Extension hosting local forums to help communities identify watershed priorities

Discussion opportunity for local water quality concerns, priorities

Protecting the water quality of local creeks and rivers isn’t a task completed overnight and then done with forever. It requires continued participation and oversight from the people living, working, recreating or owning property in a community. These people can get engaged by participating in an Aug. 3 water quality forum hosted by the Cooperative Extension Service in the Lake Conway — Point Remove Watershed, which includes communities in Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Van Buren, and Yell counties.

 

The forum is an opportunity for the public to identify water quality issues or concerns, and their community’s priorities for addressing water pollution.

“It’s important for people who live or work in the Lake Conway — Point Remove Watershed to get engaged and participate in conversations about local water quality priorities,” said Kristin Higgins, a program associate with the Public Policy Center at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. “Improving and maintaining water quality requires the commitment of people from different perspectives and organizations working together.”

The forum, which starts at 5 p.m. and is expected to end at 8 p.m., will be at University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton cafeteria at 1537 University Blvd. in Morrilton. It is an extension of an annual stakeholder meeting that the Public Policy Center holds each year in Little Rock in partnership with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the state agency responsible for developing and implementing programs to address nonpoint source water pollution. Extension is hosting forums across the state as an additional opportunity for people to get involved in local water issues.

This watershed has been impacted by the effects of urban development and agriculture, as well as by municipal wastewater discharge.  A section of White Oak Creek hasn’t been able to support fish life because of excessive sediment and turbidity.

The long-term goal of ANRC’s priority watershed program is to reduce pollutants to levels that will restore all of a waterway’s designated uses. Comments or strategies identified during the four-hour forum could help communities begin to address local water quality issues. The forum is open to the public. RSVP by e-mail to publicpolicycenter@uaex.edu or call 501-671-2228.

 

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