Fall Lake Turnover is Coming!

By: Angela Danovi

Arkansas Projects Manager, Ozarks Water Watch

During my time here in Northwest Arkansas, I have learned people are intrigued, mystified, or down right confused by the concept of lake turnover.  It seems if people experience a change in the taste or smell of the water at the tap, they say “well the lake must be turning over.”  If the fish stop biting one Saturday, they blame it on lake turnover.  Some people think the lake turns over twice a year, while others think the lake turns over four times a year.  One person even believed the lake turned over every night. Another person believed the US Army Corps of Engineers pushed a button to make the lake turn over.

One thing is clear, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about lake turnover.  Since we are approaching September, when lake turnover typically happens, I thought this would be a good time, in advance of the event, to try to clear up some misconceptions about lake turnover.

What is lake turnover?

Lake Turnover  is the mixing of lake water when air temperature and winds cool water at the surface causing it to become denser, sinking to the bottom of the lake, pushing water up from the bottom.

Think of “lake turnover” more as mixing of water, rather than flipping the lake over.

Graphic of fall lake turnover provided courtesy of Beaver Water District and adapted from Figure 44.10 in “Ecology and the Biosphere” (Candela Learning).

When does lake turnover happen?  

Lake Turnover typically happens in the fall, towards the end of September.

What causes lake turnover to happen?

Lake turnover happens around late September, as a result of changing temperatures at the surface of the lake, where the water is the warmest.  Over the summer months, as water at the surface warms, the surface water becomes less dense than water at the bottom of the lake.  The colder denser water will stay at the bottom, while the warmer and less dense water will float on top.  This division of water in the lake is referred to as thermal stratification and refers to a change in the temperature at different depths in the lake, and is associated with the change in water’s density with temperature.

Lake Stratification (11)

Thermal Stratification in a lake

Lakes are stratified into three separate sections:

Ⅰ. Epilimnion – Warm water and lower density, floats at the top during the summer

Ⅱ. Thermocline – Rapid Warm To Cold Transition with Depth

Ⅲ. Hypolimnion – Cold water and higher density, sits at the bottom during the summer

The scales are used to associate each section of the stratification to their corresponding depths and temperatures. The arrow is used to show the movement of wind over the surface of the water which initiates the turnover in the epilimnion and the hypolimnion.

Water is densest and heaviest at 4oC or approximately 39oF.

In the fall, as winds increase and temperatures cool, water will become denser sinking to the bottom of the lake and pushing up water that was sitting at the bottom.

If you still have questions about thermal stratification or don’t believe me, below is a great video from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology that demonstrates thermal stratification in the lab and proves the water density concepts I discussed above!

How often does Beaver Lake turn over?

Beaver Lake turns over once a year, around late September when the water cools and begins sinking to the bottom of the lake, pushing water up from the bottom.  During other times of the year, the lake is either mixing uniformly or is in thermal stratification.  Lakes and reservoirs that stratify and mix once a year are “Monomictic.”

 

 

Beaver Lake Reservoir Characteristics

Beaver Lake Reservoir Characteristics. Graphic provided courtesy of Beaver Water District

I hope this blog has helped answer your questions about “lake turnover” on Beaver Lake and all of our reservoirs in the Upper White River Basin.

Stream Monitoring Volunteers Needed

It’s July and that means it is time to start organizing new volunteers to join our streamsmart volunteer monitoring.

If you have previously completed StreamSmart training, are a current or former master naturalist, an outdoor enthusiast, or somebody that wants to get involved in environmental activities, then becoming a StreamSmart Volunteer is for you!  Our annual training is coming up on Saturday, July 14 and you can register to attend for free, here

However, some of you may already be ready to get out in the field and are looking for a site to help monitor.  This year we have developed an online registration process to monitor a site.  Below are the sites where we need volunteers.  Each site has a map and a photo of the site, along with a site registration form.  Take a look at these sites and when you find one where you want to work, just fill out the volunteer form and we’ll contact you about helping with upcoming monitoring.

