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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0904,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.17387)
Authors:   S.J. Formica, M.A. Van Eps, M.A. Nelson, A.S. Cotter, T.L. Morris, J.M. Beck
Keywords:   Sediment, watershed assessment, sediment sources, erosion, sediment loads, land use

Understanding the causes and sources of water quality problems is critical to developing practical solutions and long-term strategies that can result in watershed restoration. The West Fork of the White River (WFWR) located in Northwest Arkansas has been identified by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) as an impaired stream and has been placed on the Arkansas 303(d) list, because its aquatic life use designation was not being supported due to high turbidity levels and excessive silt loads. Through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 319 grant program, administered by the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, a comprehensive watershed assessment was performed to identify probable sources of contamination and to estimate pollution potential of identified sources. Field and GIS data along with modeling methods were used to estimate sediment source loads from stream bank erosion, roads, pastures, and other land uses in the watershed. Also, a long-term, strategic water quality monitoring program was initiated that included the installation of a continuous water quality monitoring station and the collection of baseline data near the mouth of the river. Data collected at the monitoring station included flow; turbidity; and total suspended solids. Management practices that will effectively control sediment loading to the WFWR were identified. The results of this study are being used by a local stakeholder group to prioritize source reduction efforts and to develop restoration strategies as part of a WFWR watershed management plan.

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