Monthly Archives: June 2013

District Staff Appointed to Serve on AWWA Councils

Alan D. Fortenberry P.E. of Springdale, AR, the CEO of Beaver Water District, has been appointed to serve on the Water Utility Council (WUC) of the American Water Works Association (AWWA). WUC is composed of senior officials of water utilities and includes officials from utilities of all sizes and both municipal and private ownership. WUC members work with AWWA government affairs staff to set legislative and regulatory priorities and positions for AWWA. WUC brings “the voice of water” to federal decision-makers.

Amy L. Wilson of Fayetteville, Director of Public Affairs for Beaver Water District, has been appointed to serve a three-year term on AWWA’s Public Affairs Council. The Public Affairs Council works to publicly position AWWA as an effective advocate for the drinking water profession. AWWA is the authoritative resource on safe water. AWWA unites the water community to protect public health and provide safe and sufficient water for all. Through collective leadership, AWWA advances technology, education, science, management and government policies.

Board Meeting – June 20, 2013

Beaver Water District’s Board of Directors will meet at noon on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at 301 N. Primrose Road, Lowell, AR.


1. Meeting Call to Order 2. Approval of minutes of previous regular meeting 3. Presentation – Black & Veatch Generator Study Report 4. Presentation – Operations and Distributive Control System Report 5. Other Business • Leadership Development Program Guests — Mike Smart, Plant Relief Operator II, and Jesse Burch, Plant Operator II 6. Tour of Operations Facilities

June 2013 – White River from Saint Paul to Patrick

On May 26th, the muses finally came together and provided an opportunity to venture out into the Ozarks. Sharon and I the loaded green canoe on the red truck and headed out Highway 16 from Fayetteville toward the town of Patrick. We were supposed to meet my friend and co-worker, Brad Hufhines and his wife, Stephanie, at the Patrick Bridge over White River. Just past Crosses, we saw Brad and Stephanie headed toward Fayetteville with his red canoe on top of his brown Suburban. Well, I said to Sharon, I guess we passed the town of Patrick. So, I found a wide spot in the road and turned around. As it turns out, Brad was running into the store at Crosses to get a little gas. Soon enough, we regrouped and headed on down to the bridge as planned.

The Patrick Bridge is a little more than a low water slab, but not much. When we pulled up at 9:30 that morning, three boys were busy jumping off the slab and floating down stream. It was about 68 degrees and the water was certainly cool, but they didn’t seem to mind. The game must have gone on all day. When we got back to the bridge a few hours later, they were still at it; but by this time, they had progressed to jumping in on the upstream side and riding the current through the box culvert. Brad and I loaded his canoe on my truck and we all headed on down Highway 16 to St. Paul.

At the White River Bridge just downstream from St. Paul, we pulled off the road. This was to be our launch site. Let me take a moment here to thank whoever owns the property next to the bridge for leaving the access open. I should also thank folks using this access for not littering. The site was basically clean. Perhaps if more recreationalists would respect the land, more of these informal access points would remain open.

A rock garden near St. Paul turned out to be a good place to relearn our paddling strokes.

A rock garden near St. Paul turned out to be a good place to relearn our paddling strokes.

There was a bit of apprehensiveness about putting in at St. Paul. While I was confident that it was floatable, none of us seemed to know much more about the float we had planned. From the USGS topographic maps, I could readily see that the gradient of the river was about 20 feet per mile, which makes it comparable to the Mulberry River in steepness. But there was not nearly the volume of flow that the Mulberry normally has during the spring. At that moment, I suspected that our little excursion could get lively, and I was right.

We unloaded the boats. I pulled my truck back up by the road just in case it rained, and we took off heading downstream toward Patrick. It was now in the mid-seventies. There was a strong south wind, but we were headed north so it didn’t really matter. We were comfortable in tee shirts and shorts. The water had a nice clear green color, and the flow was adequate but not high. In the first riffle, I noticed a blue smudge on a rock which indicated others had gone before us. I was starting to feel good about the day.

Sharon and I have paddled a lot together, but not in white water. She knows all the basic paddle strokes — draw, sweep, cross bow draw, forward and back strokes etc. But like I said, we have not done a lot of white water.

The next riffle was what we call a rock garden in the Ozarks.

As the flow picked up, rock gardens gave way to chutes and turns.(White Near Patrick)

As the flow picked up, rock gardens gave way to chutes and turns.(White Near Patrick)

Like the name implies, there were lots of rocks sticking up just high enough to catch a canoe. There was ample water to float through so we headed in. I was shouting directions to Sharon — “draw, cross bow, draw, sweep etc. – as we tried to avoid the rocks. Well, Sharon knew the strokes, but her recall was a little slow. We went through the riffle kind of like a pinball. The green canoe was now the scratched green canoe but we were still dry.

We drifted into the pool below the riffle. Sharon asked, “Why don’t you just say left or right? That would be much clearer.” Well, those that have paddled white water with me before understand that I only know two directions and they both were pronounced “left.” That often leads to confusion. We proceeded on. Brad and Stephanie were up ahead. Their daughter Stella was sitting in a camp chair in the middle of their canoe.

Indigo Bush

Indigo Bush

I’m happy to report that for the first couple of miles, the riparian zone along the side of the river was almost fully intact. Dense vegetation lined both banks and there were wild flowers galore, with pink Phlox being the most abundant followed by white Pentstemons and red Fire Pinks. But the prize for the day was Indigo Bush, a large bush with dozens of rusty, purple, spikey flowers. It was a pleasure to paddle alongside the mature forest.

After we passed the confluence with Fanning Creek, the volume of flow picked up. Rock garden riffles turned into white water chutes. With each chute, Sharon gained a little confidence in her paddle strokes. She was even starting to read the water. By the time I yelled a direction, she had already started. We were becoming a team. Brad and Stephanie were now a bit behind us.

At one particular rapid, all of the flow concentrated into a narrow chute roughly 15 yards long. At the end of the chute, the current ran square into a huge boulder. The water pillowed up on the boulder and shot off to the left. It was clear that one missed stroke and we would be swimming. I nosed the bow of the canoe into the chute and off we went. At just the right point, Sharon reached out over the left side of the canoe and did a perfect draw stroke. I hit a sweep stroke in the stern followed by a rudder and we were through.

Brad, Stella and Stephanie Hufhines

Brad, Stella and Stephanie Hufhines

Below the rapid on the right of the canoe, there was a strong eddy formed behind the boulder. On impulse, I pushed the bow of the canoe over the eddy line and hollered “cross bow.” Without hesitation, Sharon reached across to the right of the canoe and dug in with her paddle. I laid out on a low brace in the stern. In a flash, the canoe spun around and we were sitting in the eddy facing upstream. It was a perfect eddy turn. We sat there and waited for Brad, Stella and Stephanie to come through, just in case. They did fine.

On downstream, the river turned more northerly and the valley opened up. The river now flowed through a wide alluvial valley. Unlike the Buffalo or Kings rivers or even the White further downstream, there were no bluffs, or even much rock of any kind to constrain the river. The river was still very attractive, but there were signs of bank erosion almost everywhere. Even in reaches with intact riparian zones, the banks were eroding although not as dramatically as where the riparian vegetation had been removed. One look at the soil on an eroding bank told the story. It was nothing but silt and loose gravel. It was alluvial soil, which has virtually no resistance to erosion.

Alluvial soil in the valley bottom has no resistance to erosion.

Alluvial soil in the valley bottom has no resistance to erosion.

Just past the Highway 295 bridge at Combs, we stopped for lunch. Brad and Stella went swimming while Sharon and I ate our peanut butter sandwiches. Overhead a bird was flying around erratically. That’s strange I thought. On closer observation it turned out to be a bat, in broad daylight. Stephanie said that seeing a bat in daylight was bad luck. The next thing you know some small birds chased an owl out of the trees, heralding even more bad luck. Shortly thereafter, we loaded up and paddled on down to Patrick. The boys were still playing at the bridge. Several others had joined them. Brad shuttled us back up to the truck. After we transferred the canoe, we headed home. I’m still waiting on the bad luck to fall. I think we skated by it … this time.

Ron Duncan, War Eagle Mill Named War Eagle Stewards

HUNTSVILLE, Ark., June 1, 2013 – The annual War Eagle Steward Award was presented to Ron Duncan, a resident of Springdale as well as an Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner, for his lifelong dedication to and appreciation of War Eagle River. Additionally, War Eagle Mill was honored with a War Eagle Steward Award for its longstanding commitment to the War Eagle and the larger Northwest Arkansas community. Liz Kapsner, who handles marketing and sales for the mill, and Jennifer Keefe were on hand to receive the award. Awards are presented each year during War Eagle Appreciation Day, a community-wide event held at Withrow Springs State Park. The daylong gathering includes a family friendly float with education stations, music and food, and activities focused on the environment and community. Award winners receive an attractive metal sign that bears the War Eagle logo and identifies the recipient as a War Eagle Creek Steward. The program promotes awareness of the impact that land owners, residents, business owners/operators and other community members have on the watershed and recognizes those who have worked hard to protect the War Eagle Creek watershed by in some way by making a significant contribution to the water quality of the War Eagle. War Eagle is a tributary to Beaver Lake, drinking water for one in seven Arkansans.

“Anyone who knows me knows the War Eagle River is my religion,” said Ron Duncan, a lifelong educator who’s been floating, fishing and introducing young and old alike to the bounties of War Eagle for more than 40 years.  Duncan said as much when he shared his love of the river while fishing in the Emmy-award winning 2011 documentary “Bridge to War Eagle.”  Duncan founded what is now the nationally known “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” program, which originated with a fishing club he started in 1982 at Springdale Central Junior High School, where he was a civics teacher. Since that time, thousands of similar clubs have formed nationwide. In Arkansas, the program is administered by Arkansas Game and Fish. Duncan was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2004. Duncan has twice been honored as the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Man of the Year and was the National Wildlife Federation Educator of the Year in 1999. Through the fishing clubs he’s championed, Duncan has worked closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s education and fisheries divisions. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Duncan joined the Springdale School District in 1974. Duncan’s term on the AGFC expires on July 1, 2015.

War Eagle Mill, Arkansas’ only working water-powered grist mill, has been grinding fresh organic grains and flours for the community since the 1830s. The mill and its store and restaurant provide an inviting destination for locals and visitors alike, from tourists and motorcycle riders to serious arts and crafts visitors who return each year to this world-renowned and charmed place. The close knit staff at the mill love what they do and their enthusiasm and care for the food and products they market is palpable. War Eagle Mill, the picturesque, historic bridge, and all the environs surrounding it are forever tied to the health and well-being of the water that makes this mill possible. There’s no doubt that the mill is a War Eagle Creek Steward and deserves recognition. For more information, visit

War Eagle Appreciation Day occurs the first Saturday in June each year. Event partners and sponsors for 2013 included the William Rufus Stephens Jr. Memorial Fund, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, Arvest Bank, Beaver Watershed Alliance, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas State Parks (Withrow Springs State Park & Hobbs State Park), Arkansas Master Naturalists, Lewis & Clark, War Eagle Mill, Arkansas Canoe Club, Madison County Search and Rescue, Huntsville Fire Department, Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling, Madison County Record, KTHS Radio, Kiwanis Club, Madison Coffee House, Wal-Mart, Ma and Pa’s Bent & Dent, Audubon Arkansas, Elizabeth Richardson Center, Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma & Texas, Ozarks Water Watch, and Beaver Water District.

This year’s War Eagle Appreciation Day is an official event affiliated with 2013 Water Watch Week, coordinated by Ozarks Water Watch. For information, visit War Eagle is a sub-watershed of Beaver Lake Watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains water, sediment, and dissolved materials to a common receiving body or outlet, which in this case is Beaver Lake, the primary source of drinking water for most of Northwest Arkansas. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the rich history of War Eagle and the many benefits that War Eagle Creek brings to Madison County and Northwest Arkansas.