Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020AR106B

Nonpoint Source Pollution and Water Quality under Increasing Pressure from Poultry Agriculture in the Eleven Point and Lower Black River Watersheds

Institute: Arkansas
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $12,812 Total Non-Federal Funds: $51,255

Principal Investigators: Allyn Dodd

Abstract: Recently, poultry agriculture has rapidly expanded in Northeast Arkansas, potentiallycompromising water quality and ecological integrity in an area already impacted by pastoral and row cropagriculture. The Eleven Point River and Lower Black River watersheds drain from the Ozark Plateau to theMississippi Alluvial Plain and serve as critical habitat for a number of endangered and vulnerableorganisms. The main stem of each river provides important commercial and recreational services to localresidents and tourists from surrounding states. Previous work by the PIs has revealed that greater poultryhouse density increases phosphorus concentrations in tributaries of these Ecologically SensitiveWaterbodies. The close proximity of sampling sites to poultry operations yielded high nutrientconcentrations (up to 187 ï­g/L phosphate, and up to 1.6 mg/L nitrate). Preliminary macroinvertebratedata from one a single date suggest intolerant taxa are being negatively affected by greater poultry housedensity within a subcatchment, demonstrating the need for focused attention on new poultry operations.This project will continue the evaluation of water quality, harmful algal blooms, invertebrate physiologyand community structure in the Eleven Point River and Lower Black River watersheds in Randolph, Sharp,Lawrence, and Independence counties in Northeast Arkansas. The project will continue monthly baseflow sampling of 12 tributaries and main stem points. Additionally, we aim to collect data from stormevents and winter macroinvertebrate sampling, new to this proposal. The data is critical for properbaseline establishment and required for creating nutrient budgets and future water quality models. Weanticipate the data collected under this proposal to be a benchmark for the watersheds and key aspect offuture work.