Annual Conference

2017 AWRC Annual Water Research Conference: Post-Conference Wrap-up

This year’s conference was a huge success! The conference theme was “Protecting Water Supplies for People and the Environment”. Over 150 people from research, state agencies, engineering firms and many others came to learn, network and share their insights from around the country. 


Session Topics

The opening session was about protecting water supplies, and the importance of PARTNERS in the effort to protect source water quality was emphasized greatly – a successful protection program needs support from various agencies, utilities, and the public.

AWRC Conference 2017


The next session was about the Illinois River Watershed and the recommendation from the Joint Phosphorus Study,featuring Ryan King students from Baylor University, Nicole Hardiman from Illinois River Watershed Partnership, and even AWRC director, Brian Haggard.

On the afternoon of the first day, researchers with the US Geological Survey shared data and information about some of their current projects.

Then, to wrap up the first day and start the second day, we heard about irrigation management and water quality in agriculture. We got to hear many different perspectives about these issues from researchers from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The next session on urban water management was fun and interesting. We learned about water conservation efforts, low impact development, and public awareness campaigns going on in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Jeremy Bailey with GreenBlue Urban talked about how cities can reduce stormwater and store carbon in urban trees.

Many people decided to walk off some of their lunch by taking a demonstration tour with Colin Massey and Jane Maginot with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

AWRC Conference 2017 Jane Maginot and Colin Massey


Finally, the Arkansas chapter of the American Water Resources Association partnered with AWRC to hold their annual symposium on the afternoon of the second day. We heard from speakers about dam safety and water supply issues in Arkansas, particularly about the threat of harmful algal blooms.

We want to give a big THANKS to all the presenters and moderators for making this year’s conference so fulfilling.


Poster Competitions

This year’s poster session showcased a lot of research from undergraduate and graduate students on a wide variety of water topics. Students in the Ecosystems Services Research Experience for Undergraduates (EcoREU) program got the opportunity to present findings from their summer research during the poster session. The competition was tight, and the winners walked away with Visa giftcards.

Undergraduate Student Competition: Congratulations to Brent Chaney and advisor Beth Baker of Mississippi State University for getting first place with their poster titled “Water Quality Impacts of Wild Hogs”. Second place went to Leah Bayer and advisor Dan Magoulick for their poster titled “Modeling the Effects of Crayfish Invasion and Drought on Hypothetical Crayfish Population Dynamics”.

AWRC Conference 2017 Undergraduate student Brent Chaney


Graduate student competition: First place went to Kaleb Belcher, advised by Wen Zhang of the University of Arkansas for their poster “Accumulation and Release of Lead by Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems”. Second place went to Brooke Howard-Parker, advised by Michelle Evans-White of the University of Arkansas for their poster titled “The Effects of Phosphorus and Light on Recalcitrant Organic Matter Degradation in Lotic Systems”.


Thank you Conference Sponsors

So much of the success of the conference is because of our generous sponsors and exhibitors. A big thanks to the Arkansas Chapter of the American Water Resources Association, Beaver Water District, Beaver Watershed Alliance, Central Arkansas Water, and Ozarks Water Watch. Thanks also for the support from Water Monitoring Solutions, GBMc & Associates, the Illinois River Watershed Partnership, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, CUAHSI, Aquatic Informatics, the US Geological Survey, the University of Arkansas, and the UA Division of Agriculture. 

Past Conferences

Each year, AWRC holds a watersheds and research conference. This conference draws over 100-150 researchers, students, agency personnel, municipal personnel, interested citizens and many other water quality stakeholders from around the State and region. Conference topics have ranged from drinking water treatment processes to agricultural water management in the delta in eastern Arkansas. See the list below for programs from past conferences.   


Past Conference Programs

2017 July 25-26  Protecting Water Supplies for People and the Environment
2016 July 26-27  Nutrients, Water Quality, and Harmful Algal Blooms
2015 July 21-22  Meeting Arkansas's Water Needs Now and Into the Future
2014 July 15-16  Watersheds, Wicked Problems and Water Words
2013 May 14-15  Watershed Research and Ecological Design in the Ozarks
2012 July 11-12  Arkansas Water Planning and Reservoir Management
2011 July 6-7  The Illinois River and the Statement of Joint Principles and Actions
2010 April 13-14  Water Quality of Groundwater, Reservoirs and Restored Streams
2009 April 14-15  Transboundary Watersheds, Nutrient Hotspots and Riparian Buffers
2008 April 22-23  Watershed Management and Nutrient Loading