ANRC manages and protects water and land resources for the health, safety and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas. A nine-member Commission appointed by the Governor provides direction for ANRC. The Governor also appoints the ANRC Executive Director. ANRC is divided into three operating divisions: Conservation Division, Water Management Division and Water Development Division.
Since 1990, ANRC has been the lead agency for planning, coordinating and implementing the NPS Management Program in addition to many other programs that address water quality.
Nonpoint Source Pollution Grants Program. ANRC offers competitive grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act, to support statewide programs and implementation projects on an annual cycle. Special emphasis is given to priority watersheds prioritized by the NPS Management Program Task Force. ANRC provides assistance to eligible entities on preparation of grant applications, including conceptual project design, development of the work plan and budget preparation. ANRC accepts work plans for projects to manage, reduce or abate NPS pollution. Projects are funded for one to three years.
Support for County Conservation Districts. ANRC provides significant support for Arkansas’ 75 conservation districts in collaboration with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts. The purpose of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts is to help conservation districts increase their capacity to effectively and efficiently conserve soil and water. Conservation districts are political subdivisions of the state of Arkansas, created by a vote of resident landowners as authorized by Act No. 197 of the Arkansas General Assembly of 1937, the nation's first conservation district law. ANRC appoints two members of each local conservation district while three members are elected locally.
Technical Assistance. ANRC, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, USDA NRCS and other entities may provide technical assistance to conservation districts through their staffs of professional engineers, geologists and/or biologists in the design and implementation of stream bank best management practices (BMPs) for reaches of streams identified as having significant erosion problems. Watershed assessment will normally identify these streams, but the district may also identify them in its annual plan of action.
Water Quality Technicians. The ANRC provides state funding to some local conservation districts for water quality technicians. The job of the technician is to provide assistance to landowners in the implementation of a water quality management plans and provide assistance in the implementation of water quality and conservation plans. The ANRC, in cooperation with the NRCS, also oversees ongoing training of the technicians to assure they are current on management techniques and practices. The NRCS District Conservationist provides daily supervision of the technician.
Poultry Registration. Poultry feeding operations, where 2,500 or more poultry are housed or confined on any given day, must register annually in accordance with the Arkansas Poultry Feeding Operations Registration Act. Persons in Arkansas with at least 125,000 broilers, 82,000 laying hens, 55,000 turkeys, 500 horses, or 1000 slaughter or feeder cattle that use dry waste systems must apply for coverage under General Permit Number ARG590000 for confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) that use dry waste systems or for coverage under an individual permit. The operator may submit the forms directly to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) or through their local conservation district. ANRC will implement three new programs by 2006, including:
- Nutrient Management Planner Certification Program. These rules govern the Commission’s Nutrient Management Planner Certification Program for individuals who prepare nutrient management plans. Planners prepare nutrient management plans to indicate how nutrients should be applied to fields and other land for crop production while protecting ground water and surface water from excessive nutrient enrichment. Plans contain operating procedures based on expected crop type, existing nutrient levels in the soil, organic residuals, optimum timing and placement of nutrients, environmental resource protection and agronomic practices such as liming, tillage and crop rotation. ANRC shall certify the competence of individuals to prepare these plans and determine information to be contained in nutrient management plans.
- Nutrient Management Applicator Certification Program. These rules govern the Commission’s Nutrient Management Applicator Certification Program for individuals who apply nutrients to land. The Commission shall certify the competence of individuals to apply nutrients and provide training relating to nutrient application. The training shall at a minimum meet the USDA NRCS conservation practice standards for Arkansas. To maintain certification, certified nutrient planners must develop plans consistent with certified nutrient planner training. The Commission may issue distinct classifications of certification. Persons making nutrient application to nutrient surplus areas on or after the effective date of Title 22, Rules Governing the Arkansas Soil Nutrient and Poultry Litter Application and Management Program, must become certified. Persons making nutrient application outside nutrient surplus areas are not required to become certified.
- Soil Nutrient and Poultry Litter Application and Management Program. This program will encourage prudent practices regarding the application and management of soil nutrients and poultry litter to protect and enhance the state’s surface water quality while allowing for optimum soil fertility and proper plant growth. The program’s primary goal will be to maintain the benefits derived from the wise use of poultry litter, commercial fertilizers and other soil nutrients while avoiding unwanted effects from excess nutrient applications on the waters within the state. To further this goal, the program provides requirements applicable to nutrient surplus areas, nutrient management plans, and poultry litter management plans.
Wetland and Riparian Zones Tax Credit Program. This program, created by the Arkansas Private Wetland Riparian Zone Creation and Restoration Incentive Act of 1995, allows a credit against the tax imposed by the Arkansas Income Tax Act for any taxpayer engaged in the development or restoration of wetlands and riparian zones. The program is designed to encourage private landowners to restore and enhance existing wetlands and riparian zones and, when possible, create new wetlands and riparian zones because the state continues to experience significant loss of wetlands and because most lands suitable for wetlands are privately owned. This program benefits the landowners through tax credits and the state by increasing wetlands and riparian zones, which provide flood control, water quality enhancement, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation and ground water recharge.
Wetland Mitigation Bank Program. The Arkansas Wetland Mitigation Bank Program is a state-sponsored initiative to re-establish wetland hydrology and vegetation with compensatory funds from Section 404 permit recipients for impacts of approved wetland projects in selected areas that meet program criteria. Within these areas, site selection takes into consideration current and potential contributions to ground-water quality and other factors.
Ground Water Protection Program. ANRC is the state’s water resources planning and management agency. ANRC is responsible for state level planning, management, and protection of ground water resources. This is accomplished through monitoring of the aquifers water levels and water quality, implementation of BMPs, conservation, enforcement of the proper construction of water wells and education. These goals are accomplished through a strong working relationship with the public and with other agencies. The Commission works closely with other state and federal agencies to monitor a water well network of more than 1200 sites for water level and water-quality information. Pursuant to the Arkansas Ground Water Protection and Management Act of 1991, ANRC produces an annual ground water report on the condition of the state’s ground water resources, makes recommendations on critical areas, coordinates the interagency Arkansas Ground Water Protection and Management Committee and enforces Water Well Construction Commission rules and regulations.
Arkansas State Water Planning. In 1969, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 217 making the ANRC responsible for water planning at the state level and the development of the first Arkansas State Water Plan. Since its completion and publication in 1975, the plan has served as a guide for efficient development of land and water resources. In 1985, the Legislature enacted Act 1051 directing the Commission to update the plan so it will remain a valid and reliable document addressing current issues. The most recent data and extensive research guide planning objectives and potential solutions. The Arkansas State Water Plan, in accordance with Acts 217 of 1969 and 1051 of 1985, consists of twelve basin reports. Each basin report includes a land resource inventory (land use & soil resources), identifies quantity and quality problems for surface and ground water, and provides solutions and recommendations.