Preparation for Conway Watershed Project Starts

Professors from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville are gathering data for developing a watershed management plan for 43 square miles including and surrounding the city of Conway.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $498,000 grant toward the project, which should end in 2015.

The federal grant requires $464,000 in locally matched funds. Conway, Faulkner County, the Village at Hendrix, the University of Central Arkansas and the Central Arkansas Planning & Development District have each committed either to contributing toward the match or developing green infrastructure projects or both.

Steve Luoni, a UA architecture professor, and Marty Matlock, UA professor of biological and agricultural engineering, are leading a team of ecological and civil engineers, regional planners, urban designers, architects and landscape architects to study the Little Creek and Palarm Creek sub-watershed and Lake Conway, and to develop the watershed management plan for the area.  

One goal of the UA project is to reduce sedimentation and pollution to improve the water quality of Lake Conway, which is on the EPA’s list of impaired water bodies, Luoni said.

Other project goals include studying how to remediate pollution in the area and demonstrating new techniques for building infrastructure with ecological components built into them. UCA’s planned combination public garden and parking lot is an example of included infrastructure work.

“We’re merging watershed stewardship to good urban design,” Luoni said.