Buffalo River 

"Arkansas' Gift to the Nation, America's Gift to the World" - Jimmy Driftwood
Advocates to Protect the Buffalo National River Watershed

Why Do We Need to Save the Buffalo River, Again?

The "Save the Buffalo - Again" campaign is necessary because, in 2012, an industrial scale hog facility was built on the banks of Big Creek, just 5 miles upstream from the Buffalo National River. Government oversight of this development was deeply flawed and it now threatens to destroy the fragile ecosystem of our nation's first National River. (more)

Donate now We need you more than ever.

Mail: BRWA, P.O. Box 101, Jasper, AR 72641

Read a brief history of the Buffalo on The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

Read the BRWA brochure

Recent BRWA Newsletters 2018   Jan   Feb  March  April/May  June/July  August September

Another (yes, ANOTHER!) comment period as ADEQ reissues its draft decision to deny C&H a permit. The Statement of Basis provides its justification. BRWA fully supports this decision and our Draft comments can be found here. Submit your comments to ADEQ here.

This little piggy went to market...and everything changed.   Read this excellent article in The Fern by a recovered hog contract grower.  Aug. 1, 2018

ADEQ releases 2018 Draft List of Impaired Waterbodies (303d List). Public comment period ended Sept. 10.  All submitted comments may be found here.  

Tourism to Buffalo National River Creates $71.1 Million in Economic Benefits in 2017. Read more here

Follow the status of the C&H appeal before the APC&E Commission here. Click on "C&H Hog Farms" to open a list of all filings.

Follow the Circuit Court filings regarding C&H's appeal of APC&EC's decision on their Regulation 6 permit coverage. Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to filings.

On Sept. 7, 2018, C&H filed another appeal in Circuit Court, arguing that the Commission should have reversed the permit denial when it remanded the decision back to ADEQ for another comment period. Read those court filings here.

C&H applies for yet ANOTHER permit, this time a Reg. 6 Individual permit. Read the Permit Information here. Meanwhile, their Reg 5 appeal described above continues.

A summary report on a January 2018 meeting of science advisors.

C&H 2017 Annual Report, showing 687,000 gallons of waste was "transferred to another person", that being EC Farms.

APC&E Notice of Hearing on C&H Appeal, set for August 6-8. Feb.9, 2018

BRWA Press Release on C&H Request for a Stay, issued January 16, 2018.

BRWA Response to Motion for Stay, filed January 17, 2018

ADEQ DENIES C&H PERMIT January 10, 2018

C&H files Motion for Stay, January 11, 2018

C&H responds to deadline for submitting supplemental information to ADEQ for technical review of its permit application. See postings including ADEQ responses here. January 3, 2018

C&H submits partial response to ADEQ's request for supplemental information and asks for a 90-day extension to complete. ADEQ grants only a 10-day extension until December 29, 2017. See documents posted here from 12/6-12/14/2017

The Buffalo National River is featured during November on American River's 2017 Most Endangered Rivers List, with a blog by our friend Lin Wellford, "Saving the Buffalo River for Future Generations"

Unpermitted hog CAFO in Buffalo watershed, Sanders Farm, found in violation of state law:
Citizen's Complaint, July 16, 2017
Inspection Report, October 25, 2017
Court Order, Nov 7, 2017
Court Order/Permanent Injunction allowing Sanders to continue operations. Feb. 5, 2018
Agreed Order, imposing a fine and conditions but allowing Sanders Farm to operate without a permit, June 4, 2018

Buffalo River Watershed Management Plan Recommendations were presented at a meeting in Jasper on Oct 12. The draft plan may be useful to landowners, communities, and organizations interested in improving water quality on the Buffalo River tributaries listed in the plan.  Everyone should understand that this report has nothing to do with the CAFO problem on Big Creek.

Letter to ADEQ from BRWA attorney requesting copies of C&H responses to Sept. 19 letter (below) and the opportunity for public comment on any new information provided. Oct 2, 2017.

ADEQ letter requesting more information from C&H to complete review of their Reg 5 permit application. Sept.19, 2017 

BRWA submits data to ADEQ in response to its request for outside data for inclusion in its 2018 biennial Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. See the "Data" section of the KHBNR page. July 31, 2017

Press Release and Review of Arkansas Water Quality from 2008 to 2016 by White River Waterkeeper, Jessie Green, refuting Gov. Hutchinson's press release that 76% of Arkansas streams had improved since 2008. July 23, 2017

EPA Letter approving ADEQ's 303(d) list for the periods 2008-2016. July 19, 2017 In spite of data showing elevated E. coli and low dissolved oxygen levels in Big Creek, and concerns expressed by NPS, USGS and many private citizens, EPA approved ADEQ's determination that Big Creek was not impaired because there was insufficient data. 