If you have any questions or need more information about volunteering or if you need information about a specific site, please contact Angela Danovi at 479-295-7717 or email adanovi@ozarkswaterwatch.org

Sites needing volunteers – SignUp Forms:

  1. Site 200-Ward Slough
  2. Site 201-Middle Fork of the White River at Harris Bridge Road
  3. Site 210-Town Branch
  4. Site 301-War Eagle at Withrow Springs State Park
  5. Site 306-Prairie Creek
  6. Sites 307/308-Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville/Downstream of Huntsville

 

Site Descriptions

Ward Slough-Site 200: Volunteer Sign-Up

Ward Slough is located in Washington County behind Greenland City Hall off of hwy 71

Latitude/Longitude 35.997167, -94.173944

Ward Slough (Site 200)

Middle Fork of White River-Harris Bridge Road-Site 201: Volunteer Sign-up

Middle Fork of the White River is located about 8 miles southwest of Lake Sequoyah Park on hwy 51

Latitude, Longitude: 35.995833, -94.072889

Middle Fork of the White River at Harris Bridge Road (Site 201)

Town Branch-Site 210: Volunteer Sign-Up link

Town Branch is located in Fayetteville off of South Armstrong Road

Latitude/Longitude: 36.043167, -94.135861

Town Branch (Site 210)

War Eagle at Withrow Springs-Site 301: Volunteer Sign-up link

War Eagle at Withrow Springs-Site 301 is in Madison Co near Huntsville by the hwy 23 bridge at Withrow Springs State Park.  

Latitude/Longitude: 36.150000, -93.74013

War Eagle at Withrow Springs State Park (Site 301)

Prairie Creek-Site 306: Volunteer Sign-Up Link

Prairie Creek is located below Lake Atalanta Dam off Hwy 12 in Rogers.

Latitude/Longitude: 36.341222, -94.096528

Prairie Creek (site 306)

Holman Creek Upstream (Site 307) / Downstream (Site 308) of Huntsville

Holman Creek is located off of Hwy 412. The Upstream site is located on 412b about 1 mile south of 412. The downstream site is about a 5 minute drive from the upstream and is located on hwy 23 towards Withrow Springs.

Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville (site 307) lat/long: 36.104417, -93.756750

Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville (Site 307)

Holman Creek Downstream of Huntsville (site 308) lat/long: 36.124444, -93.734222

Holman Creek Downstream of Huntsville (Site 308)

StreamSmart Volunteer Training and Site SignUp

It’s July and that means it is time to start organizing new volunteers to join our streamsmart volunteer monitoring. Each July we host our annual StreamSmart training for people who are interested in learning about stream monitoring and want to join a StreamSmart volunteer monitoring team.

StreamSmart is a volunteer water quality monitoring program run by Ozarks Water Watch to assess baseline water quality of the streams and rivers that flow into Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. Through the program, local volunteers collect water samples and complete field assessments through a standardized water quality monitoring process.

StreamSmart volunteer training is a day-long program that will provide training for new and current volunteers who want to become part of the stream volunteer monitoring in the Beaver Lake Watershed of Northwest Arkansas. Training will begin at 9am and conclude at 3:30pm. The morning session will include classroom learning of the streamsmart volunteer monitoring protocol. Attendees will receive a training manual and a free lunch. In the afternoon, we will visit a nearby stream where attendees will get to practice their new skills. Attendees will leave the training as members of a new or existing StreamSmart team and will be prepared to work independently on a team to do volunteer water quality monitoring.

StreamSmart volunteers should be high school or older. Volunteers need to feel comfortable being outside in hot and cold weather, walking outdoors across uneven terrain, entering streams, walking and standing in streams teams, and following written procedures. Volunteer teams are normally comprised of 3-5 people, but some teams have as many as 10 people on the team who are trained to collect water samples and take field measurements. Teams with more members have a greater capacity to share monitoring responsibilities among team members.

