NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — The forests, fields and yards that border Beaver Lake are the focus of Lake Smart, a multiagency program to help maintain the reservoir’s water quality.
Lake Smart educates people who own land along the lake to protect the reservoir through beneficial land use. Beaver Lake is the drinking water source for most of Northwest Arkansas and beyond.
Beaver Water District, Washington County extension office, Association for Beaver Lake Environment and the Army Corps of Engineers teamed up for the program.
Washington County extension agent Katie Teague said Lake Smart teaches lakeside residents how to properly use fertilizer, maintain septic systems, do landscaping and more to benefit the lake.
“The ultimate goal is that they’re protecting the lake they love,” Teague said.
A small group of landowners took part in a pilot program last year. Agencies are now recruiting more Lake Smart leaders to hold seminars in their neighborhoods demonstrating proper land-use techinques.
The free seminars should begin later this summer, Teague said. Participants see an interactive DVD program featuring area water-quality professionals. They also receive a guide with tips on being good stewards of their Beaver Lake property.
Seminars last four hours and will be held during two evenings or one Saturday.
A training program for Lake Smart leaders is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Avoca fire station.
Bob Morgan with the Beaver Water District said the Lake Smart program is modeled after a similar program in Maine. He heard about it at a water quality seminar in Chicago and brought the concept here.
“I think it’s neat because people are talking to their peers and it’s not someone from the Beaver Water District preaching to them,” Morgan said.
Interested lakeside landowners can get involved with Lake Smart by calling Jane Maginot at the Washington County extension office, 479-444-1755 or send her e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.