2016 Final 303(d) List and Report

Read this note to supporters from Mike Masterson

Take a video tour of the Buffalo National River Water Quality Lab

 White River Waterkeeper announced May 4, 2017

Buffalo among nation's Most Endangered Rivers. Read about it here

Waterkeepers et al vs EPA, Ruling by the US Court of Appeals, April 11, 2017. This important ruling vacates the EPA Final Rule which exempts farms from reporting emissions and now requires CAFOs to notify authorities when large quantities of hazardous materials (such as ammonia or hydrogen sulfide) are released into the environment. 

Appendices to comments
Read other's comments here
Read expert reports here

BRWA Press Release with preliminary comments on C&H permit, March 1, 2017

Report Released: Permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Assessment Buffalo National River, Arkansas, David N. Mott November 2016 Released March 15, 2017.

BRWA Requests 20-day Extension of Comment Period, March 14, 2017

ADEQ Question and Answer Session on C&H Hog Farm Permit, (Youtube video )immediately preceding the formal permit hearing below, Jasper AR, March 7, 2017
- C&H Hog Farm Permit Hearing - (Youtube video) Jasper, AR March 7, 2017

Public Notice of 30-Day Comment Period on draft approval of C&H Reg 5 permit. (Link includes draft permit.) A public hearing will be held in Jasper on March 7 and the comment period closes on March 17. Please send copies of your comments to BRWA and we will post them here.

Buffalo National River Water Quality Report, 1985-2011, Watershed Conservation Resource Center, Sandi Formica, Director. March 9, 2017.

Request for Oral Arguments regarding the EC Farms Permit Appeal, scheduled before the APC&E Commission on Friday, January 27, 9 am.

USGS Presentation: An Evaluation Of Continuous Monitoring Data For Assessing Dissolved Oxygen In The Boston Mountains. This report shows that Big Creek  exceeded the ADEQ standard of 10% of DO less than 6 micrograms/liter during the period of record (2015)

Final Drilling Study Report

BRWA Press Release on Drilling Report, Dec. 16, 2016

BRWA Questions to ADEQ regarding drilling report, Dec. 15, 2016

Drilling Investigation

Harbor Environmental and Safety presented the results from its drilling study at C&H Hog Farms December 1, 2016, in a briefing with ADEQ, which was open to the public. However, questions were not allowed at the presentation and the public was directed instead to submit questions in writing to ADEQ by December 16, 2016. ADEQ reportedly will answer questions and will make an announcement regarding its conclusions following the completion of the review of the final report. See BRWA's questions linked above. Other questions from the public may be found under Stakeholder Comments.

EC Farms Permit Appeals Follow the progress of the 3 appeals by clicking on the docket for Nancy Haller. The APC&E Administrative Law Judge is currently reviewing motions and testimony and will make a decision and issue an Order at the January 27 Commission meeting.

Recommended Decision of Administrative Law Judge remanding EC permit back to ADEQ for assignment of a separate permit. January 5, 2017  

Governor Asa Hutchinson announces Buffalo River Action Committee       Youtube video 9/30/2016

Governor's Directive for Beautiful Buffalo River Initiative (BBRI) "To address water quality concerns throughout the watershed and ensure the Buffalo National River maintains all designated uses"  Sept 30, 2016

BCRET July-Sept, 2016 Quarterly Report

BRWA comments on proposed revisions to Regulation 6. October 17, 2016

ADEQ 2018 Assessment Methodology Review website for reviewing criteria for 303d List of Impaired Streams, Nov.3, 2016

BRWA comments to ADEQ on 2018 Assessment Methodology for determining impairment of Arkansas streams, October 30, 2016

Ozark River Stewards comments on Assessment Methodology, supported by BRWA. October 30, 2016

All public comments submitted to ADEQ on Reg 6 Revisions

Isaak Walton League Gives Arkansas a D+ for Water Quality

BRWA Poster


Following revelations by BRWA in April, 2016, ADEQ agreed to perform investigative drilling around the C&H swine waste ponds to determine if, as suggested by ERI results, the ponds are leaking. Below are related documents in chronological order. Also see the ERI section of the Documents page for more. Drilling was completed on September 26.

Read Comments on drilling plan.

APRIL 29: BRWA alerts APC&E Commission to ERI data which indicates possible fracture and release of waste beneath C&H waste ponds. See the Powerpoint presentation here and the accompanying narrative here with expert opinions. 

May 4: PRESS RELEASE regarding ERI data.