Attendees will spend the morning in the classroom learning about monitoring procedures.  In the afternoon we will head out to a nearby stream to put our classroom learning into practice.  If you are interested in attending StreamSmart training, please register using the form below or visit the StreamSmart Volunteer Training Registration link here.

FREE LUNCH AND SNACKS WILL BE PROVIDED TO ALL ATTENDEES!

StreamSmart Registration Form

Please fill out the form for each individual planning to attend training

If you cannot attend training but are interested in signing up to monitor a site, please scroll to the bottom of this post to see the sites where we currently need volunteers.

 


StreamSmart Training Details:

This year, for the first time, our volunteer training will be in Washington County at the Don Tyson Center For Agricultural Sciences located at 1371 West Altheimer Drive, Fayetteville, AR!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Check-in: 8:30am

Training Begins at 9:00am

Site team meetings at 12:00 noon

Field training begins at 1:00pm

Click Here to Register to attend the 2018 StreamSmart Training

 


Sign up to monitor a StreamSmart Site

Online signup forms are now available for volunteers to sign up for a site they want to monitor.  Click on the link below associated with the site you are interested in monitoring.  Please fill out a form for each site you are interested in monitoring.  If you are interested in more than 1 site, you will need to fill out a form for each site you are interested in.  Information collected from the forms linked below will be used to develop and coordinate a monitoring team for the respective site.

Sites needing volunteers:

  1. Site 200-Ward Slough
  2. Site 201-Middle Fork of the White River at Harris Bridge Road
  3. Site 210-Town Branch
  4. Site 301-War Eagle at Withrow Springs State Park
  5. Site 306-Prairie Creek
  6. Sites 307/308-Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville/Downstream of Huntsville

 

StreamSmart Site Descriptions:

Each site needing volunteers is linked to its respective volunteer signup form, a google map of the site, and provides a photo of the site from ground level.

 

Ward Slough-Site 200: Volunteer Sign-Up

Ward Slough is located in Washington County behind Greenland City Hall off of hwy 71

Latitude/Longitude 35.997167, -94.173944

Ward Slough (Site 200)

 

Middle Fork of White River-Harris Bridge Road-Site 201: Volunteer Sign-up

Middle Fork of the White River is located about 8 miles southwest of Lake Sequoyah Park on hwy 51

Latitude, Longitude: 35.995833, -94.072889

Middle Fork of the White River at Harris Bridge Road (Site 201)

 

Town Branch-Site 210: Volunteer Sign-Up link

Town Branch is located in Fayetteville off of South Armstrong Road

Latitude/Longitude: 36.043167, -94.135861

Town Branch (Site 210)

 

War Eagle at Withrow Springs-Site 301: Volunteer Sign-up link

War Eagle at Withrow Springs-Site 301 is in Madison Co near Huntsville by the hwy 23 bridge at Withrow Springs State Park.  

Latitude/Longitude: 36.150000, -93.740139

War Eagle at Withrow Springs State Park (Site 301)

 

Prairie Creek-Site 306: Volunteer Sign-Up Link

Prairie Creek is located below Lake Atalanta Dam off Hwy 12 in Rogers.

Latitude/Longitude: 36.341222, -94.096528

Prairie Creek (site 306)

 

Holman Creek Upstream (Site 307) / Downstream (Site 308) of Huntsville

Holman Creek is located off of Hwy 412. The Upstream site is located on 412b about 1 mile south of 412. The downstream site is about a 5 minute drive from the upstream and is located on hwy 23 towards Withrow Springs.

Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville (site 307) lat/long: 36.104417, -93.756750

Holman Creek Upstream of Huntsville (Site 307)

 Holman Creek Downstream of Huntsville (site 308) lat/long: 36.124444, -93.734222

Holman Creek Downstream of Huntsville (Site 308)

 

Over 200 Middle School Students Visit Lake Atalanta

by: Angela Danovi

May 30, 2018

It was 8:30 in the morning on May 2nd when 238 7th graders descended on the lawn near Lake Atalanta for their ecology field trip day.   Elmwood Middle 7th grade science teacher, Jane Mohr, and I had been preparing for the day for over two months.  We were excited and hopeful the students would have a fun and educational experience learning lessons in water quality and ecology.  We decided several months earlier to do a day-long field trip to provide students with several different opportunities to interact with different instructors outside of the classroom.  Our idea was for students to visit six stations throughout the day,  learning about different ecology concepts and engaging in different learning activities.  We decided to have two water activities, two activities where students could explore the park, and two opportunities for students to engage in observational ecology lessons.  To lead each of the stations, we invited several partners who were well adept at leading field trip activities and lessons in ecology and water quality.  Our partners were excited and willing to help out with the huge field trip!

Elmwood Middle 7th grade science students collected macroinvertebrates during the Lake Atalanta Ecology Field Trip

Elmwood Middle 7th grade science students collected macroinvertebrates during the Lake Atalanta Ecology Field Trip

Students got to kick up and identify macroinvertebrates with Kayla Sayre from the Beaver Watershed Alliance, measure stream discharge with me, do a geography and history scavenger hunt with Trish Ouei from the University of Arkansas Cooperative extension service, complete a runoff simulation with Casey Rector of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership, tour the low impact development features of the park with Dot Neely of Beaver Water District, and complete an ecological survey with Laurie Scott of Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Elmwood middle 7th grade science students complete an ecological survey during their ecology field trip

The water activities were favorites of most students.  At the macroinvertebrate station, students entered the creek to kick up benthic sediments and collect macroinvertebrates.  They used dichotomous key to macroinvertebrate life in the river to identify the specimen they had collected.  Once they identified their macroinvertebrates, they used the StreamSmart field data sheet to determine the water quality level.  The students found the water quality of the streams flowing to Lake Atalanta to be good water quality.

Elmwood Middle 7th grade science students collected macroinvertebrates during the Lake Atalanta Ecology Field Trip

The students visited with me to learn about stream discharge.  This was the first time I attempted to teach stream discharge to students younger than high school.  I simplified the the StreamSmart discharge procedure so they could follow the process and determine a discharge that would still be fairly accurate for the stream.  The station gave the students real world experience in using math and and taking measurements to find an answer.  For many students, and even some adults, they were shocked to learn there was not a “right answer,” but instead I was looking for an answer that made sense.  This is what I ask my volunteers to do in the field and it’s often what we do when we are doing field science.  So, it was a good opportunity for them to gain a first-hand experience in field science, while having fun in the water.

Elmwood Middle 7th grade science students measure stream discharge during the ecology field trip

Overall, it was a great day and some students declared it the best field trip they had ever done.  Plans are already underway for next year and we are looking forward to making it an even better experience, while giving students a real-world scientific experience in ecology and water quality.

Elmwood Middle Science students write up their ecological survey notes during the 2018 ecology field trip to Lake Atalanta

Elmwood Middle Teachers enjoy a moment to sit down during the 2018 ecology field trip

Thank you to everyone who made this day possible and we look forward to having another great ecology field trip with Elmwood Middle again in 2019!

Field Trip Partners

  • City of Rogers Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Elmwood Middle School in Rogers, AR
  • Ozarks Water Watch
  • Beaver Water District
  • Beaver Watershed Alliance
  • Illinois River Watershed Partnership
  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Benton County
  • Northwest Arkansas Stormwater Education
  • Northwest Arkansas Community College

 

Hundreds of pounds of trash cleaned up at Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day

Earth Day weekend in Rogers had a new and exciting event this year to celebrate Lake Atalanta Park!  The inaugural Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day was held on Saturday, April 21, 2018.  Nearly 80 people from the community came together with Ozarks Water Watch, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Rogers Downtown Rotary, and the City of Rogers to clean up Lake Atalanta Park and enjoy a beautiful day outside.

