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Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center -- Arkansas
Middle Fork of the Saline River
Short Title: Middle Fork Study
Project Chief: Dennis Evans
Cooperators: Hot Springs Village Property Owners Association, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Naural Resources Commission, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Project Time Frame: 2003 - present
The Middle Fork of the Saline River flows through parts of Garland and Saline Counties in south-central Arkansas and is a tributary of the Saline River. The Middle Fork of the Saline River (hereafter referred to as the "Middle Fork") flows southeastward through Hot Springs Village and into Saline County, before its confluence with the Alum Fork of the Saline River. The Middle Fork provides habitat for several rare aquatic species and is part of a larger stream system (the Upper Saline River) that is known for relatively high levels of species richness and relatively high numbers of species of concern. The stream provides important habitat for the federally threatened Arkansas fatmucket (Lampsilis powellii). Two species listed as species of special concern by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission include the Ouachita madtom (Noturus lachneri) and the southern pocketbook mussel (Lampsilis ornata).
Because of activities in the basin that can affect the aquatic health of the Middle Fork and its importance as habitat for rare and threatened aquatic species, a study began in October 2003 to examine the hydrology, water quality, and biological communities in the Middle Fork Basin. Three river sites are sampled bi-monthly: Brushy Creek near Jessieville, Middle Fork Saline River below Jessieville and Middle Fork Saline River near Owensville. Samples are analyzed by the USGS National Water-Quality Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado for inorganics, nutrients, sediment and bacteria. These data were used to compare the water quality and biological communities to factors that potentially affect the ecology of the stream.
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