Arkansas Watershed Post-Fire Restoration
In 2015, our affiliate, the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC) was created as a subcommittee of Arkansas Basin Roundtable. From July to October of 2016, this watershed faced three major wildfires (Hayden Pass, Junkins, and Beulah) with burn scars totaling over 40,000 acres. ARWC, with the support of COCO, immediately began post-fire and flood mitigation work in all areas. We worked in collaboration with the U.S. Forest service, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, local homeowners, the Army Corp of Engineers, and numerous volunteer groups. ARWC restored the waterways, burned forest, and stabilized soil to reduce flood risks. In 2017, more than 400 volunteers contributed over 3000 hours of work. Work included installing modified crib walls, log erosion barriers, straw wattles, sandbags, and acres of seeding. In addition, we had a 16-hour certified training section for contractors in the Arkansas River valley to learn how to install these structures. This work reduced post-fire flooding damages, secured numerous homes, and restored a heavily trafficked campground.