The public is invited to the Lake Conway Watershed Stakeholder Meeting tonight to help create a plan that could help bring funding to ensure the quality of Lake Conway and its surrounding watershed.
The University of Arkansas, Metroplan and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality are hosting the Lake Conway Watershed Stakeholder Meeting tonight at the Faulkner County Natural Resource Center at 110 S. Amity Rd. from 6-8 p.m.
The overall goal is to form an advocacy group out of stakeholders who attend, said Judy Watts, public outreach coordinator for Metroplan. After an advocacy group is formed, Watts said, they will work to create a 9-element plan for Lake Conway and the surrounding watershed area.
A 9-element plan is a system created by the Environmental Protection Agency as a way to protect watersheds. The group will also develop scenarios to test best management practices and construct three demonstrations to show the benefits of Low Impact Development.
“Many people have been working on the watershed for many years,” Watts said. “People enjoy living near it, fishing and recreation on the Lake Conway area. It is a valuable resource for residents of Lake Conway.”
The first meeting was held in September, after the Lake Conway Citizens Advisory Committee was awarded a grant to conduct a study on the Lake Conway Watershed.
Dr. Marty Matlock, University of Arkansas professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering, said land-use is one of the major factors that affect runoff into Lake Conway.
“Rapid growth of the city corresponds to increased impervious area which leads to higher peak storm water run-off,” Matlock said. “The predominance of agriculture in the watershed has also contributed to increased sediment loading to the lake.”
A consultant group from the University of Arkansas will be submitting the completed plan to the ADEQ to apply for funding resources.
Watts said upward of 20 stakeholders attended the first few meetings at the end of 2013. The advocacy group will continue to meet monthly through 2014. The 9-element plan will be completed by July 2015.
“In the years after [July 2015] they will seek funding, and be able to carry out what they pursue with the 9-element plan,” Watts said.
The meetings are open to the public and all individuals interested in the future of the Lake Conway Watershed are encouraged to attend.