May 23: BRWA Letter to ADEQ asking that installation of synthetic pond liners be delayed until confirmatory drilling can be done to determine the validity of ERI results referenced above. This letter was also provided to APC&E Commissioners  by BRWA attorney Richard Mays at the May 26, 2016 meeting.

June 23ADEQ Press Release announcing plan to further investigate ERI data from C&H waste ponds.

June 24: PRESS CONFERENCE ADVISORY, by BRWA and Coalition at ADEQ Headquarters following Commission meeting.

June 29BRWA Letter to ADEQ as followup to confirm ADEQ assertion to include BRWA in independent ERI investigations around C&H waste pounds. 

July 8: Representatives of BRWA and the Buffalo River Coalition met with ADEQ officials at offices of Attorney Richard Mays to discuss plans for an independent investigation of possible leakage of the C&H swine waste lagoons as was indicated by electrical resistivity imaging conducted in early 2015.

July 8ADEQ Powerpoint presentation to BRWA and the Coalition at above meeting describing proposal for independent investigative drilling.

July 11: Bert Fisher letter to ADEQ with recommendations for drilling.

July 12BRWA and Coalition Followup Letter to ADEQ in response to July 8 meeting. 

July 28: BRWA and Coalition 2nd followup letter to ADEQ regarding workplan for drilling. 

August 2: ADEQ Webpage posted on C&H Pond Integrity Investigation. Includes the Draft Workplan

Read Comments on drilling workplan.

August 4Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition objecting to presence of two BCRET as observers during well drilling while disallowing BRWA's recommended observer, Dr Bert Fisher. 

August 4: 2nd Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition providing comments on technical aspects of the Draft Workplan. 

August 5: ADEQ announces drilling scheduled for August 8 will be delayed, pending availability of drill rig.


seeking hearing on investigative drilling at C&H. 

August 26: Final Drilling Workplan is posted.

Sept. 2: BRWA withdraws injunction

Sept. 2: ADEQ issues C&H Hog Farm a Notice of Technical Incompleteness due to C&H sudden refusal to allow drilling to proceed.

Sept. 6: BRWA letter to ADEQ reiterating request for multiple bore holes and referencing 2014 Expert Review Panel recommendations re: pond leakage. 

Sept. 7: C&H agrees to allow drilling to proceed at state's expense with drilling date of Sept 19.

Sept. 12: BRWA and Coalition ask EPA to be present during investigative drilling.

Sept 21: Drilling begins. See daily updates here

Sept. 23: Drilling is completed and borehole is filled with cement, although a "void" at 25 feet deep makes it difficult and cementing is not completed until Sept. 26. See the Observation Logs here. Director Keogh states that the Final Report will not be made available to the public until January, 2017.

Sept. 29: ADEQ press release announcing completion of drilling

More to come!


Water analysis results. This document includes a map of numerous sampling locations along Big Creek,from upstream of C&H to the confluence with the Buffalo. The results are suggestive of nutrient loading in the vicinity of the hog factory.

Downstream People - A Documentary, a movie trailer for an upcoming documentary about C&H and its effect on the community. July 23, 2016

BCRET Quarterly Report, July 22, 2016

ADEQ Approves EC Farms request to spread C&H waste on additional fields, including in the watersheds of the Little Buffalo and Hurricane Creek. June 30, 2016. Several individuals have appealed this decision.

BRWA requests public hearing on administrative completeness of C&H application to switch to a Reg. 5 permit. June 3, 2016

ADEQ denies above request for a public hearing on administrative completeness, Sept. 26, 2016

 ADEQ decides not to renew ARG590000, the Reg 6 General permit for swine CAFOs. Read the press release here, April 28, 2016. Read ADEQ's official decision not to renew and responses to 130 comments here.

C&H applies to switch from its current Regulation 6 NPDES (Federal) General Permit to a Regulation 5 (State) Individual Permit. Read the Application Packet  here. April 4, 2016

ADEQ issues letter of administrative completeness stating that C&H's reg 5 permit application contains all of the necessary forms and documents.May 25, 2016. This will be followed by a technical review and 30-day public comment period within 90 days.

BRWA requests public hearing on administrative completeness of C&H Reg 5 application, June 3, 2016

ADEQ denies above request for a public hearing on administrative completeness, Sept. 26, 2016

Hearing Was Held April 14
Notice of Draft Renewal Permit and Public Hearing NPDES General Permit ARG590000 for Eligible Operators of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) within the State of Arkansas To read document click here.
 Read BRWA's comments here. Read all public comments here

Hearing Was Held APRIL 11
Read BRWA's Draft Comments here


Karst Hydrogeology of the Buffalo National River (KHBNR) is a project sponsored by BRWA and funded by Patagonia. See the brochure here.

