Buffalo River Watershed

J. Froelich / KUAF

In the first months of his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order rescinding the “Waters of the United States” rule, promulagated by President Barak Obama in 2015 to protect certain streams, wetlands, and groundwater under the Clean Water Act. Now, President Joe Biden has ordered the rule to be reinstated. U.S.

J. FROELICH / KUAF

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced June 13 that an agreement had been reached between the state and operators of C&H Hog Farms to permanently close the industrial swine-breeding facility located on the Buffalo National River watershed in Newton County. The farmers will be paid $6.2 million dollars in compensation and a perpetual conservation easement will be placed on the farm site.

J. Froelich / KUAF

In mid November, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ordered C&H Hog Farms to cease operations, citing potential pollution of the Buffalo River watershed. The farm has been opposed by the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance since it opened six miles upstream of the Buffalo River along Big Creek. Despite the order by ADEQ, the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation is supporting the farm's operators in their legal push to exert their "rights to farm."

courtesy: Buffalo River Watershed Alliance

A biannual review categorizes more than a thousand Arkansas waterways according to levels of impairment, with the worst cases requiring federal and state intervention. This year, several sections of the Buffalo River Watershed were included on the list for the first time, categorized as lower priority, but the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance says the watershed requires high priority federal attention.

Courtesy: Carol Bitting, Ozark River Stewards

Public complaints about a growing number of algal blooms on the Buffalo National River have spurred the National Park Service to investigate. Park Service spokesperson Caven Clark says visitors are welcome to safely float and swim in the river, but visitors should avoid primary contact with affected stream sections.

Photo courtesy Teresa Turk

The national conservation group, American Rivers based in Washington D.C., has listed the Buffalo National River among the top ten endangered rivers in the United States. We query Arkansas Parks and Tourism about how this status might impair the states' tourism economy. We also talk with Teresa Turk, an independent scientist who has been monitoring water quality in the watershed. Teresa Turk will present new results from her Buffalo River water quality research April 25th, at the Boone County Public Library at 5:30pm.

J. Froelich / KUAF

The "Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee" is a new regional watershed group comprised of governor-appointed state agencies working with stakeholders to preserve and protect the Buffalo National River Watershed. We talk with the director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, query the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, and hear from the Superintendent of the Buffalo National River about best practices.  

J. Froelich / KUAF

Three grandmothers are appealing a new wastewater permit issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for a controversial industrial swine breeding facility on the Buffalo National River Watershed.

J. Froelich / KUAF

The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance has asked the Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission to shutter a Cargill-integrated swine breeding CAFO on the Buffalo River Watershed, citing possible evidence of pollution stemming from new subsurface data generated by a state-funded Big Creek Research and Extension Team investigator.

courtesy photo / Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Scientists studying the environment around a new controversial swine breeding industrial farm on the Buffalo National River Watershed presented their latest findings to the Arkansas Academy of Science April 2nd. 

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