The Upper White River Watershed (UWRW) plan will come in two phases – first the SWAT model, then the watershed management plan (WMP), as two separate projects funded by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Division, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program.

The development of the WMP involves engagement with stakeholders – any individuals or organizations – who contribute to creating a comprehensive, voluntary-based plan to improve water quality. For more information about these public meetings, go to the WMP Resources section below.

Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Model for the Upper White RiverWatershed, AR

The objective of this project is to apply the SWAT model for the Arkansas portion of the Upper White River watershed so that sub-watersheds that are partially or completely within Arkansas can be ranked based on sediment and nutrient loads, which helps prioritize the sub-watersheds to assist in developing nonpoint source (NPS) investment strategies that will have the greatest impact on water quality objectives. This project is intended to be followed by a project to develop an EPA-accepted nine element watershed plan. These objectives are planned steps toward the goals of prioritizing potential projects and reducing pollutants to levels that will maintain the designated uses of the waterbodies within the Upper White River watershed.

The six tasks of this project outline the application of a SWAT model in the Upper White River watershed:

Task 1 Data acquisition and review: Gather, review, and process publicly available data to provide input data for the SWAT model.

Task 2 SWAT model configuration: The SWAT model will be configured to simulate sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus transport in the Upper White River watershed using information gathered in Task 1. Sub-basins will be delineated so that output from the model can be used to assess each HUC12.

The sub-watersheds will be further divided at monitoring station locations, in order to calibrate the model using available water quality and streamflow measurements. The model configuration will incorporate water management features (i.e., reservoirs, ponds) based on available data and information from Task 1.

Task 3 SWAT model calibration: The SWAT model created in Task 2 will be calibrated using water quality and streamflow measurement data compiled in Task 1. Plots and statistics that compare the measured data and model output will be developed in order to assess the model’s ability to accurately simulate hydrologic and pollutant transport processes.

Task 4 SWAT model quality assurance check: SWAT model files will be checked for quality assurance by a qualified employee(s) that is(are) not directly involved in model creation or calibration.

Task 5 SWAT Model documentation and ranking of sub-watersheds: Upon completion of the SWAT model, a draft report will be developed to summarize the methodology used for model creation and calibration and provide maps/figures and tables showing the rankings based on sediment, phosphorus, and nitrogen loading.

Task 6 Reporting: The following reports will be prepared and submitted to H 2Ozarks:

1. Quarterly progress reports that briefly state accomplishments for each task.

2. The final report for the SWAT modeling will address comments from H 2Ozarks, ADANRD, and EPA.

Watershed Management Plan Development

Watershed-based management planning typically occurs through these six steps:

a. Building partnerships,

b. Characterizing the watershed,

c. Finalizing management goals and identifying solutions,

d. Designing an implementation program,

e. Implementing the watershed-based management plan, and

f. Measuring progress and making adjustments through adaptive management.

This project will proceed through the first four steps – building partnerships; characterizing the watershed; finalizing the vision, mission, goals, objectives, and management practices (i.e., solutions); and designing the implementation program. The results of these four steps will be documented in the nine-element watershed-based management plan. The tasks for this project are described below.

Task 1 Build partnerships: H 2Ozarks will identify stakeholders and communicate with them throughout this project. H 2Ozarks will also set up and facilitate four stakeholder meetings in the watershed. At each meeting, the H 2Ozarks contractor will present information on the watershed planning process and status of the Upper White River watershed-based management plan. Through these meetings, stakeholders will contribute to the development of the watershed-based management plan, and forge new connections.

At these meetings, emphasis will be placed on the need for cooperative implementation of beneficial practices, and the socioeconomic benefits that can accrue to all stakeholders from protecting and restoring waterbodies in the watershed.

Task 2 Characterize the watershed: The H 2Ozarks contractor will review existing studies of and plans for the Upper White River watershed, and, if needed, further identify sources and causes of pollution.

Task 3 Finalize management goals and identify solutions: H 2Ozarks and its contractor will work together to create a vision, mission, and management goals for the Upper White River watershed, based on information provided by stakeholders. They will work with stakeholders to determine load reductions needed (Element 2), critical areas for management, and management actions/practices to achieve the management goals (Element 3) for the watershed.

Task 4 Design implementation program: In conjunction with stakeholders and with guidance from H 2Ozarks, the contractor will design a program for implementing the goals and solutions, emphasizing the socioeconomic benefits that will accrue to the stakeholders when the plans are implemented. This will involve estimating funding needs, identifying funding sources (Element 4), developing information and education activities (Element 5), developing an implementation schedule and milestones (Elements 6 and 7), and identifying indicators and a program for monitoring and tracking progress (Elements 8 and 9).

Task 5 Prepare nine element watershed-based plan: Utilizing the information gathered during Tasks 1 through 4, a draft nine-element watershed-based plan will be prepared for the Upper White River watershed. The draft plan will be reviewed by H 2Ozarks, ADANRD, and EPA, and the H 2Ozarks contractor will revise the plan as necessary to address comments from each review.

Task 6 Reporting: The following reports will be prepared and submitted to H 2Ozarks:

1. Quarterly progress reports that briefly state accomplishments for each task.

2. The final report (i.e., the final version of the watershed-based management plan) will address comments from H 2Ozarks, ADANRD, and EPA.