The Arkansas River is the economic lifeblood of many Coloradans. As one of the largest river basins in the state, it is quite the “workhorse” as far as rivers and the many competing interests are concerned. Its flows provide water for a broad diversity of agriculture, municipalities, recreationists, wildlife and industry uses. However, decades of utilizing the state’s most important resource have taken a toll on “The Ark”. Changes in water rights, non-point source and point source pollution have had cumulative effects on water quality and further impact the uses of Arkansas River water. Concentrations of selenium and nutrients have become more prevalent and the economic impact from these pollutants may affect producers’ bottom lines.
In 2012 the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission adopted Regulation 85 to address nutrient pollutant levels in rivers and lakes throughout the state, including the Arkansas. Regulation 85 requests implementation of voluntary best management practices to reduce non-point sources of nutrients before 2022 at which point there will be an evaluation of progress made and the potential need to adopt control regulations for agricultural practices. For more information on Regulation 85 visit the -
Fortunately, there are Federal and State resources available to assist agricultural producers in meeting water quality goals. Your Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District office can help guide you with a plan and availability of technical and financial assistance.
"Water Quality as a Component of the Colorado Water Plan & What Are We Facing in the Arkansas Basin"
Mr. John Stulp, Special Policy Advisor to the Governor for Water
Panel 1 - Lessons from the Field
Highlights of Best Management Practices to improve water quality in the lower Arkansas River
Moderator: Ms. Carol Ekarius, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative
Mr. Phillip Chavez, Diamond A
“Voluntary Incentives and MarketValues”
Mr. Clint Evans, State Conservationist, Colorado Office of the Natural Resource Conservation Service
Panel 2 – Water Quality is a Bottom Line Issue
Changes in water rights, non-point source and point source pollution have cumulative effects on water quality and impact the use of Arkansas River water. Concentrations of selenium and nutrients have an economic impact.
Moderator: Dr. Lorenz Sutherland, Natural Resource Conservation Service (retired)
Dr. Jonathan Aguilar, Kansas State University - Pending formal review
Ms. Cindy Lair, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture
Panel 3 – Real Solutions
Water quality concerns are complex. Let’s take a look at innovative as well as more traditional opportunities that can realistically be applied to impact water quality in the Arkansas Valley.
Moderator: Ms. Cindy Schleining, Natural Resource Conservation Service
Wrap-up and Closing Comments
Casey Davenhill, Colorado Watershed Assembly, Lydia Hooper, Fountain Communications