Throughout the morning, volunteers hiked over 5 miles of trails, grounds, and streambanks to pick up trash and debris that had been left in the park or flowed into the park with high water.  Another group of volunteers kayaked on the lake and picked up trash around the 2 miles of shoreline around Lake Atalanta.  On Friday, April 20, a group of employees from Triad Retail Media Group volunteered for over 4 hours and helped to pick up trash and debris from below Lake Atalanta Dam.   In total, about 600 pounds of trash was picked up from the park during the two days, thanks to local volunteer effort.

Thank you to everyone who came out and helped.  We look forward to doing Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day, on April 20, 2019!

 

Join us for Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day

by: Angela Danovi

One of my favorite places to be outside in Benton County is at Lake Atalanta Park. The park re-opened about a year and a half ago with a paved walking trail around the lake, new soft trails, and a playground for kids with a tree house, in addition to a network of water features for improving water quality. I started regularly walking at Lake Atalanta Park in early 2017. There is a long boardwalk over the water, and, with the paved trail extending a little over 1.5 miles, I can get in an enjoyable walk outdoors near the water in a safe location.

Over the last year I have found many people in our community use the park and the lake for recreation. On the weekends, I often see many families out fishing together. Recently, I saw a little girl proudly sporting her brand new pink fishing pole as she was walking with her parents and older brother to find the perfect fishing spot around the lake. I also see families out using the trails, picnicking, and using the open grassy field for throwing footballs or playing soccer.

It’s wonderful that so many people are using and enjoying Lake Atalanta Park. But, to really appreciate the park, we need to clean it up and help keep it clean for the future. Often, on Sunday afternoon and Monday mornings, I will find trash along the trails, pet waste left on the walkway, trash along the edge of the lake and even a ball or two out in the lake.  It’s time to give Lake Atalanta Park some love and care.  This year, over Earth Day Weekend, we will be hosting the first Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day!  We need your help!

Lake Atalanta Appreciation Day

Saturday, April 21 from 9am-11am

Check in at Clark Pavilion

located at 500 E Walnut St, Rogers, AR 72758

There, you will receive gloves, trash bags, and trash grabbers.  You can help us clean up around the paved trail, on the soft trails, along the creek both upstream and downstream of Lake Atalanta, among other places.

Parking near Lake Atalanta will be first come, first serve on the day of the event.  So, you are encouraged to arrive early.  Also, parking will be available at “The Rail Yard,”  The Rail Yard is accessible via paved trail approximately 9/10 of a mile long connecting to Clark Pavilion.   We hope you will join us for this fun and exciting day!  You can join our facebook event to keep up with latest news on this event.

For questions or if you need more information, please contact Angela Danovi at 479-295-7717.  

 

Getting Ready for 2018 Lake Monitoring

by: Angela Danovi

Although it often seems like we are still in the middle of winter, our 2018 lake monitoring season is just around the corner.  This year, lake monitoring will kick off on Sunday, April 22 and the season will go into September.  For lake volunteers, this monitoring program gives them an opportunity to combine their love of the lake with their interest in observing seasonal changes on the lake and protecting water quality.  For those who take a professional interest in the long-term water quality trends in the lake, the data from this volunteer program is critical to learning how the water at a given site on the lake changes over a season and the data will help to establish some long-term trends on water quality at each site and across the lake.

This year we will be monitoring at seven sites on Beaver Lake:

  1. Upstream of the Intake
  2. Nursery Pond
  3. Prairie Creek
  4. Ventris
  5. Rocky Branch Marina
  6. Middle of the lake between markers 6 & 5
  7. Beaver Dam

In addition, we will be monitoring three smaller lakes in Beaver Lake Watershed which have water that flows to Beaver Lake.  Those are Lake Atalanta near downtown Rogers, Lake Seqoyah near Elkins, and Lake Wilson in Fayetteville.  This will be the first year we will be monitoring all three smaller lakes.

Later this month, we will be releasing the annual report detailing last year’s monitoring data.

