Buffalo River 
Watershed
Alliance

Advocates to Protect the Buffalo National River Watershed


Recent BRWA Newsletters     August       September 2016     October 2016  

EC Farms Permit Appeals Follow the progress of the 3 appeals. A public hearing will be held on November 16 to hear motions for dismissal or summary judgement. See the Events calendar for details. The public is encouraged to attend and show your support for the "Three Grandmothers".


The first meeting of the Buffalo River Action Committee will be on December 8. See the press release for details.


Governor Asa Hutchinson announces Buffalo River Action Committee       Youtube video 9/30/2016


Governor's Directive for Beautiful Buffalo River Initiative (BBRI) "To address water quality concerns throughout the watershed and ensure the Buffalo National River maintains all designated uses"  Sept 30, 2016


BCRET July-Sept, 2016 Quarterly Report


BRWA comments on proposed revisions to Regulation 6. October 17, 2016


ADEQ 2018 Assessment Methodology Review website for reviewing criteria for 303d List of Impaired Streams, Nov.3, 2016


BRWA comments to ADEQ on 2018 Assessment Methodology for determining impairment of Arkansas streams, October 30, 2016


Ozark River Stewards comments on Assessment Methodology, supported by BRWA. October 30, 2016


All public comments submitted to ADEQ on Reg 6 Revisions


Isaak Walton League Gives Arkansas a D+ for Water Quality


BRWA Poster



TIMELINE: INVESTIGATIVE DRILLING AROUND C&H PONDS

Following revelations by BRWA in April, 2016, ADEQ agreed to perform investigative drilling around the C&H swine waste ponds to determine if, as suggested by ERI results, the ponds are leaking. Below are related documents in chronological order. Also see the ERI section of the Documents page for more. Drilling was completed on September 26.


Read Comments on drilling plan.


APRIL 29: BRWA alerts APC&E Commission to ERI data which indicates possible fracture and release of waste beneath C&H waste ponds. See the Powerpoint presentation here and the accompanying narrative here with expert opinions. 

May 4: PRESS RELEASE regarding ERI data.

May 23: BRWA Letter to ADEQ asking that installation of synthetic pond liners be delayed until confirmatory drilling can be done to determine the validity of ERI results referenced above. This letter was also provided to APC&E Commissioners  by BRWA attorney Richard Mays at the May 26, 2016 meeting.


June 23ADEQ Press Release announcing plan to further investigate ERI data from C&H waste ponds.

June 24: PRESS CONFERENCE ADVISORY, by BRWA and Coalition at ADEQ Headquarters following Commission meeting.

June 29BRWA Letter to ADEQ as followup to confirm ADEQ assertion to include BRWA in independent ERI investigations around C&H waste pounds. 

July 8: Representatives of BRWA and the Buffalo River Coalition met with ADEQ officials at offices of Attorney Richard Mays to discuss plans for an independent investigation of possible leakage of the C&H swine waste lagoons as was indicated by electrical resistivity imaging conducted in early 2015.


July 8ADEQ Powerpoint presentation to BRWA and the Coalition at above meeting describing proposal for independent investigative drilling.


July 11: Bert Fisher letter to ADEQ with recommendations for drilling.


July 12BRWA and Coalition Followup Letter to ADEQ in response to July 8 meeting. 

July 28: BRWA and Coalition 2nd followup letter to ADEQ regarding workplan for drilling. 

August 2: ADEQ Webpage posted on C&H Pond Integrity Investigation. Includes the Draft Workplan

Read Comments on drilling workplan.

August 4Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition objecting to presence of two BCRET as observers during well drilling while disallowing BRWA's recommended observer, Dr Bert Fisher. 


August 4: 2nd Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition providing comments on technical aspects of the Draft Workplan. 


August 5: ADEQ announces drilling scheduled for August 8 will be delayed, pending availability of drill rig.


August 24:BRWA FILES INJUNCTION

seeking hearing on investigative drilling at C&H. 


