Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance Inc.(BRWA) recognizes the proposals announced by the Governor’s Office as a positive first step for the Buffalo National River. We appreciate that the Governor’s office is acknowledging that there are serious issues affecting the water quality and health of this Arkansas treasure. For this to be viewed as more than a public relations initiative, we would expect to see actual good faith steps taken by the Governor’s Office and ADEQ to identify and eliminate the obvious risks to the Buffalo. Such steps would demonstrate genuine sincerity towards the river’s interests that would immediately bind stakeholders to the Governor’s efforts. BRWA as a stakeholder has not been solicited for input to this proposal, though we are pleased to be considered for involvement and we will have more to say as we learn more about the details.
An additional strong step that the Governor’s office could include in their program or run parallel to it, would be to initiate a review of the permitting processes where watersheds high in geologic karst such as the Buffalo that result in swift groundwater flows, receive appropriate additional scrutiny before a permit is granted. The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) would be happy to participate in finding common ground that would address the best interests of the watershed which would in turn ensure a robust tourism economy in the river’s gateway communities for years to come. Such a review should consider making the moratorium on medium and large CAFOs permanent.
Finally, a non-point source initiative on reducing nutrients similar to that in the Illinois river watershed is highly appropriate for an extraordinary resource water such as the Buffalo National River. Such a focus would be strongly supported by BRWA as stakeholder.
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