Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts

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Arkansa Mud Drive

The Arkansas Mud Drive is an opportunity to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in Arkansas by encouraging farmers and landowners to close their water control structures on cropland within 14 days post-harvest. Data provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ducks Unlimited shows that the infrastructure is already in place and that we simply need a way to take full advantage of that infrastructure. The Mud Drive appeals to several groups, including: Ag producers, birdwatchers, conservationists, local communities, and agricultural students.

The Mud Drive is an opportunity to document the significant positive contributions farmers make to natural resources conservation. Closing structures in late summer, or 14 days post-harvest, has the ability to reduce the amount of sediments, nutrients and pesticides that leave crop fields and enter our watersheds. This will have positive impacts in Arkansas and as far away as the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help reduce the hypoxia zone. It is important for farmers to document the positive contributions they make to conservation as they are getting more and more attention regarding natural resource issues. If they document the steps they are taking to address water quality, it will alleviate some pressure on them as well as encourage others to do their part.

Birdwatchers will benefit as there will be more flooded fields in the late summer and through the winter. These flooded fields attract several species of shorebirds and waterfowl, which are targeted by birdwatchers. In turn, local communities will benefit when birdwatchers spend their money at restaurants, hotels, shops, etc.

Conservation groups and agencies stand to benefit through the increase in shorebird and waterfowl habitat, an improvement in water quality, and habitat conditions for aquatic species. The Mud Drive is a new and innovative way to deliver natural resource conservation without significant financial investments through the promotion of easy to implement practices that have numerous benefits and mass appeal.

Agricultural students and groups have the opportunity to win cash prizes by getting pledges from farmers. Since a lot of the prize money is coming from birdwatchers and biologists, the next generation of farmers will hopefully be more inclined to work with these groups in the future. It will also encourage future farmers to implement practices that have benefits beyond their farm.

 

 


2015


The Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts
4004 McCain Blvd, Ste. 201-B
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72116
Telephone (501) 904-5575