Friendship Creek Steam Team

Sonora Elementary School


Arkansas has over 90,000 miles of streams and rivers in the state. Unfortunately, we've hurt the quality of many waterways. We've lost thousands of miles of free-flowing, natural streams to damming, industrial and agricultural pollution and other activities. Recent studies indicate that we've lost more than 25 percent of the state's smallmouth bass streams this century.

Arkansas Stream Teams partner up with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, as well as local watershed protection alliances, like the Beaver Watershed Alliance and the Illinois River Watershed Project. Stream Teams, like the one at Sonora Elementary, enable concerned citizens to become involved in stream and watershed conservation. Efforts revolve around three primary aspects of stream conservation: education, advocacy and stewardship.

In 2018 and 2019, we have worked with Becky Roark and Nate Weston of the Beaver Watershed Alliance to plant native trees and grasses along Friendship creek, which is near our elementary school. We planted over 20 trees at Farmland Adventures, a local farm owned by the Parsons family in Northwest Arkansas. The Beaver Watershed Alliance secured over 20 oak saplings for Sonora Elementary to plant along the watershed. Farmland Adventures boarders several tributary streams that lead in to Beaver Lake. We planted these trees to help prevent bank erosion along the watershed, as well as add native trees back to our area.

We have also worked with Justin Taylor at the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District to collect waste that has been dumped along our watershed, specifically near Brice's Marina on Beaver Lake. We have used ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS online to document waste trends along Spring Creek, Friendship Creek, and the Sonora areas of the mighty Beaver Lake. We've noticed a strong deposit of man-made waste along downtown road construction and highway expansions in East Springdale. As the area continues to grow, our heat maps have shown that watershed damage had intensified in just a few short years. This is our 7th year to serve as a Arkansas Stream Team.

This Spring we plan to take water samples in the area of Friendship creek to test nitrates, ammonia, and PH levels. These levels will indicate if there are issues concerning poultry waste runoff, solid waste deposits, as well as other watershed damages that need to be resolved. We also plan to study the population of smallmouth bass in our area. We would like to promote bass growth in our area, similar to the trout spawning studies that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have conducted in the White River, below Beaver Lake. As a long term goal, we would like to make a drastic impact in improving the habitats for the smallmouth bass, as well as the overall watershed in our area.