The lake monitoring program is always in need of interested volunteers to help fill sites when previous volunteers retire. To volunteer you will need a boat to access Beaver Lake or one of the smaller lakes.  Training and equipment is provided to volunteers. If you are interested in lake monitoring, please contact Angela Danovi at 479-295-7717 or by email at adanovi@ozarkswaterwatch.org

ANRC to speak at Multi-Basin in Rogers on DRAFT Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan

Buffalo River. Photo Credit: Arkansas Water Currents

By: Angela Danovi

In December, 2017, ANRC announced the release of the completed draft of the new Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan. The plan was open for public comment through January 15, 2018 and after concluding the public comment period, the plan was submitted to EPA for acceptance.  On Friday, February 9, 2018, at 10:00am at the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers, Allen Brown from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, will give a presentation to the Multi-Basin Regional Watershed Council on the newly developed Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan.  Allen was the ANRC representative involved in the plan development. He will talk about the process for the development of the plan and some of the details and recommendations found within the plan. A copy of the draft plan is available here.. Those who are interested in attending the talk must RSVP their attendance to Angela Danovi at adanovi@ozarkswaterwatch.org or by calling 479-295-7717 by Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  Seating is limited and space is available on a first come first serve basis by RSVP only.

Click to access the draft plan

The Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan is the result of work completed by the Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee (BBRAC).  The BBRAC was organized in August 2016 at the direction of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to establish a locally-based approach to identify and address potential issues of concern in the Buffalo River Watershed.  Upon its formation, one of the stated outcomes of the BBRAC was the development of a non-regulatory (voluntary) watershed management plan for the Buffalo River Watershed. Specifically, the goals of the watershed management plan are:

  1. To provide a framework for landowners, communities, and organizations to voluntarily undertake water quality projects in the watershed and improve the ability to solicit and secure funding and assistance for these projects from various government and private sources.
  2. To NOT recommend or directly lead to additional regulations in the watershed.
  3. To NOT result in recommendations regarding land ownership rights.
  4. To NOT not address facilities that were or are already permitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality because those entities are required to meet certain regulations. The watershed plan is explicitly non-regulatory.

Beginning in December 2016 through October 2017, local stakeholders representing agriculture, local watershed groups, recreation, landowners, residents, local government, state and federal agencies, and the local chamber of commerce met to review data and to propose voluntary strategies to manage and reduce non-point source pollution in the watershed. Land use, water quality, and geological information was compiled and analyzed to identify tributary subwatersheds to focus initial management practices and activities.  The stakeholders identified six subwatersheds:

  • Mill Creek (upper),
  • Calf Creek,
  • Bear Creek,
  • Brush Creek,
  • Tomahawk Creek, and
  • Big Creek (lower)

 

Recommendations were made in five categories for the subwatersheds and include management practices such as the implementation of nutrient management plans, controlling stream access for livestock, repairing or replacing on-site wastewater systems, and restoring streambanks.  The plan also recommends completing studies on each of the six watersheds including source tracking for e-coli, supporting existing continuous monitoring of dissolved oxygen and evaluating relationships with nutrient loading in the Buffalo River, and using satellite data to identify potential sites for streambank restoration.    Additionally the plan recommended supporting existing awareness, outreach, and education programs among partners while initiating some new programs focused on onsite wastewaster maintenance and maintaining trash logs to report and index trash found on the river.

Over the past five years many people have expressed increasing concern over environmental protections and water quality of the Buffalo River. The main channel of the Buffalo along with its tributary, Richland Creek, are designated as Extraordinary Resource Waters and Natural and Scenic Waterways.  In the late 1960s, the Ozark Society was formed to prevent the damming of the Buffalo River.  By 1972, federal legislation was passed designating the Buffalo River as the first National River in the US, and a National Park was established along the river corridor. For over 40 years, the designations of the Buffalo have raised awareness of environmental sensitivities of the river and its watershed, while also driving increasing usage of the river particularly among recreational boaters.  The establishment of a watershed management plan is the next step towards everyone taking a role in protecting the watershed.

