the gates while others took the opportunity to capture breathtaking photos such as the one above. One unifying theme in all of the flood waters was mud!

These water bodies, War Eagle, West Fork, the White River, and others, don’t usually appear this muddy to us.  Perhaps since this was an extremely high flood event, we don’t think about mud in water being a problem.  But the mud, or sediment, in water is a problem.  In fact, sediment is considered the number 1 water pollutant in water!

What’s the problem?  It’s just mud!

Sediment knocks two punches into lowering water quality because it is a pollutant and it is also a carrier of pollutants.  Sediment as a pollutant can cause harm to aquatic life including fish and macroinvertebrates.  It can get caught in the gills of these animals, smother their habitat and breeding areas, and reduce the availability of food.  Water bodies with high levels of sediment may have higher temperatures due to increased absorption of sunlight.  It also costs more to take sediment out of surface water that is treated for drinking water.  For example, on Monday, December 28, 2015, near the peak of the flood, the Beaver Water District extracted 136 tons of mud or sediment from the water it treated. That’s about six times more than the usual 22 tons!

As a pollutant carrier, sediment can deliver increased nutrients, bacteria, and chemicals to waterways.  Those pollutants can adsorb or attach to sediment particles.  Once those sediment particles are detached from the surface of the earth, anything attached to them goes along for the ride, often ending up in the nearest waterway.  For example nutrients found in fertilizers, wastes and manures, and some cleaners, will get into the water after being attached to a soil particle!

While natural erosion produces nearly 30 percent of the total sediment load in the United States, accelerated erosion from human use of land accounts for the remaining 70 percent of sediment that goes to our surface waters!  Sediment pollution causes up to $16 billion in environmental damage annually.

Our friends at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service provided this short video to demonstrate some ways that sediment and anything attached to sediment can get into our surface waters.




Photo Credit: University of Arizona

Turbidity is a measure of the amount of suspended sediment and visible particles in a sample of water, or essentially, turbidity measures the cloudiness of the water. So clear water has low turbidity (beaker on the left) and water with high turbidity is more opaque (beaker on the right).  We want our waters to stay clear in order to keep ourselves healthy, our aquatic life healthy, and our water healthy!


What can you do to keep our waters clear and mud free?


Build a Buffer – Avoid mowing within 10 to 25 feet from the edge of a stream or creek. This will create a safe buffer zone that will help minimize erosion and naturally filter stormwater runoff that may contain sediment.



Sweep, Don’t Spray!  Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them off. Washing these areas results in sediment and other pollutants running off into streams, rivers and lakes.

Use Best Management Practices:  The most concentrated sediment releases come from construction activities, including relatively minor home-building projects such as room additions and swimming pools.  If you are engaged in a construction project, be sure to identify and implement appropriate best management practices to reduce runoff and increase water infiltration.  The Arkansas Forestry Commission has some great recommendations for BMPs to use when doing even small construction projects on your own property at

No dirt in water or the streets!  Notify local officials when you see sediment entering streets or streams near a commercial construction site.  Sediment should never be flowing off of a construction site, nor should it be tracked into the street.

Cover up the bare spots!  Bare soil is endangered soil!  Protect your soil and property by covering up bare spots.  Use weed-free mulch when reseeding bare spots on your lawn, and use a straw erosion control blanket if restarting or tilling a lawn  In gardens, put compost or weed-free mulch on your garden to help keep soil from washing away.

Wash the car on the grass!  Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on a surface that absorbs water, such as grass or gravel.  Washing the car on a hard surface sends dirt, chemicals, and cleaners straight to the nearest waterway!



You can help keep our waters clear and healthy!


