Home Archived January 13, 2017
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New Water Monitoring Station Dedicated in Arkansas

       Citizens, lawmakers, media and partners joined USGS scientists on August 15 to dedicate a new USGS streamgaging station in central Arkansas. The gage was installed earlier this year along the Middle Fork of the Saline River near Owensville, Ark., as a cooperative effort between the USGS and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) to gather data on the flow of the stream. Local residents and resource management agencies are concerned about potential effects of upstream development on the quantity and quality of water in the stream.

"This new gaging station will expand the water-resources knowledge of the area and provide streamflow information for the Middle Fork that can be used by the AGFC and other agencies tasked with making management decisions about the resource," said John Terry, Chief of the USGS Water Resources Office in Arkansas.

Attendees included the Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and staff from the offices of U.S. Congressman Mike Ross, U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder, and U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson. Gratitude for the new streamgaging station and respect for the USGS were central themes in the remarks of each of these participants. "The USGS's reputation as a science agency is well known and this gaging station is a good example of their ability to provide credible scientific information for use by resource mangers," said Spencer Sessions, staff representative for Senator Hutchinson.

Following the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, USGS scientist Shane Barks explained how the gaging station functions and how subsequent data is processed. A public forum following the ceremony gave citizens an opportunity to speak about their concerns for the future of the Middle Fork of the Saline River. Many thanked the USGS and AGFC for the gage, and asked agencies and lawmakers for increased assistance. Jason Phillips, a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), expressed concerns of the USFWS regarding potential changes in the Middle Fork and potential effects on the Arkansas fatmucket, a federally-listed threatened species of mussel that occurs only in the Saline River and nearby streams.

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John Terry, Chief of the USGS Water Resources Office in Arkansas describes USGS mission and capabilities to the crowd that gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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A hand-painted sign that greeted attendees on their way to a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Middle Fork of the Saline River northeast of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was erected by local residents to thank the USGS and the AGFC for the gage.

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AFGC representative Mike Armstrong, Congressional Aides Chris Wallace, Spencer Sessions and Donna Blackwood help John Terry cut the ribbon.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Jason Phillips describes concerns for the Arkansas fatmucket, a federally-listed threatened species of mussel found only in the Saline River and nearby streams.
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