West Fork – White River
nwa field office
44 n. school ave.
fayetteville, ar 72701
Connecting Local Residents
with elected leaders… with agency
Promoting Public Involvement
• as a resource for watershed
• by facilitating community
• providing a forum for public
discussion of water quality
• serving a broker of conservation restoration strategies for
private landowners, elected leaders and local government.
Facilitating Watershed Education
Audubon worked with the Wash. County Cooperative
Extension Service and the City of Fayetteville to create visual
distinctions between streams in our two local watersheds.
Audubon Arkansas will make these signs available upon
request to landowners in the coming quarter.
Supporting Applied Research
As a resource for
created a Technical
Advisory Group of
professors and agency
One of our first
projects is a
restoration on the U of
Promoting Sustainable Land
1. Riparian Zones
2. Wetland Areas
3. Bottomland Hardwoods
Riparian Zones -
The forested land along rivers, streams, and lakes is known as the
"riparian zone". Riparian comes from the Latin word ripa, which
means bank. Riparian zones are areas of transition between
aquatic and upland ecosystems, and they offer numerous, yet
often overlooked, benefits to wildlife and people. Only within the
past few decades have we come to realize the ecological value of
Although they comprise a small proportion of the
total landscape, they are among the most diverse
biological systems on earth , and they perform
important services to people which no amount of
human effort and technology can do as well. As
our population increases, there will be increased
pressures to use riparian areas for a variety of
commercial and recreational purposes. It is vital
that we all become involved in the conservation
and restoration of these areas.
Wetland Areas -
In order to determine if a wetland
is “worth” anything, we must first
determine it’s “value”.
Historically wetlands were
thought to be of little value and
were viewed by many people as mosquito infested swamps that
stood in the way of man’s progress. Many of the nation’s
wetlands were located in fertile river valleys and were drained
by landowners to create more agricultural land along rivers and
streams. At the time it seemed that wetland areas served no real
purpose and that agricultural land was of greater value than
wetlands. It was easy to see the agricultural value of these rich
and fertile bottomland soils by the crops they produced.
It was not so easy to see the values of wetlands.
Bottomland Hardwoods –
Bottomland Hardwoods serve a critical role in the
watershed by reducing the risk and severity of
flooding to downstream communities by providing
areas to store floodwater. In addition, these wetlands
improve water quality by filtering and flushing
nutrients, processing organic wastes, and reducing
sediment before it reaches open water.
Two hundred years ago, magnificent
bottomland forests covered almost thirty
million acres across the Southeastern
United States. Today, only about
forty percent of that area still supports
these productive and unique ecosystems.
What is a
A conservation easement is a legal means by which a
landowner can voluntarily set permanent limitations on the
future use of the land, thus protecting the land's natural
Through an easement, the owner conveys to the
easement-holder the right to prevent certain uses of the
land in the future or to use it for specific purposes.
Basic Elements of a
The responsibilities and rewards of ownership continue,
and, the landowner retains full control over public access
just as s/he did before granting the easement.
This widely popular method has been used to protect
open space, farms, wildlife areas, forests, watersheds,
national parks, ocean frontage, and rare places all over the
Conservation Benefits -
* Riparian buffer zones are among the most effective
measures for protecting surface waters and preventing water
quality problems in streams and lakes.
* Buffer zones primarily function as a trap for eroded
sediments while also facilitating the uptake of run-off
* A recent study by the US DA and the University of
Georgia found that riparian buffers can retain or remove over
60 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus from adjoining land.
* Buffer zones slow the movement of water and facilitate the
recharge of groundwater.
Landowner Benefits –
* The attraction of the conservation easement lies in the
fact that the land remains in private ownership.
* The owner may use, sell, lease or convey the land
subject to the explicit terms of the easement, because
neither the title nor right to possession of the land is given
up by the agreement.
* Tax benefits, ranging from potential income tax
deductions, estate tax reduction, and/or capital gains tax
Pilot Program Goals –
* Establish 3 WF-WR Riparian Conservation Agreement pilot
projects with eligible landowners in the next year;
* Establish one or more stream bank restoration projects in the
next year by working with proven experts in this field of
conservation such as the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission, the University of Arkansas and the ADEQ;
* Involve community members in a broad-target watershed
education campaign, which making watershed maps, installing
watershed signage at community parks and producing WF-WR
specific outreach materials.
Program Goals –
* Expanded easement enrollment from 3 pilot landowners
to 5, for a total of eight at the end of two years time;
* Conducting an expanded conservation easement clinic for
watershed landowners who would like to learn how
to write/maintain their own conservation easements (this
option isn't tax deductible but it would give those folks who don't feel
comfortable with third party land arrangements an option to participate ).
* Writing and publishing an Upper White River Basin
watershed monthly column for the “White River Valley News",
a weekly newspaper, which publishes to a target audience
in the Goshen, Elkins, Greenland, West Fork and Winslow
Example of Conservation Menu Options
Protection Description Results Income tax Estate
Option deduction tax
Legal agreement between Land's conservation values
Conservation a landowner and a land protected by organization.
trust permanently limiting Owner continues to own, Yes Yes
a property's uses. use, live on land.
Outright Land Land is donated to land Organization owns and Yes Yes
Donation trust. protects land.**
Interests in land are Organization owns and
Donation of donated to land trust over protects land.** Income tax Yes Yes
several years. Landowner deductions spread over
still shares the ownership. several years.
Donation of Land is donated to land Organization owns and No Yes
Land by Will trust or agency at death. protects land.**
Donation of Land is donated to land Organization owns and
Land With trust, but owner (or other protects land during owners Yes Yes
designated) continue to and successors life and
live there, usually until afterwards
Land is donated to land Donor receives an income
Charitable Gift trust and sold subject to a annuity for life. Yes Yes
Annuity conservation easement.
Land is sold to land trust Organization owns and
Bargain Sale or agency for a price below protects land. Yes Yes
of Land fair market value.
Land is leased for a special Development postponed.
number of years to a land
Lease trust or individual, with No No
restrictions placed on how
it can be used.
A group of landowners Can be nullified by
Mutual agree to restrictions on subsequent agreement of
their land use. May not owners. No No
involve a conservation
Heritage West NWA Field Office
201 E. Markham St. 44 N. School Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201 Fayetteville, AR 72701