Arkansas and Oklahoma will conduct a three-year study on water quality in the Illinois River watershed, Dustin McDaniel, Arkansas attorney general, said Wednesday (March 13).
The two states agreed to conduct a stressor response study to “determine the maximum phosphorus concentrations that can be present in the Illinois River without negatively affecting the water quality,” according to a news release from McDaniel.
“Exactly how we should be best managing those natural resources, if that comes from a mutually agreed upon best-scientific study available, then whatever actions have to be taken to comply with that everyone will feel confident that it’s based on science and not some arbitrary number,” McDaniel said.
The attorney general announced the agreement at a news conference in the Fayetteville City Administration Building. Also present were state Rep. David Whitaker, D-Fayetteville, J. Randy Young, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission director, Mike Malone of the Northwest Arkansas Council and Mayors Lioneld Jordan of Fayetteville, Greg Hines of Rogers and Doug Sprouse of Springdale.
McDaniel said Arkansas is working to secure $600,000 to help fund the study, which will be administered by the Arkansas-Oklahoma River Compact Commission.
He said the agreement, signed in February, came about after a year of negotiations between him and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The states will be bound by the results of the study, according to the news release.