Beaver Watershed Alliance and the City of Elkins are working together to make improvements at Bunch Park, according to a recent press release. They are developing a Low Impact Development (LID) design for improving stormwater runoff, increasing native plants along the riparian of the East Fork – White River, increasing educational opportunities for park visitors and nearby schools, as well as developing a plan for education to residents and visitors.
Project funding is sourced from the Alliance’s Smart Growth for Source Water Protection program thanks to a grant from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal 319 grant, totaling $984,056, including matching and in-kind services, is being utilized to develop programming for watershed management in urban areas and install three low-impact development features within the Beaver Lake watershed area. The City of Elkins will receive $95,000 for design and implementation of LID features.
Plans include a prairie restoration, pathways for residents to enjoy passive recreation, such as birding, wildlife viewing, opportunities to learn about native plants and educational signage. The site is within walking distance from Elkins schools and could also serve as a training ground for landowners that are interested in landscape conversions.
The grant program and partnership will advance components of the Beaver Lake Watershed Protection Strategy by curbing sediment, which is the number one threat to Beaver Lake. Soil erosion from developed areas and increased drainage volume in urban and suburban streams has contributed large amounts of sediments to enter streams. These trends highlight the importance of normalizing low-impact development practices throughout the watershed.
More information, including the full press release, is on the City of Elkins website.