Local units of government including municipalities, counties and conservation districts as well as the entities that serve them are key partners in the 2006-2010 NPS Management Program. Examples of local government partners include but are not limited to:
Municipalities and Counties. Phase I Municipal Storm Water Program and municipal NPDES permits cover and regulate municipalities with populations of over 100,000, drainage systems interconnected with these municipalities’ systems, or municipalities determined to be significant contributors of pollutants. In Arkansas, Little Rock was the only “large” MS4 permitted under Phase I. Phase II of the Storm Water Program regulates municipalities with populations less than 100,000, including urbanized areas (typically areas with a population of 10,000 or greater and density greater than 1,000 people per square mile), cities and county areas designated by the state based on site-specific criteria and various state and federal facilities (e.g., universities, state highway system, Pine Bluff Arsenal, etc). Municipalities work together to develop education programs, model ordinances and obtain technical assistance through the Arkansas Municipal League. Counties work together in a similar fashion through membership in the Arkansas Association of Counties.
Regional Planning Commissions. Local units of government and other facilities required to obtain permits for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) are finding it beneficial to work together in collaborative efforts in order to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of their education and outreach programs. Regional planning Commissions working in cooperation with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service are at the forefront of pulling together these innovative partnerships, for example:
- The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission coordinates a regional education effort among the 15 small MS4s in Benton and Washington Counties affected by EPA Phase II Storm Water regulations. By contracting with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to develop and conduct storm water public education and involvement efforts, the NWA partnership benefits from a comprehensive, cost-effective outreach program that will improve water quality on a watershed-scale. Cooperating entities include the cities of Bentonville, Bethel Heights, Elkins, Elm Springs, Farmington, Fayetteville, Greenland, Johnson, Little Flock, Lowell, Springdale and Rogers along with Benton and Washington Counties and the University of Arkansas.
- Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. With leadership and coordination from the Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, the Cooperative Extension Service has entered into an agreement with Pine Bluff, White Hall, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a portion of Jefferson County that have been identified as small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) under the new EPA Phase II storm water regulations. The Cooperative Extension Service will provide public education and outreach, encourage public involvement and participation and train municipal employees in pollution prevention and good housekeeping.
Conservation Districts. Conservation districts are the front line for technical assistance to agricultural producers for the implementation of best management practices on their farms. Conservation districts are political subdivisions of the state of Arkansas, created by a popular vote of resident landowners for the purpose of conserving land and water resources as authorized by Act No. 197 of the Arkansas General Assembly of 1937, which was the nation's first conservation district law. A five-person board of directors governs each district. ANRC appoints two directors and resident landowners elect three directors. Arkansas’ 75 conservation districts establish natural resource priorities at the local level and provide support and input into how soil and water conservation programs are implemented at the local level, working cooperatively with landowners and federal and state government agencies. Conservation districts coordinate at the state level through membership in the Association of Arkansas Conservation Districts. Conservation district employees coordinate at the state level through involvement in the Arkansas Association of Conservation District Employees.
Other entities that serve local government. Municipalities and counties also rely on other organizations for education, information and technical assistance, including but not limited to: