On Feb. 22, Stacy Cheevers of Elkins received the inaugural Middle Fork Watershed Guardian Award from the Beaver Watershed Alliance. The award recognizes Cheevers for his love of their land, stewardship practices to take care of the river they live and work by, and constant efforts to increase conservation measures on their property. (Cheevers is pictured here with wife Joyce, daughter Lauren and John Pennington, Executive Director of the BWA.) The Cheevers are agricultural producers with beef cattle and poultry operations. Their farms and home are located along the Middle Fork of the White River in Northwest Arkansas. The Cheevers family has owned and operated their 1,000-acre farm for about 10 years. Throughout that time, the family has worked to be good stewards of the land, air, and water. Partially for this reason, the Cheevers have also previously been named as Farm Family of the Year in Washington County.
Cheevers has undertaken many soil and water stewardship practices on his farm such as nutrient management, which documents fertilization records, guides how much fertilizer to apply, and dictates when and where to make fertilizer applications. In addition to managing nutrients, Cheevers also fences cattle out of the stream to prevent increased turbidity caused by cattle wading in the stream, nutrient deposition from livestock into streams, and to help protect his stream banks from erosion. He also has utilized the Natural Resource Conservation Service-Environmental Quality Incentives Program to use best management practices on his farm, practices which increase productivity and protect the environment. Such best management practices include storage of poultry litter in a stacking shed, using alum to reduce ammonia emissions and prevent nutrient runoff, and building farm ponds to trap nutrients and aid in off-stream watering.
The Beaver Watershed Alliance is a community supported nonprofit organization. Its mission is to protect, enhance, and sustain the water quality of Beaver Lake and the integrity of its watershed through education and outreach, voluntary best management practice implementation, and scientific investigation. For more information, visit www.beaverwatershedalliance.org.