Rainwater Harvesting Demonstration Project

By: Angela Danovi

Program Director of Beaver LakeSmart

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend the EPA region 6 stormwater conference in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Over the past few years Hot Springs has become a leader in water quality and stormwater management in Arkansas. They have developed a Hot Springs stormwater inspector certification course and require stormwater inspectors to be directly involved with construction projects from planning through implementation and completion to ensure water quality protection and compliance with stormwater laws is a priority throughout the project.  Additionally, they have been implementing various stormwater demonstration projects to reduce runoff and flooding and to provide examples to residents and homeowners with ideas on how they can voluntarily protect water quality on their own property.  (Visit the Hot Springs Stormwater Management Website).

The EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference provided a great opportunity to visit Hot Springs and see some of their demonstration projects as well as discuss some of the current trends and issues in stormwater management. The first day I decided to attend an all day workshop led by Brad Lancaster of the Watershed Management Group, where we learned about some innovative approaches to capturing and harvesting stormwater.  As a resident of Arizona, Brad has had the opportunity to test various systems and approaches in one of the driest climates in the nation.  For this workshop, the attendees helped to install a rainwater harvesting garden near downtown Hot Springs.  The great thing about this project was that with some help from the city to secure and prepare the site along with a few volunteers and some relatively low-cost materials, we were able to install a rainwater harvesting garden that extended the length of a block in one afternoon!

The project involved installing a rainwater harvesting garden that was situated between a curb and a sidewalk at the bottom of a hill near downtown Hot Springs.  At the top of the site on the upslope, a curb cut was installed and a rock pool was laid out.  The plan is for water that is flowing down the street to enter into the curb cut and flow into the rock pool.  If trash, debris, or cigarette butts is being carried downhill by the water, it should drop out in the pool, limiting the post-storm cleanup and maintenance.

Photo 1: The rainwater harvesting site prepared by the city of Hot Springs looking downhill


Rainwater Harvesting site in Hot Springs inserted into a curb and prepared by the city. The site is situated near the bottom of a hill with the slope heading towards the intersection seen in the distance at the top of the photo.

As the water flows downhill in the rainwater harvesting garden, it will flow through a series of rock checks that will help to slow it down and spread it out.  The rock checks work like stair steps.

Photo 2: The rainwater harvesting site prepared by the city of Hot Springs, looking uphill


The rainwater harvesting site installed in the city of Hot Springs, looking uphill. The water will enter into the curb cut and flow downhill through the site, spreading out, and soaking in.

Photo 3: Laying out stones for the rock checks in the rainwater harvest garden


Brad Lancaster, workshop leader from the Stormwater Management Group, explains installing the rock checks for the stormwater harvesting workshop at the 2015 EPA region 6 stormwater conference

Photo 4: Measuring height from bottom of the swale to the top of the first rock check


Brad Lancaster demonstrates the use of a water level to measure the difference in height from the bottom of the swale to the top of the first rock check

Photo 5: Measuring height from bottom of the swale to the top of the first rock check


Brad Lancaster and a volunteer demonstrate the use of a water level to measure the difference in height from the bottom of the swale to the top of the first rock check

Brad used a water level, a device made with two yard sticks, tubing, and water in the tubing, to demonstrate how to measure the difference in height from the swale to the first rock check.

Photo 6: Volunteers install the rock checks throughout the project


Photo 7: Installed rock check in the water harvesting project


Photo 8: Plants for the rainwater harvesting project


Plants organized by water tolerance to be planted into the rainwater harvesting project

Several different types of plants were planted in the project.  Before planting, the plants were set throughout the site according to their drought tolerance or water needs.  The plants with the highest water needs that could tolerate longer periods of saturation were placed in the center of the site.  Plants with moderate water needs were placed about 2/3 of the way up the slope from the edge of the curb or sidewalk.  The most drought tolerant plants with the least water needs were placed closest to the curb.  Additionally sages were planted in front of and behind the rock checks to slow down water and allow it to spread out throughout the site.

