Have you ever wondered where all the water goes after the rain stops? Or where your community’s storm sewers or drainage ditches lead?

The answer is your local creek, river or lake. When turning on a faucet, most Arkansans have no doubt that clean water will spill out, but not nearly enough people know the source of that water or existing concerns about their community’s water quality.

Over the next few months, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service will host free workshops in eight impaired watersheds to talk to residents about what they can do to improve or protect their local water quality.

Nearly two-thirds of Arkansas’ 75 counties are home to impaired watersheds. Rivers end up on the state’s impaired list because of human activities, erosion problems, and in some cases, the cause may not be known.

The one-day workshop will touch on the science behind watersheds and on how residents can go about starting a watershed group. The program will explain basic concepts, such as what a watershed is and what activities that have the potential to harm water quality.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be considered an Arkansas Watershed Steward – a person who knows more about local water concerns and how local actions can affect water quality.

Funded by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the Arkansas Watershed Stewards program was developed to raise awareness about water quality and to help interested residents in forming local watershed organizations.

A Workshop will be held on March, 4th in Fort Smith at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, the meeting will start with registration at 9 a.m. There is no requirement that workshop participants form a watershed group. Lunch will be provided during the five-hour workshop. Pre-registration is required, those interested in attending may call 479-484-7737.

For more information about the Arkansas Watershed Steward program, contact your local cooperative extension office, or visit www.uaex.edu.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.