Arkansas Ozark Waterkeeper, Inc. is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, the world's fastest growing environmental movement, uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper organizations and affiliates around the world and focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. These Waterkeeper organizations are on the frontline of the global water crisis patrolling and protecting more than 1.5 million square miles of waterways on six continents.
Our goal is swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water everywhere.
White River Waterkeeper, Inc and Ozark River Stewards have merged to become Arkansas Ozark Waterkeeper, Inc.
The Board thanks Jessie Green for her efforts to establish a Waterkeeper organization for the Ozark region, Jessie has moved on and we wish her well. Now, we are ready to build on the solid foundation already in place. The pandemic has been a challenge for many non-profits, including ours, but we are ready to rise!
The Ozark River Stewards (ORS) began as a true grass-roots group eight years ago in the midst of the fight to save the Buffalo River from millions of gallons of hog waste. Required protections were skirted in order to install a hastily built industrial-scale hog confined animal feeding operation along a major tributary to the Buffalo National River. Many concerned citizens and groups worked together to prove that excess nutrients were harming the river. ORS members also recognized that if the Buffalo National River could be endangered so easily by special interests, any beloved river or creek in the Ozarks could be similarly imperiled.
The decision to merge organizations was driven by what members had learned through years of activism and education. We gained understanding of the workings of regulatory systems and environmental laws, and knew we needed to continue to stand up for our Ozark waterways. Taking over the mantle of Waterkeeper was an obvious next step. One major change we made was to reduce the size of our Waterkeeper jurisdiction to focus on waterways that share common characteristics. Ozark rivers and streams are beautiful but vulnerable due to porous karst geology and land uses prevalent across the Ozark Plateau. To prevent degradation, there must be more rigorous oversight.
We need eyes on the rivers to alert us to changes and looming threats. We need voices to speak for any waterway being negatively impacted by activities in the watershed. We need to hold public agencies accountable for enforcement of regulations. And we need YOU- the public- to help us by being water warriors for the rivers you love.
We work to protect the public health and natural resources of the Arkansas Ozarks through advocacy, education, and research into the threats and practices that impact its waterways.