As population in Northwest Arkansas continues to grow, protecting our drinking water supply is increasingly important. The greatest risk to clean water is sediment (small particles of rock and soil) that comes from eroding streambanks, construction sites and unpaved roads. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sediment pollution causes $16 billion in environmental damage annually. Nutrient pollution from agriculture and urban surfaces is also a major threat. We are already seeing impacts in Northwest Arkansas. The West Fork of the White River, a tributary of Beaver Lake, is classified as impaired by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality because of the excessive sediment in the river. Landowners understand this problem better than anyone. For years they have watched their property wash downstream every time it rains.
Saving land around streams and rivers keeps our drinking water clean.
Protecting natural lands along our streams prevents pollution from entering the water. Plants absorb runoff, stop erosion and filter pollution. When we conserve these landscapes, everyone wins. Landowners are able to keep their land from washing away. Fish and other animals have clean water. People can safely enjoy paddling, swimming and fishing. And it costs less to remove the pollution from our drinking water, which saves everyone money. At the same time, we preserve our scenic views and the rural character of our communities.
Our goal is to increase land protection in high priority areas to safeguard clean drinking water for our region.
Through collaboration with community partners, we have identified regional landscapes with the greatest impact for protecting clean drinking water. We are working with landowners who are interested in implementing voluntary conservation agreements. Explore our project areas below to learn more.