Natural Resources

Efficiently and responsibly managing and protecting our water and land resources for the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas

Nonpoint Source Management

The ANRC 2018-2023 Nonpoint Pollution Management Plan is available here.  

Click here to view Part 1 of the Plan.   Click here to view Part 2 of the Plan.

Click here to view The Arkansas Annual Reports

Nonpoint Source Pollution is defined as rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and even our underground sources of drinking water.

Potential sources of NPS Pollution include:

  • Excess fertilizers and chemicals from agricultural lands, residential, and urban areas
  • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock and animal wastes
  • hydro-modification

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission is responsible for developing and implementing the State's Non-point Source (NPS) Pollution Management Program. This program is a cooperative effort of many local, state and federal agencies.

Each year the NPS Management Section receives Federal monies from EPA to fund projects associated with the abatement / reduction or control of NPS pollutants. Projects may include implementation of BMPs, demonstrations of effective techniques, technical assistance, education and monitoring. The NPS program uses the Federal 319 Guidance and their NPS Program Management Plan as part of the criteria for selecting grant recipients. Recipients must provide a minimum of 40% non-federal match (in-kind or cash). Recipients eligible for funding must be non-profit (documented and recognized), State/local government agencies or academic institutions. Federal agencies are ineligible for NPS grant awards.

Click here to view the NPS Priority Watersheds 2018 - 2023

Funds are targeted to priority watersheds. The priority watersheds were designated by the use of a risk assessment matrix process and the Nonpoint Task Force . The current priority watersheds for 2018-2023 are as follows:

  1. Illinois River
  2. Upper White River
  3. Lake Conway - Point Remove
  4. Bayou Bartholomew - Click here to view 9 Element Plan and here to view 2009 Update.
  5. L'Anguille River
  6. Upper Saline
  7. Poteau River
  8. Lower Ouachita - Smackover
  9. Strawberry River
  10. Cache River
  11. Little River

Additionally, NPS funds may be spent in watersheds with US EPA accepted nine element watershed management plans (WMPs ). A WMP is a strategy for improving water quality for a geographic area, specifically a HUC-8 watershed, through identification and inclusion of data analyses, stakeholders, specific actions, and funding resources to achieve the goals.

To date, EPA has accepted 11 WMPs and those are:

  1. Illinois River
  2. Upper White River
  3. Beaver Lake
  4. Lee Creek
  5. Buffalo River
  6. Frog Bayou
  7. Bayou Bartholomew
  8. L'Anguille River
  9. Upper Saline River
  10. Middle White River
  11. Lower Little River
  12. Strawberry River
  13. Cache River

There are many NPS issues within the State at this time.  Each section of the State has different concerns. The primary concerns by region of the State at this time are as follows:

  • Northwest and West Arkansas - excess nutrients (phosphorous) primarily from animal agriculture. Sediment is also an issue in NW Arkansas due to the accelerated urbanization and construction (residential, commercial, and industrial).
  • East and Southeast Arkansas - sediment from row crop agriculture, thus a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Bayou Bartholomew and L'Anguille River watersheds.
  • North Central and Northeast Arkansas - sediment from poor pastures and nutrients from animal agriculture (cattle).
  • South and Southwest Arkansas - excess nutrients from animal agriculture (poultry and cattle).
  • Statewide -lack of riparian buffers / vegetation, sediment and nutrients in runoff which is not filtered naturally and eroding streambanks deliver excess sediment into streams. Urbanization and increased impervious surfaces which increase velocity and volume of runoff resulting in (hydromodification):
    • unstable streambanks and steambank failure,
    • increased in-stream channel erosion

 To learn more about watersheds, water quality, and resources available to you, please visit the Arkansas Watershed Stewardship Handbook.

Need more information?

Tate Wentz, Water Quality Section Manager
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Division
10421 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
Phone: (501) 682-3914 Fax: (501) 682-3991

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