 

Thank you for your support in 2017

 

We had a busy and productive year with Ozarks Water Watch at Beaver Lake in 2017.  From educating children and adults about watersheds and water quality to supporting cleanups and leading water quality volunteer monitoring, we made meaningful impacts in Northwest Arkansas and the Beaver Lake Watershed in 2017 and we couldn’t have done it without you.


2017 Accomplishments:

Educated 670 students and adults about watershed geography, aquatic life, water quality, and protecting our drinking water

Led or supported 13 public events across Beaver Lake Watershed

Talked with 26 different groups of students and adults about protecting our water quality

Collected 64 stream samples and produced 448 new data points on water quality of streams in the Beaver Lake Watershed

Collected 35 lake samples from Beaver Lake and smaller lakes in the Beaver Lake Watershed and produced 140 new data points on water quality of Beaver Lake and the smaller lakes in the Beaver Lake Watershed

Trained 30 new people in stream monitoring

Trained 65 new master naturalists in watershed geography, water quality protection, and aquatic life surveys

Launched Ozarks Water Watch at Beaver Lake – Our new website and branding for our work in the Beaver Lake Watershed and Northwest Arkansas

Provided 1148 residents on septic systems in Benton and Washington Counties with educational information about protecting the health of their family and the environment by completing maintenance on their septic systems.

Over 250 people completed our watershed warrior quiz

 


Blogs and Stories We Covered in 2017

Arkansas Water Resources Center plays important role protecting water quality – Described our on-going partnership with Arkansas Water Resources Center and the role they play in providing high quality and reliable water quality data for Arkansas.

Ozarks Water Watch at Beaver Lake! – We relaunched our website in October with a new name change and new sections on volunteer monitoring.

Featured BMPs at ArTex Ranch in Washington County – Our partners with Beaver Watershed Alliance sponsored a field day at ArTex Ranch where we learned about best management practices some of our best landowners in the watershed are doing to grow trees for harvest, cultivate wildlife, and protect water quality.

Managing landscapes with prescribed fire – Provided information and education about the importance of prescribed burning and provided resources for landowners who are interested in learning more about implementing prescribed burns on their property.

Low rainfall and drought conditions across Northwest Arkansas – Looked at rainfall data, lake levels, and drought in Arkansas to answer questions about the interaction between precipitation, lake levels, and drought that was being seen in Northwest Arkansas in February 2017.

Septic Smart Week 2017:

Septic Smart Week was held the 3rd week of October.  During Septic Smart Week, we provided educational blogs and social media posts to inform individuals about how and why to manage their septic system.  Our 2017 Septic Smart Week Series is below.

  1. Homebuyer’s Guide to Septic Systems Part 1 – SepticSmart Week 2017
  2. Homebuyer’s Guide to Septic Systems Part 2 – SepticSmart Week 2017
  3. Homebuyer’s Guide to Septic Systems Part 3 – SepticSmart Week 2017
  4. Ten Ways to be a Good Septic Owner

Secchi Day on Beaver Lake 2017:

Secchi Day on Beaver Lake was held on August 17, 2017.  We wrote two blogs about Secchi Day.  The first described our role in serving for the first time as a site launch manager and the role of volunteers who collect samples on Secchi Day.  The second described the results found from the 12th annual Secchi Day on Beaver Lake.

  1. Secchi Day on Beaver Lake 2017
  2. Secchi Day 2017 Results

Thank you for all you did to help us in 2017 and we are looking forward to even more in 2018!

 

Arkansas Water Resources Center plays important role protecting water quality

By: Erin Scott, program manager of the Arkansas Water Resources Center & Angela Danovi, Ozarks Water Watch Arkansas Projects Manager.

The Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Science

The new state of the art  Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences opened at The University of Arkansas on November 16, 2017 to much fanfare and excitement.  Ozarks Water Watch staff attended the grand opening to represent their partnership with Arkansas Water Resources Center Water Quality Lab through the StreamSmart volunteer monitoring program.