 Photo 9: Volunteers lay out plants according to drought tolerance


Volunteers laying out plants and planting plants according to water tolerance in the rainwater harvesting project

Photo 10: Planting sages near the rock check


Evan Teague, Environmental Specialist of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, assists with planting plants in the rainwater harvesting project

Photo 11: Completed Rainwater Harvesting Project


Brad Lancaster checks the completed site and makes a few adjustments to the rock checks

Photo 12: completed rainwater harvesting project in Hot Springs


Completed rainwater harvesting project in Hot Springs

Installation of the rainwater harvesting project was completed in about three hours by a team of approximately 20 volunteers who were attendees to the EPA region 6 stormwater conference.  One adjustment Brad recommended upon completion of this project was in preparing future projects to not cut out dips in the site preparation because the main idea is for water to flow over rock check as it moves downhill through the site.  He expects this site to still function well, especially as the plants grow and fill in across the site.  A similar rainwater project was planned and prepared around the corner from this one.  As the city of Hot Springs continues to develop and redevelopment occurs in the older sections of the city, these projects will help to protect water quality and improve the quality of stormwater throughout Hot Springs.



Benton County Cleanup is a Success!

by: Angela Danovi, Program Director of Beaver LakeSmart

On Saturday, October 10, 2015 Beaver LakeSmart partnered with Benton County Environmental for the annual fall cleanup.  Established back in 2006, the Benton County Cleanup began as a means to accept household wastes from residents at no charge.  Over the years the Benton County Cleanup has grown to be an important event in promoting responsible disposal of waste and materials generated at individuals’ residences in Benton County.


A worker with the household hazardous waste team assists with collecting chemicals and paints for disposal and recycling

This year’s fall cleanup saw 917 loads of materials dropped off across the three cleanup sites in Bentonville, Decatur, and Garfield.

Fall 2015 Materials Collected:

  • 1294 tires
  • 752 pounds of batteries
  • 24 dumpsters of bulky waste
  • 40,000 pounds of old electronics
  • 1 semi truck load of household hazardous waste
  • 4,500 gallons of latex paint
  • 20,000 pounds of metal

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Household Hazardous Waste

Educating residents on the proper disposal of household hazardous wastes has been an important part of the Beaver LakeSmart program.  You can access our household hazardous waste information here.  As part of our participation in the annual cleanup, Angela Danovi, program director  of Beaver LakeSmart assisted with collecting over 250 gallons of used oils that will be recycled.


Angela Danovi, program director of Beaver LakeSmart, assists with collecting used oils during the fall 2015 Benton County Cleanup

Yes, we cleaned up the side of the container with special wipes to keep the oil from going on the ground!

Latex Paint Management

In addition to our participation in the cleanup, this year we had the opportunity to provide education to each of the 917 attendees on managing latex paint. Each attendee received a flyer that promoted the new convenience center program beginning in 2016 and on the back they received information about managing latex paint at their home. This was an important informational piece because paint is often improperly disposed of and can adversely affect water quality and the environment.

Download your own copy of the latex paint disposal flyer here.

Steps for Latex Paint Disposal outline

New Convenience Centers in 2016

As Benton County has continued to grow and demand for the cleanup has grown, Benton County and Benton County Environmental have been looking for ways to serve more people more often in the county.  Beginning in 2016, the Benton County Solid Waste District and the Benton County Environmental Division are joining forces to bring the citizens of Benton County a better alternative to the twice-yearly cleanup events.  A new pilot program will begin in Benton County through the convenience centers.  It is the goal of the pilot program to better serve the needs of the citizens and better utilize taxpayer funds by making recycling and proper waste disposal more accessible and in turn reduce the amount of waste dumped on county roads, dumped into waterways, or put into landfills.  Best of all, the convenience centers will be completely free for residents to use!

Convenience Center Information

The convenience centers will collect all of the same materials as the cleanup events but with 4 advantages:

  1. 5 days a week/40 hours a week availability
  2. 3 locations
  3. No long lines!
  4. Free disposal for Benton County residents

Convenience Center Locations:

Rogers Recycling Center at 2300 N. Arkansas St., Rogers, AR  72756

Siloam Springs Transfer Station at 1108 E. Ashley, Siloam Springs, AR 72761

Benton County Solid Waste District at 5702 Brookside Rd., Bentonville, AR 72712

Final details on the new convenience centers are being completed at this time.  For more information about this program call 479-271-1083.



