Water quality, pollution, biodegradable hydroponics, wastewater, degradation
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Division (ANRD) has identified the Upper Illinois River Watershed (UIRW; 11110103), a hydrologic unit code (HUC) 8 watershed, located in Northwest Arkansas for prioritization by the Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Program. URIW encompasses the Illinois River from its headwaters to the state line with Oklahoma and has been the subject of interstate disputes over water quality for decades. Nonpoint source pollution concerns in UIRW are excess nutrients from agriculture and sediment from changes in land use/land cover (LULC).
Local, state, and national groups, including the NPS Source Management Program, have invested in education, best management practices, and streambank restoration in the UIRW. This watershed is also subject to regulation on the application of poultry litter as fertilizer and permitted limits on phosphorus discharge from point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Longterm water-quality monitoring data are necessary to identify whether these interventions are influencing water quality. The lag time before water-quality response can be considerable. Robust data are also needed to guide where additional resources should be targeted, or to identify potential emerging water quality concerns.
Grantz, Erin M. and Haggard, Brian E.. 2023. Constituent Loads and Trends in the Upper Illinois River Watershed: A Nonpoint Source Management Program Priority Watershed. Arkansas Water Resource Center, Fayetteville, AR. MSC394.