For more than five years, Arkansas Water Resources Center Water Quality Lab has served as a critical partner with Ozarks Water Watch in the StreamSmart volunteer monitoring program.  Each quarter, AWRC accepts over 20 samples into their lab and analyzes those samples for nutrients, suspended solids, dissolved solids, pH, alkalinity and conductivity.  Their analyses increases the quality and reliability of data from the StreamSmart volunteer monitoring program and provides thousands of dollars of in-kind analytical services each year towards volunteer water quality monitoring in the Beaver Lake Watershed.  The AWRC budgets its own funds to cover the costs of sample analyses so the limited StreamSmart resources can be directed towards equipment purchases, volunteer recruitment and training, and publication of data and information associated with the program. Additionally, AWRC personnel serve on the advisory board to provide technical support and input for the volunteer monitoring program as well as to provide education and training each year for new volunteers.  The partnership between Ozarks Water Watch and AWRC also gives the public more awareness of the water center and how the AWRC positively impacts the community.

Erin Scott, AWRC program manager, conducts a training for new StreamSmart volunteers

For the last several years, the AWRC lab has been housed in the smaller and older biomass building, located behind the new building. With the opening of the new building, the water quality lab relocated into a new state of the art wing of the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences. The new building covers 54,000 square feet, with the majority of it as lab space. It’s also a certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver building, meaning that it’s designed to be sustainable, highly efficient, and provide cost-savings benefits.

The AWRC staff and lab technicians are thrilled with the new space, “we get a lot of natural light and it just feels better in here than in the old space we were in before,” said Keith Trost, analytical technician who works daily at the lab. The new lab also is great for public perception. People love to see fancy new state-of-the-art facilities. “We give a lot of lab tours to water stakeholders and students,” says Brina Smith, analytical technician with the lab. “I think the beautiful new lab will really stick in their minds in a very positive way.”  The new AWRC lab is definitely an upgrade from the old facility. For example, new or better safety features are in place, such as fume hoods, lighting, and a negative pressure system for air quality. Also, there’s simply more space; now the lab can accommodate more staff and students working alongside each other without bumping elbows. The extra space also allows room to grow!

Brina Smith in the new AWRC lab

Jennifer Purtle, AWRC technician, prepares for water water quality analysis in the new AWRC lab

In addition to supporting StreamSmart, AWRC conducts their own water quality monitoring, which is primarily funded by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the Poteau Valley Improvement Authority. These monitoring projects support a number of people including post-doctoral and student positions. They collect water samples from 15 sites in northwest Arkansas in the Upper White and Upper Illinois River watersheds, and about 35 sites in the Poteau River watershed in Oklahoma and in Arkansas. The goal of these projects is to understand how water quality is changing over time and to help identify areas in the watershed where resources should be targeted to improve water quality.

The AWRC also focuses on training students through various programs. For example, undergraduate and graduate students work with the Center director, Brian Haggard, on research projects through the Research Experience for Undergraduates and the Freshman Engineering programs at the University of Arkansas. The AWRC also funds research by other faculty and students throughout the State through the US Geological Survey 104B program. Summer interns and hourly personnel are also supported by the water center.

Dr. Brad Austin, AWRC researcher and StreamSmart volunteer, conducts research on phosphorus availability of soils

The Arkansas Water Resources Center (AWRC) is part of a network of 54 water institutes established by the Water Resources Research Act of 1964 and is located at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  AWRC operates the water quality lab in service to researchers, landowners, and others across Arkansas. The Lab is certified by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for the analysis of a variety of constituents in water samples, such as nutrients, sediments, metals, bacteria, and more.

Anyone can submit a water sample for the analysis of any of the available parameters they choose. The lab also offers analytical “packages” to target the needs of producers for livestock, crops, and fish. To learn more about AWRC, please visit their website at https://arkansas-water-center.uark.edu/water-quality-lab.php

You can also follow them on facebook and twitter to keep up with their research and activities.