Past Annual Conferences

2014 Restoration of Our Rivers Conference

Thursday and Friday: October 2 -3, 2014
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

8:30 am Registration in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges
9:00 am Welcome – Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin
9:15 am Session 1 – “Is Cattle Production a Wise Use of our Limited Natural Resources?
  Dr. Gary E. Sides, Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Zoetis
10:10 am Break
10:30 am Session 2 – “Restoration and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources on Watershed Scale”
  Mike Sullivan, Arkansas State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
11:15 am Session 3 – “Collective Impact Approach to Watershed-scale Change”
  Dr. Susan B. Thomas, Executive Director, Texoma Council of Governments
12:00 pm Luncheon
12:20 pm Keynote Speaker – The Honorable Justice Lavenski R. Smith, U.S. 8th Circuit Court. A lifelongArkansan, Justice Smith is a native of Hope, a graduate of Hope High School, and holds a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Arkansas.Smith was nominated to the 8th Circuit court by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2002.
1:15 pm Session 4 – Conservation and Watershed-Scale Impact
  Mike Sullivan, Arkansas State Conservationist, USDA NRCS
  Gary O’Neill, Oklahoma State Conservationist, USDA NRCS
2:15 pm Session 5 – Conservation and the Farmers’ Perspective
  Dr. Bob Young, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
  Panel of local Agricultural Producers: Susan Anglin, Gene Pharr, Cassie Davis, Jerry Hunton  
3:15 pm Break
3:30 pm Session 6 – Conservation Using Low-Impact Development
  Dr. Jason Vogel, Stormwater Specialist, Oklahoma State University
4:00 pm Illinois River Salon Art Show and Tours of Crystal Bridges Museum and Trails
6:00 pm Annual Golden Paddle Awards and Illinois River Art Salon Winners judged by Manuela Well-Off-Man, Curator Crystal Bridges
  Friday: October 3, 2014
  Crystal Bridges Great Hall
9:00 am Session 7 – Building Strong Partnerships Locally, Nationally, Globally
  U.S. Congressman Steve Womack, AR District 3
9:30 am Session 8 – From Rivers to Riches: How rivers can create economic sustainability through outdoor recreation and ecotourism
  Geralyn Hoey, National Wildlife Federation
10:15 am Break
10:30 am Session 9 – Conservation and the Role of Land Trusts

Panel Led by Moderator: Chuck Roe, Director, Southeast U.S. Program, Land Trust Alliance

Tim Snell, Director of Water Resources, The Nature Conservancy Arkansas

Terri Lane, Director, NWA Land Trust and Peggy Horner, Ozark Regional Land Trust 

11:30 am Closing Challenge: Growing Conservation in the Illinois River Watershed – Dr. Delia Haak, IRWP
11:45 am Adjourn
12:00 pm Optional: Bus Tour of the Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center and the new Siloam Springs Whitewater Recreation Park on the Illinois River (includes box lunch and transportation)
4:30 pm Return to Crystal Bridges Museum

This workshop is approved for 10 Continuing Education Units through the Arkansas Department of Education. 




2013 Restoration of Our Rivers Conference

In 2013, September 30-October 4 was full of education and demonstration projects as part of the 2013 Restoration of Our Rivers conference held at Crystal Bridges Museum. The week began with Enviro-Cert and IRWP offering four courses in Stormwater Certification with 16 individuals taking stormwater exams for further certifications.  40 participants, including 2 students from Tyson Middle School, attended the Rain Garden Academy and received instructions on how to apply for a grant through the Rain Garden Project and how to build a rain garden at their designated sites in both the Illinois River and Beaver Lake Watersheds.

These technical skills workshops preceded the annual conference which featured over 20 experts sharing practical tools and demonstrations of river and watershed restorations nationally and regionally, from Portland, OR to Boston, MA and across Arkansas and Oklahoma.  You can learn and share these presentations from our speakers.   

Session 1 - The Restoration of Our Rivers: Land Use Impacts

      Dr. Delia Haak, Executive Director, Illinois River Watershed Partnership

Session 2 - A Long-Term, Collective Impact Approach to Watershed-scale Change

     Todd Reeve, CEO Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Portland, Oregon
     Holly Powers, Program Officer, The Russell Family Foundation, Gig Harbor, Washington 

Session 3 - Parks, Open Space and Conservation Land Use Development
     Donald H. Brandes, Jr, Vice President, Matrix Design Group, Inc., Denver, Colorado
     Tom Martin, President, ConsultEcon, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

Session 4 – Dynamic Clean Water Practices
     Richard S. Davis, Principal, Attorney, Beveridge & Diamond P.C. Washington, D.C.