Stormwater Runoff – What does that look like?

By: Angela Danovi, Beaver LakeSmart Coordinator

Have you ever taken the time to step outside during a rain event and see where the stormwater on your property flows?  It’s a good exercise to do because you learn about the direction water flows, where water concentrates on your property, and where your water converges with your neighbors or enters a storm drain.  This information is helpful because if you want to implement Best Management Practices to protect water quality, you need to know where the water flows that you are dealing with and where you might get the best impact and water protection.

During the recent rain event as Tropical Depression Bill came over Northwest Arkansas, I took the opportunity to follow the flow of water at my apartment complex and record what was happening.  The purpose was to see how the water was flowing and document it to share as an example for property owners.  There was nothing legally improper at my apartment complex, but there are certainly opportunities to decrease runoff, improve infiltration, and have an overall improvement on water quality.   I hope this blog will show you some things to look for when you walk around your property and evaluate it for possibilities to implement best management practices.

Photo 1: A rainwater downspout from a house

This is a typical setup of a downspout.  Water from the roof is sent on a downspout and out onto the ground.  The force of the water had pushed the black piping at the bottom off of the end of the downspout and the gravel has started washing away with the water.  The water coming off the roof here, goes into the gravel and quickly onto an impervious side walk where it quickly picks up speed and converges with other water water already flowing across the impervious walkway as it heads towards the curb and the nearest storm drain.

20150618_192647A water friendly alternative to downspouts releasing water onto gravel or impervious areas is a installing a rain barrel, installing rain gardens, or even directing the flow to a grassy area.


Photo 2: Rainwater flowing onto an impervious walkway:

Walkways are nice in our yards because they connect our driveways, parking areas, and other areas that we may readily access back to our homes.  However, impervious walkways serve as a conduit for quickly moving rainwater to the nearest creek or stream, bypassing infiltration that is critical for reducing flooding and improving water quality.

20150618_190953[1]A water friendly alternative to impervious walkways that connect to homes or driveways is to disconnect the impervious surfaces.  Can you install a stone walkway with gravel or grass in between the stones?  Can you install grass pavers?  Is there some place you might be able to disconnect your impervious walkway from the adjoining impervious surface?  There’s no right answer for everyone on this issue.  But learn about some permeable alternatives to a traditional concrete drive.  They can improve the aesthetics of the front of your home and will make you be a water smart homeowner!



Photos 3 & 4: Water flowing through backyards

This is the result of water flowing overland, concentrating, and heading to the nearest stream.  This water was flowing through backyards.  This situation occurs because water becomes concentrated and starts flowing overland quickly, rather than soaking in.  This picture is taken just before it drops underground and into a stream that was channelized and put under the parking lot.  The water collected from the parking flows into a storm drain at this location and all of the water flows underground in a channelized stream.



20150618_191429The situation occurs even in grassy areas because this water did not have an opportunity to infiltrate.  Downspouts, impervious surfaces, and poorly contoured yards concentrate water and cause it to flow off quickly.  If this water had the opportunity to infiltrate, you would not have this dramatic of a runoff situation.  If you have rills or small valleys on your property, you might choose to leave the grass higher in those areas.  That will increase infiltration and slow down runoff.


Photo 5: Water flowing into the Storm Drain

Water the flows into the storm drain comes from rain water that flowed overland and was directed to the stormdrain.  Curbs effectively channelize water, increasing its runoff.

20150618_191409A water smart alternative to curbs is to remove curbs.  Water will have a wider area to flow and will not become confined against the curb.  Also, you want to find ways to slow down and divert stormwater before it gets to the storm drain.  If you have a drain on your property, is there a place to install a raingarden before the water gets to the storm drain?


