Friday, August 7, 2009

AWAG Hires New Staff!

The Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group assists interested
citizens and organizations by promoting local voluntary approaches
to watershed management and conservation.

I am very pleased that ADEQ is reviving AWAG. AWAG has been a partnership between state and federal water related agencies and budding watershed protection groups. They have been instrumental in helping Friends get going, but the loss of Ellen McNulty had left the future of this effort in doubt. They have produced some excellent conferences as well.

If you've delved into Arkansas water regulation, you know it is an inpenetrable maze of agencies and regulations. Without the personal committment of leaders from these agencies, it would be impossible for citizens to understand where to start.

Kate has been keeping the effort alive for the last year. Sarah has been a passionate, self motivated and knowledgable advocate for water protection and a tremendous partner with Friends. We look forward to working with them both.

Thanks go to Teresa Marks for her efforts in keeping this alive.

AWAG also has an excellent web site.

Here's the announcement letter.

August 6, 2009
Dear AWAG members,

I am writing you today to inform you of some exciting and new changes at ADEQ and for
AWAG. ADEQ has hired new staff to work with citizens, watershed groups, state and federal agencies, and fellow environmental groups. Our staff consists of: Sarah R. DeVries, as the Environmental Program Coordinator and Ecologist Kate Finefield. Some of you may have already been acquainted with them in their previous endeavors. In addition, the AWAG staff also works closely with Arkansas Project WET coordinators, Philip Osborne and Barbara Miller.

Kate joined the AWAG team in August of 2008, leaving a field ecologist position with the
Arkansas Department of Natural Heritage. Kate received her B.S. in Biology from the
University of Arkansas at Little Rock in May 2007. She has worked with various agencies
including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Audubon Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H Center. Kate’s past experience includes assisting with control burns, wetland education, watershed mapping, and a variety of environmental education activities. You may have received email updates and/or AWAG newsletters from Kate over the last few months.

Our newest team member is Sarah R. DeVries. Mrs. DeVries has worked the last four years as the Source Water Protection Technician for the Arkansas Rural Water Association and has served as an AWAG member during that time. Sarah worked with communities to create and implement source water protection plans. She involved the public, agriculture and civic groups to work together to minimize non-point source pollution on a sub-watershed scale. In addition,
Sarah has worked for the Arkansas Department of Health as a Pollution Control Inspector, an Engineer Aide for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, an Alternative Energy Store, a seasonal Park Interpreter for Arkansas State Parks, and a myriad of environmental education jobs.

We are pleased to have these two dedicated and well-qualified individuals to join ADEQ and to work with our veteran staff Philip Osborne and Barbara Miller. Please feel free to contact Sarah DeVries at or Kate Finefield at

Sarah Clem
ADEQ Branch Manager
Ph: (501)682-0660
E- mail:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Planning Session for Central Arkansas Water Forum - Aug 11

Dear Friends,

Please join us on Tuesday, August 11th at 4pm at Lilly's Dim Sum meeting room in Little Rock to share your thoughts and advice on how a public forum on Water in Central Arkansas might be able to support your efforts as a leader on water issues as well as help encourage better water policy from state leaders.

The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Policy Panel are collaborating on a project to build awareness of critical water issues across Arkansas in anticipation of a new state water plan.

The purpose of our meeting August 11th is to plan a public forum on water with you and other Central Arkansas leaders to be held in Conway later this summer/fall. We need your input on how we can be most helpful in supporting the ongoing work and issues in Central Arkansas.
We want to make sure that our efforts are complementary and helpful to yours. We want this effort to inform and advance new state policy to better manage our water resources, but also help advance some of your goals. Arkansas faces a variety of enormous challenges to providing enough clean water for people and wildlife, a sustainable water future. We are holding similar meetings in other parts of the state as well.

Planning Session for Central Arkansas Water Forum
Tuesday, August 11, 4pm
Lilly's Dim Sum meeting room
11121 N Rodney Parham Rd # 34B
We will have refreshments and expect the meeting to last no more than 2 hours.

Lilly's is just West of I-430 at the Rodney Parham exit, in the Market Place Shopping Center. Here's a link to google maps where you can also get directions. Lilly's phone number is (501) 716-2700‎.

TNC, Audubon Arkansas and the Panel, will be holding a number of forums around the state over the course of the next nine months to:
  • educate people about water issues in their region and across the state;
  • listen and learn from participants so we can define concerns, questions, and water policy goals of citizens;
  • recruit people to participate in a follow up in-depth workshop on water issues
  • facing Arkansas; and
  • develop a core group of leaders interested in working with us on state water policy issues.
Please join us August 11th to help us plan a water forum for Central Arkansas.
Please RSVP to Bill Kopsky at, or 501-376-7913 x 12, or call if you have any questions or comments.
We hope to see you on August 11th and to learn more about your work. Thank you.
- Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy Panel
- Tim Snell, The Nature Conservancy
- Ken Smith, Audubon Arkansas
PS: Please let us know if there are others who you think should be invited to this early planning meeting. Thanks!!
Bill Kopsky
Executive Director
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel
1308 West Second Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
501-376-7913 x 12
fax: 374-3935
The Panel is a 501(c)(3) putting the PUBLIC back in Arkansas public policy since 1963.
Organize to win.