KRWP Mid-year Public Meeting:
Onsite Waste Treatment Systems

This photo, courtesy of Walter Karnes, was taken around 1916 at the Moreland swimming hole near Grandview.  Although laughter and fun continue on our river, the river has changed and this spot is now only about two feet deep.

This year’s annual meeting of the Kings River Watershed Partnership featured a review of the organization’s accomplishments for 2007.

A crowd of forty braved the bitter cold to hear about a busy year of watershed activities that included:

Public outreach meetings, information booths at both the Madison and Carroll County Fairs, an educational program for local public school students and teachers, three river clean-ups that covered a 40-mile plus stretch of the Kings River, a report on continued chemical water quality testing, a survey of the entire 85-mile length of the Kings River’s stream banks, and a biological sampling of macroinvertebrate populations in the river and major tributaries.

Board members Glen Crenshaw, James Sanders, and Ray Warren were all reelected for one final term of three years on the board of directors. No other nominations for the positions were received and the vote was unanimous.

Mike Ellis, reporting for Carroll County News, quoted KRWP Board Chairman James Sanders as saying that, “This was an interesting and harmonious meeting of a good cross-section of people interested in the great resource we have in the Kings River.”

State Representative Bryan King, of Carroll County, spoke to the gathering and showed his continued support for the partnership’s activities. “This is a diverse group working towards a common goal, and that is better than the government doing it.” King stated. He also pledged to work hard during the next legislative session to secure funding and support for the KRWP. When Mr. King was notified of the Tyson Foods Environmental Stewardship Award and asked which non-profit group he would like to donate the prize to, he answered, “I don’t have to think about it. I want the money to go to the Kings River Watershed Partnership.” We would like to thank Representative King for the generous donation of the $500 award.

Shawna Miller, KRWP Project Coordinator, reported on results of this year’s water testing program. Results of samples taken by volunteers are tested against the very same samples measured at Shawna Miller the Arkansas Water Resource Center at the University of Arkansas to ensure quality. KRWP’s analysis compared closely to the AWRC’s results. She also presented a slideshow on the macroinvertebrate sampling, explaining how the presence of certain “bugs” (how many and what kind) in local streams are an indicator of water quality. Macroinvertebrates are small organisms with an external skeleton that are large enough to see with the naked eye. Miller stated that, “this biological survey is going to be used to establish a baseline of organisms that we can expect to find in certain stream segments. In the future we will be able to observe how the river’s ecosystem has changed since 2007.” Critters collected, counted, and identified include clams, snails, insect larva, and worms, among others.

Hudson Bluffs

A journey through time and space down the Kings River, by Board member Page Shurgar, treated the attendees to a unique perspective. Shurgar used current and historic photos, aerial photos, and maps to illustrate the changes that the Kings River has undergone in the last century. Surveys, photos, and personal accounts all attest to the fact that the Kings is getting wider and shallower. The vegetated zones on the banks are disappearing, gravel banks are building up, and stream bank erosion has increased tremendously.

KRWP bank survey team measuring erosion at a site on the Kings RiverWhat is causing all these changes? River systems are extremely complicated with numerous factors working on them all the time, so the answer is not simple. We do know that the Kings River has been destabilized by land use changes in our watershed as well as activities downstream such as the dredging and straightening of the Mississippi.

A destabilized river system with excess energy will cut into its streambed, becoming deeper with higher banks. If the river hits bedrock, like in the Kings, it will then start moving back and forth, blasting out banks and causing erosion in the process. Eventually the river will get so wide that it loses its energy, and thus drops all of the gravel and sediment that it has been carrying. This is the stage where most of the Kings River is now. The good news is that the Kings has begun healing itself. In many places the Kings is now meandering within the wide channel, cutting itself a new, narrower path.

Grey Squires - “Volunteer of the Year” and Ray Warren. Photo by Mike Ellis, CCN Murray Settlage of Madison County - this year’s “Land Steward Award” recipient and Page Shurgar. Photo by Mike Ellis, CCN

Grey Squires, (Berryville) received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from board member Ray Warren in recognition of his many efforts as an active participant in river clean-ups.

Murray Settlage (Madison County) was honored by board member Page Shurgar with the “Land Steward Award” for the best management practices that he uses on his rural property.

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Last Updated February 1, 2011