Keynote Speaker - “Clean Energy and Our Economic Future”
      Bill Ritter, Jr., Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State
      University, Fort Collins, Colorado and former Governor State of Colorado

Session 5 – “River Restoration:  A Wicked Problem”
Moderator: Mark Goldsmith, Senior Director, Stormwater Compliance, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 

                   Panel:     Jonathan E. Jones, CEO, Wright Water Engineers, Denver, CO
                   Richard S. Davis, Principal, Attorney, Beveridge & Diamond P.C. Washington, D.C.
                   Dr. Kent Thornton, Principal, Systems Ecologist, FTN Associates, Little Rock, AR
                   Janette Monear, CEO, Texas Trees Foundation, Dallas, TX

Session 6 – Urban and Mixed Use Development
     Marcus M. Quigley, Geosyntec, Brookline, MA

Session 7 – Illinois River Conservation Project
Dr. Greg Jennings, Sr Water Engineer, Stantec, Inc & Shanon Phillips, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Director, Water Quality Division

Session 8 – Crystal Bridges Museum – Nature and Art
     Scott Eccleston, Director of Grounds and Facilities for Crystal Bridges Museum

Session 9 – Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Practices    

Dr. Andrew Sharpley, University of Arkansas and Dr. Josh Payne, Oklahoma State University

Session 10 – Smart Growth and Sustainable Urban Applications   

Patti Erwin, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Urban & Community Forestry; Sarah Wrede, City of Fayetteville; Bill Robison, City of Tulsa



2012 Restoration of Our Rivers Conference


The 2012 annual conference hosted by the IRWP, the "Restoration of Our Rivers: A National and a Regional Perspective on Urban Stormwater" was held October 4-5, 2012 at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville.  The conference provided national perspectives on regulatory, planning and economic measures that improve water quality. On the regional scale, the conference provided examples of water quality and stormwater management issues unique to  Northwest ArkansasAcross the United States our rivers and stormwater systems are being impacted by a variety of natural and physical (man-made) issues that Federal, state and local governments attempt to manage, regulate and improve for future generations to use and enjoy in the midst of declining public revenues and resources. The restoration of our natural and man-made water systems is an imperatative that all Federal, state, and local officials, property owners, agri-business and others have a practical and financial interest. We were honored to hold the conference at the internationally acclaimed “Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art” as an excellent example of urban restoration and enhancement of 120 acre campus of art, environmental science and exploration located in Bentonville, Arkansas. 

Special Guest Appearances:  Mayor of Bentonville Bob McCaslin; Congressman Steve Womack, US House of Representatives 3rd District Arkansas; Mark S. Goldsmith, Sr. Director, Walmart Stormwater Compliance

Download Oct 4-5, 2012 Conference Brochure and Agenda   

Thank you to Patti Erwin, Urban Forestry Coordinator, for Conference Scholarhips that were supported in part by the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Urban Forestry Program and the U. S. Forest Service.

Download presentation by Mark S. Goldsmith, Sr. Director, Walmart Stormwater Compliance 

Download presentation on Water Quality, Urban Stormwater and Riverfront Restoration by Donald H. Brandes, Jr., RLA, Vice President, Matrix Design Group Inc. and Jonathan Jones, P.E. Wright Water Engineers

Download presentation on Greenway Planning and Design – The Razorback Greenway & Trail Corridor by Chuck Flink, RLA, Alta Greenways

Download presentation on Crystal Bridges Museum Vision – Nature and Art by Scott Eccleston, Director, Crystal Bridges Grounds and Trails

Download presentation on Northwest Arkansas Water Quality Issues – Past and Emerging Environmental and Engineering Issues. Regional Case Study: City of Rogers, Arkansas by Jonathan Jones, P.E.; Wright Water Engineers and Tom Hopper, Chairman, Crafton Tull

Download presentations on Case Studies and Implementation Methods and Techniques for River Restoration Projects – National and Regional Perspectives by Donald H. Brandes, Jr., RLA: Matrix Design Group, IncSandi Formica, Executive Director, Watershed Conservation Resource CenterDr. Robert Morgan, Environmental Manager, Beaver Water District; Ethan Inlander, Ozark Rivers Program Director, The Nature Conservancy 

Download presentation on Rain Gardens for Urban Stormwater Management by Becky Roark, IRWP Rain Garden Resource Specialist

Download presentation on Streambank Restoration for Urban Stormwater by Matt VanEps, Watershed Conservation Resource Center 

Download presentation on Engaging Stakeholders and Recruiting Volunteers, Partners and Sponsors by Roland Pinault, Walmart Information Systems Division

2011 Four-State Watersched Academy - Sept. 29 - 30, 2011 

The 4-State Watershed Academy, September 29-30, 2011 provided a new and exciting opportunity for legislators, state agencies, watershed groups, and concerned citizens to learn about water quality while networking with counterparts from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  Below is the agenda from the 2011 Academy which met at the Cherokee Casino Hotel and Conference Center in West Siloam Springs, OK.  Check out the speaker presentations from many of the sessions. 

Download 4-State Watershed Academy Agenda

Download Dr. Greg Jennings' presentation - "Watershed Wise: Working Toward Solutions"

Download Dr. Andrew Sharpley's presentation - "Nutrients and Water Quality"

Download Professor Taiawagi Helton's presentation - "Tribal Water Rights and State Systems"

Download Tom Stiles' presentation- "Kansas Total Maximum Daily Loads and Watershed Planning"

Download Dr. Josh Payne's presentation -  "Current Nutrient Management Strategies for Poultry Production"

Download Dr. Hailin Zhang's presentation - "Improving Nutrient Management for Lawn, Gardens, Parks and Golf Courses to Protect Water Quality"
Download Dr. Mike Daniels' presentation - "Reducing Nutrient Loads from Livestock Operations"

Download Dr. Josh Roe's presentation - "Introduction to Nine Element Watershed Planning"