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Government Agencies Join Citizens in Sampling Fourche Creek in Observance of 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act
       National Water Monitoring Day, October 18th, was a nationwide event created to mark the 30th anniversary of the initial passage of the Clean Water Act. The effort was coordinated by America's Clean Water Foundation, in cooperation with several other environmental groups and governmental agencies across the country. While comprehensive monitoring goes on all year, never before has such an event been scheduled to occur on one day across the nation.

The USGS and other government agencies and organizations (see list below), sampled the water quality of Fourche Creek at Hindman Park in southwestern Little Rock. USGS scientists and other state, local and federal government representatives, representatives of citizens's groups, and environmental science and earth science students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock were on hand to help test the waters and to serve as guides for others who joined this effort.

"One of the important lessons learned from the past 30 years is the need for grassroots participation in monitoring and caring for the natural resources that benefit us locally," said U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Jim Petersen. "Today's participation by state and federal agencies, citizen groups, college students, and environmental organizations is symbolic of the cooperative effort needed to continue to improve water quality in Arkansas."

"For example, the Arkansas Stream Team, a coalition of all the state's natural resource agencies, some federal agencies and numerous citizen conservation groups includes 500 teams statewide that volunteer to work keeping the state's waterways clean," added Steve Filipek, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Stream Team Coordinator.

"Communities need to be involved in decisions about their environment and it is far better for communities to make decisions based on first-hand knowledge. The Arkansas WET (Water Education Team) Program is designed to provide students with first-hand knowledge about water quality," said Phillip Osborne, WET coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

"Our streams are indicators of how our communities are fairing. Many cities across the U.S. have shown that cleaning up urban waterways, trickles into cleaning up our communities. An awareness of our streams and watersheds is one of the greatest conservation challenges in this century," said Rob Fisher, Director of Conservation for Audubon.

The main purpose of National Water Monitoring Day was to take a snapshot view of streams, lakes and coastal waters throughout the United States by inviting citizen monitors, established volunteer monitoring organizations and federal, state, Tribal and local monitoring program staff to evaluate conditions within their local watersheds. Data will be entered by monitors into a national databank that stores all information collected on Monitoring Day.

For more details, contact representatives listed below or visit the Year of Clean Water website www.yearofcleanwater.org .

U.S. Geological Survey, Jim Petersen, 501-228-3620

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group, Ellen McNulty, 501-682-0022

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Water Education Team, Phillip Osborne, 501-682-0024

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Stream Teams, Steve Filipek, 501-223-6369

Arkansas Audubon, Rob Fisher, 501-244-2229

Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Richard Johnson, 501-682-3908
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