These are just a few photos to show you some of the things you are looking for when you evaluate your home for opportunities to reduce runoff and increase infiltration.  The next time you have a nice rain, go ahead and take a walk!  It’s fun and you can learn more about how water is acting and flowing on your property.  I suggest taking photos so that you can remember what you saw and you can use them when planning any best management projects.  Protecting our water resources starts with you!  Together we can make a difference at protecting our water resources now and for the future.




February BMP – Managing Household Hazardous Waste

by: Angela Danovi, Beaver LakeSmart Program Coordinator and Regional Project Manager for Ozarks Water Watch

It’s time again for our monthly Beaver LakeSmart BMP blog. BMPs are known as Best Management Practices and are recommended practices to protect water quality.  You do not have to live within eyesight of a water body to implement a BMP and have a positive impact on water quality, because regardless of how far away your nearest waterbody is located, you live within a watershed.  Everything that happens within that watershed impacts the quality of the water that falls within and flows through that watershed. When everyone implements BMPs, we can collectively have a huge impact on protecting and maintaining bodies of water with good water quality while enhancing water quality of those water bodies that need help.

HHW Shelf

Household Hazardous Waste – Photo Credit: St. Louis County, Minnesota

In January we discussed managing cleaning products and using alternative cleaning products in our homes.  In February we will be focusing on managing household hazardous waste. Understanding and properly managing household hazardous waste is important because without proper management, products that are toxic, reactive, ignitable, and corrosive can end up in the wrong hands or wind up in our soil or water.

Below is a short video produced by our partners at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service on identifying and managing your Household Hazardous Waste.  We also have some graphics below you can print, save, copy, or share to help you in managing household chemicals and household hazardous wastes in your home.


Managing Household Waste from Purchase to Disposal

When buying household productsDownload printer friendly copy of when buying household hazardous products

When using household products (2)Download a printer friendly copy of when using household hazardous products

When storing household products (2)Download printer friendly version of Storing Household Hazardous Products

When disposing household productsDownload printer friendly version of when disposing household hazardous products

There are probably many hazardous materials throughout your homeDownload a printer friendly version of the list of Household Hazardous Waste

Latex Paint Management

One product that many people use and are often unsure how to properly dispose of is latex paint.  Latex paint is a water-based paint.  It is used for many home painting projects by professionals and non-professional do-it-yourself projects.  Our number 1 recommendation when purchasing paint is to know how much you need and to buy what you need and use what you buy.  This will mean you will have less to do to dispose of excess paint.  If you find yourself with excess paint, the paint, paint cans, and brushes can be disposed of in household trash.  However, you must first dry out the paint.  For cans with just a little paint left in them, take off the lid and allow the paint to air dry.  For cans that are more than half full, you can add kitty litter or wood chips to speed up the drying process.  Once the can is completely dry, you can discard it with your household trash.

Managing Latex Paint

Northwest Arkansas Drop-off locations for Household Hazardous Waste

For most household hazardous waste, the safest method of disposal of excess product is to drop it off at one of the solid waste collection centers.  Many of the county recycling centers and solid waste districts will accept some of your household hazardous wastes.  Please directly contact the centers about disposing of your wastes.

Benton County Solid Waste DistrictAddress: 5702 Brookside Rd, Bentonville, AR 72712  Phone: (479) 795-0751

Boston Mountain Sold Waste DistrictAddress: 11398 Bond Rd., Prairie Grove, AR  Phone: 479-846-3005

Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling CenterAddress: 173 Madison 6553, Huntsville, AR 72740  Phone: (479) 738-6351


Alternatives To Household Hazardous Waste

Another way to keep from having to dispose of household hazardous waste is to purchase and use alternatives to the traditional products.  Below are links for alternatives to pesticides.

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Organic Pest Control Guide

Visit the Beaver LakeSmart Household Hazardous Waste Education Program

2015 Benton County Cleanup

Saturday, April 18 from 8:00am-12:00 noon at the County Road Departments:

1206 SW 14th St. (Hwy. 102), Bentonville;

1700 S. Wimpy Jones Rd., Garfield;

200 Spavinaw Ave., Decatur

January Best Management Practices

sodaYou may have spent a lot of time in your home cooking and entertaining guests over the last few months.  Many people find the first months of the year to be the time they clean their home after holiday cooking is over and the kids return to school.  This month we are focusing on providing you with ideas for cleaning products and techniques that will help you with cleaning while also protecting water quality by using alternatives to traditional chemicals.

While what you do inside your home might not seem like it has an impact on water quality, it very much does, because the plumbing inside your home is a direct connection back to a municipal wastewater treatment plant, a small subdivision wasterwater treatment facility, or to your septic system, depending on how your wastewater is treated at your home.  All of these waste water treatment processes have a direct impact on water quality because treated wastewater is discharged back to a waterbody or into the ground within a watershed.  Therefore, it is helpful to water quality and even to the health of you and your family to use less harmful chemicals and to always be aware of what you are putting down the sink!

One of our favorite cleaners is baking soda! Baking soda is the ideal all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen.  It is non-toxic and food-safe.  It acts a cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water for effective removal. When it is not fully dissolved, like when it is sprinkled on a damp sponge, Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and can lift dirt for easy removal as a gentle scouring powder. Since it’s gentle, Baking Soda is safe and effective as a cleaner for glass, chrome, steel, enamel and plastic.

Below, we have a few recipes from our Beaver LakeSmart Manual that you can copy, share, and try for yourself in your home!  Let us know how these work for you!   For more ideas on best management practices you can implement around your home, be sure to visit our Homeowner Education Program where you can get ideas from experts through our video series or download the Beaver LakeSmart Manual!

Also be sure to follow us on facebook where every Friday we release a new BMP!

Linoleum Floor Cleaner


Drain Cleaner for Clearing Clogs


Tub and Sink Cleaner


Oven Cleaner


Window and Mirror Cleaner


The following resources were used for this blog post:

Swain County Cooperative Extension in North Carolina – Baking Soda Magic: Part 1

Oconto County University of Wisconsin-Extension – Baking Soda — The Everyday Miracle ™ 

Article by: Angela Danovi – Program Director of Beaver LakeSmart

Welcome to Beaver LakeSmart!

LakeSmart-Logo-GIF-Small-250x243Welcome to Beaver LakeSmart.  We are so excited to launch this new website.  We want to invite you to look around our new website and learn about our program and many of the activities we’ve been doing and services we offer.  One of the biggest assets of our site is the electronically available Beaver LakeSmart self assessment guide for homeowners and residents!  You will find the entire guide at the homeowners education program.  Each chapter of the guide is listed to the left-hand side of the page of the homeowners education page.  Click on the topic you want to learn more about and you can download the specific chapter related to the topic and watch the videos on that topic that were produced by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

The website also features our StreamSmart Volunteer Monitoring Program and our Beaver Lake Volunteer Monitoring Program.  Through these programs we monitor the water quality of Beaver Lake and the watershed. We will be posting our data online, so you can keep up with how the water is doing near you! If you would like to join our volunteer water quality teams, both monitoring programs are still in need of volunteers.  So, please send us a message to get more information!

We are really excited about our blog!  We often have many things we want to share with you from big events like the Annual Secchi Day on Beaver Lake to some of the innovative water quality protection practices like the series of raingardens the city of West Fork has implemented.  This will also be the place where we will highlight big events, share fun stories from the watershed, and provide information on easily adaptable best management practices that you can do to help improve and protect the water quality of Beaver Lake.

When you’re not at our website, we invite you to follow us on our new social media apps at facebook, twitter, google+, or linkedin.  All of our blog updates will be posted to our social media.  You will want to make sure and follow us so you will never miss our latest post!

Once again welcome to Beaver LakeSmart and we hope you will let us know what you think of the site and come back to visit us soon!


Angela Danovi

Beaver Lakesmart Program Coordinator

Angela_Beaver Lake1