August 26: Final Drilling Workplan is posted.


Sept. 2: BRWA withdraws injunction


Sept. 2: ADEQ issues C&H Hog Farm a Notice of Technical Incompleteness due to C&H sudden refusal to allow drilling to proceed.


Sept. 6: BRWA letter to ADEQ reiterating request for multiple bore holes and referencing 2014 Expert Review Panel recommendations re: pond leakage. 


Sept. 7: C&H agrees to allow drilling to proceed at state's expense with drilling date of Sept 19.


Sept. 12: BRWA and Coalition ask EPA to be present during investigative drilling.


Sept 21: Drilling begins. See daily updates here


Sept. 23: Drilling is completed and borehole is filled with cement, although a "void" at 25 feet deep makes it difficult and cementing is not completed until Sept. 26. See the Observation Logs here. Director Keogh states that the Final Report will not be made available to the public until January, 2017.


Sept. 29: ADEQ press release announcing completion of drilling


More to come!


OTHER RECENT NEWS


Water analysis results. This document includes a map of numerous sampling locations along Big Creek,from upstream of C&H to the confluence with the Buffalo. The results are suggestive of nutrient loading in the vicinity of the hog factory.


Downstream People - A Documentary, a movie trailer for an upcoming documentary about C&H and its effect on the community. July 23, 2016


BCRET Quarterly Report, July 22, 2016



ADEQ Approves EC Farms request to spread C&H waste on additional fields, including in the watersheds of the Little Buffalo and Hurricane Creek. June 30, 2016. Several individuals have appealed this decision.

BRWA requests public hearing on administrative completeness of C&H application to switch to a Reg. 5 permit. June 3, 2016

ADEQ denies above request for a public hearing on administrative completeness, Sept. 26, 2016




 ADEQ decides not to renew ARG590000, the Reg 6 General permit for swine CAFOs. Read the press release here, April 28, 2016. Read ADEQ's official decision not to renew and responses to 130 comments here.


C&H applies to switch from its current Regulation 6 NPDES (Federal) General Permit to a Regulation 5 (State) Individual Permit. Read the Application Packet  here. April 4, 2016

ADEQ issues letter of administrative completeness stating that C&H's reg 5 permit application contains all of the necessary forms and documents.May 25, 2016. This will be followed by a technical review and 30-day public comment period within 90 days.

BRWA requests public hearing on administrative completeness of C&H Reg 5 application, June 3, 2016

ADEQ denies above request for a public hearing on administrative completeness, Sept. 26, 2016


Hearing Was Held April 14
Notice of Draft Renewal Permit and Public Hearing NPDES General Permit ARG590000 for Eligible Operators of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) within the State of Arkansas To read document click here.
 Read BRWA's comments here. Read all public comments here



Hearing Was Held APRIL 11
Read BRWA's Draft Comments here

    

Karst Hydrogeology of the Buffalo National River (KHBNR) is a project sponsored by BRWA and funded by Patagonia. See the brochure here.



303(d) COMMENTS
The public comment period for the 2016 draft 303(d) list of impaired streams closed on March 16, 2016. Click here to read ADEQ's public notice. Read BRWA and others' comments here. Read BRWA/Coalition presentation to the Arkansas legislative committee meeting, March 29, 2016 here
Final 303(d) Reports are posted here, April 6, 2016. See the "305b Integrated Report" for comprehensive details.

NPS letter, March 25, 2016 recommending 303(d) Impaired status for Big Creek based on analysis of BCRET E. coli data.



Rapping' Ranger rhymes on the River
 

New Journal Article! 

Proposals for integrating karst aquifer evaluation methodologies into national environmental legislations. Case study of a concentrated animal feeding operation in Big Creek Basin and Buffalo National River Watershed, Arkansas, USA. By Katarina Kosic, Carol L. Bitting, John Van Brahana, Charles J. Bitting. Sustainable Water Resources Management, December 2015. Vol 1 Issue 4, p363-374.




