USDA, Arkansas Target Pollution of Illinois River

Little Rock, Ark – Officials say nutrients, bacteria and sediment in the Illinois River watershed of northwest Arkansas will be targeted for reduction by a new partnership of state and federal agencies.

Nutrients, bacteria and sediment are at the heart of a court dispute between Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The federal Agriculture Department said in a news release that its Commodity Credit Corporation and the state of Arkansas had entered into a new Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program agreement.

The agreement calls for voluntary construction of buffers along stream banks and filter strips on 15,000 acres of marginal pastureland and cropland by landowners.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson sued 13 Arkansas-based poultry companies in 2005, claiming that they were polluting Oklahoma waters by spreading poultry waste on land in the Illinois watershed. The Illinois River rises in Arkansas and flows west into Oklahoma.