It's Spooky to Look Upstream
A recent article in the Northwest Arkansas Online news service tells of the influx of the population in Northwestern Arkansas, and the anticipated one-million people expected to live there soon. Northwest Arkansas' population grew 4.8% between 2019 and 2021, following only Provo-Oremand Austin...Article. Northwest Arkansas' population is anticipated to nearly double to one million people by 2045...Article.
This news is certainly no Halloween treat for the Illinois River. The influx of growth in theIllinois River watershed is being addressed by citizens and by government agencies. Several members of STIR recently attended the first meeting in Arkansas of a group looking for voluntary solutions to a cleaner Illinois River watershed. But in the meantime, we can't just sit on our hands.
Streambank erosion is occurring at a rapid rate, making the Illinois River wider, warmer, and shallower. An Oklahoma water quality official said erosion in Arkansas is bad and then added, "It's even worse in Oklahoma." A presentation showed pads for new homes restricting the channel of a tributary of the Illinois River in Arkansas. Flood water flowing past this location may cause serious erosion damage because the speed and force of the water will be greater. Oklahoma's water quality standard for phosphorus is violated by 99-percent at the stateline at Watts, Oklahoma (2017-2021 geometric means). Tons of phosphorus are pouring into Lake Tenkiller yearly, degrading the lake's water quality (78,165 kg per year, 2017-2021 rolling average).* Oklahoma, in its 2022 report to the U.S. EPA, states that portions of LakeTenkiller, the Illinois River, and tributaries are impaired by phosphorus, bacteria, dissolved Oxygen, and lead.
If there is a sweet treat for us in the pollution data this Halloween, it's that phosphorus levels in the Illinois River watershed continue to trend downward. STIR appreciates your support, and we want you to know that, like the Kingfisher, we're watching the water for you. Join STIR online by clicking here.
*Data presented to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas Compact Commission Sept. 23,2022.
STIR IS WATCHING THE WATER FOR YOU