BRWA responds via attorneys to ADEQ's refusal to investigate our complaint about possible contamination at C&H. Sept. 21, 2015



BRWA Files Complaint With ADEQ regarding BCRET data showing potential pond leakage.

Aug. 12, 2015 Read here

ADEQ responds here, August 21,2015 denying further investigation


 

  HOGS ON THE BUFFALO VIDEO
    On PBS Series, This American Land
                     watch here

SAVE THE BUFFALO…AGAIN VIDEO 
                      watch here


    
July 2, 2015: Cargill announces the sale of it's pork unit to Brazilian firm, JBS USA for $1.45 billion, pending government approval.


June 15, 2015: Earthjustice Letter To ADEQ expressing concern over a request to permit C&H waste to be spread on the old C&C Hog Farm, part of which is in the Little Buffalo River watershed. Also requesting that C&H permit be reopened in its entirety for public comment. 

May 7, 2015: C & H requests yet another major permit modification to install a cover, gas flare and liners on their waste storage ponds. Read the request here.

    
 Buffalo National River Water Quality Data This site provides information on multiple water quality parameters collected at numerous sites on the Buffalo from 1985 to present. See the Water Quality Database 2005 - 2015 for most recent data, including E. coli and Dissolved Oxygen.

Dissolved Oxygen levels at mouth of Big Creek, late Summer, 2014. This graph shows that during a 21 day period the D.O. dropped to or below 5 mg/l on 19 nights. The stream was at a critical level for 23.76% of the time during that period. 

COURT ORDER, filed 12/2/2014. U.S. District Court Judge D.P. Marshall's written opinion and order for injunctive relief. The Court finds that FSA and SBA violated provisions of the National Environmental Policies Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that they "arbitrarily and capriciously guaranteed the loans" to C&H Hog Farms.The court requires the agencies to re-do their "cursory and flawed" Environmental Assessment of C&H within one year. Read this document for a clear overview and explanation of the issue.
    Notice of Appeal by DOJ, filed 1/30/2015
Appeal Withdrawn by DOJ, April 24, 2015

PLEASE SEE the Documents and the Videos pages for more extensive documentation of the C&H controversy.

 USGS REAL TIME WATER MONITORING
Mt Judea Station, downstream from C&H
Big Creek at Carver Station, near confluence with Buffalo River

WHY SAVE THE BUFFALO?

The "Save the Buffalo - Again" campaign is necessary because, in 2012, a 6,500 industrial scale hog facility was built on the banks of Big Creek, just 5 miles upstream from the Buffalo National River. Government oversight of this development was deeply flawed and it now threatens to destroy the fragile ecosystem of our nation's first National River.

Buffalo National River staff was not consulted prior to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality(ADEQ) issuing a permit for this confined animal feeding operation(CAFO), in violation of federal regulations. A subsequent National Park Service review of the documents for the permit  revealed 45 significant violations

If we have learned anything, we now know we must be vigilant and not presume everyone treasures this place as we do. 

We must act to defeat this CAFO, and seek policies that will build a wall around the Buffalo River Watershed. If we lose this, we lose a part of ourselves.

John Muir defined the meaning of natural treasures like the Buffalo National River best long ago:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."  John Muir

We need your help. Join us in this campaign to "Save the Buffalo - Again", and help secure the future of our national treasure. With a shared vision and hard work, we will prevail.




Upcoming events

08 Dec 2016 9:30 AM • Searcy County Civic Center Gym in Marshall, Arkansas (515 Zack Rd
10 Dec 2016 2:00 PM • Bentonville Public Library, 405 S Main St Bentonville, AR
14 Dec 2016 • 7 1/2 mile radius from Buffalo Point
Actions You Can Take Today


The BRWA T-Shirt campaign has ended and shirts ordered should be arriving mid December

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Learn how to file an odor complaint


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