The public comment period for the 2016 draft 303(d) list of impaired streams closed on March 16, 2016. Click here to read ADEQ's public notice. Read BRWA and others' comments here. Read BRWA/Coalition presentation to the Arkansas legislative committee meeting, March 29, 2016 here
Final 303(d) Reports are posted here, April 6, 2016. See the "305b Integrated Report" for comprehensive details.

NPS letter, March 25, 2016 recommending 303(d) Impaired status for Big Creek based on analysis of BCRET E. coli data.

Rapping' Ranger rhymes on the River

New Journal Article! 

Proposals for integrating karst aquifer evaluation methodologies into national environmental legislations. Case study of a concentrated animal feeding operation in Big Creek Basin and Buffalo National River Watershed, Arkansas, USA. By Katarina Kosic, Carol L. Bitting, John Van Brahana, Charles J. Bitting. Sustainable Water Resources Management, December 2015. Vol 1 Issue 4, p363-374.

BRWA responds via attorneys to ADEQ's refusal to investigate our complaint about possible contamination at C&H. Sept. 21, 2015

BRWA Files Complaint With ADEQ regarding BCRET data showing potential pond leakage.

Aug. 12, 2015 Read here

ADEQ responds here, August 21,2015 denying further investigation


    On PBS Series, This American Land
                     watch here

                   watch here

July 2, 2015: Cargill announces the sale of it's pork unit to Brazilian firm, JBS USA for $1.45 billion, pending government approval.

June 15, 2015: Earthjustice Letter To ADEQ expressing concern over a request to permit C&H waste to be spread on the old C&C Hog Farm, part of which is in the Little Buffalo River watershed. Also requesting that C&H permit be reopened in its entirety for public comment. 

May 7, 2015: C & H requests yet another major permit modification to install a cover, gas flare and liners on their waste storage ponds. Read the request here.

 Buffalo National River Water Quality Data This site provides information on multiple water quality parameters collected at numerous sites on the Buffalo from 1985 to present. See the Water Quality Database 2005 - 2015 for most recent data, including E. coli and Dissolved Oxygen.

Dissolved Oxygen levels at mouth of Big Creek, late Summer, 2014. This graph shows that during a 21 day period the D.O. dropped to or below 5 mg/l on 19 nights. The stream was at a critical level for 23.76% of the time during that period. 

COURT ORDER, filed 12/2/2014. U.S. District Court Judge D.P. Marshall's written opinion and order for injunctive relief. The Court finds that FSA and SBA violated provisions of the National Environmental Policies Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that they "arbitrarily and capriciously guaranteed the loans" to C&H Hog Farms.The court requires the agencies to re-do their "cursory and flawed" Environmental Assessment of C&H within one year. Read this document for a clear overview and explanation of the issue.
    Notice of Appeal by DOJ, filed 1/30/2015
Appeal Withdrawn by DOJ, April 24, 2015

PLEASE SEE the Documents and the Videos pages for more extensive documentation of the C&H controversy.

Mt Judea Station, downstream from C&H
Big Creek at Carver Station, near confluence with Buffalo River


The "Save the Buffalo - Again" campaign is necessary because, in 2012, a 6,500 industrial scale hog facility was built on the banks of Big Creek, just 5 miles upstream from the Buffalo National River. Government oversight of this development was deeply flawed and it now threatens to destroy the fragile ecosystem of our nation's first National River.

Buffalo National River staff was not consulted prior to Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality(ADEQ) issuing a permit for this confined animal feeding operation(CAFO), in violation of federal regulations. A subsequent National Park Service review of the documents for the permit  revealed 45 significant violations

If we have learned anything, we now know we must be vigilant and not presume everyone treasures this place as we do. 

We must act to defeat this CAFO, and seek policies that will build a wall around the Buffalo River Watershed. If we lose this, we lose a part of ourselves.

John Muir defined the meaning of natural treasures like the Buffalo National River best long ago:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."  John Muir

We need your help. Join us in this campaign to "Save the Buffalo - Again", and help secure the future of our national treasure. With a shared vision and hard work, we will prevail.

Upcoming events

16 Oct 2018 5:30 PM • Jasper School Cafetorium on 600 School Street in Jasper, Arkansas,
17 Oct 2018 4:30 PM • ADEQ, 5301 Northshore Drive in North Little Rock, AR
20 Oct 2018 6:17 PM • Murray Community Building
24 Oct 2018 5:00 PM • FAYETTEVILLE TOWN CENTER 15 W Mountain St, Fayetteville, AR 72701
26 Oct 2018 9:00 AM • Pulaski Tech, North Little Rock
Actions You Can Take Today

This page is undergoing revision please check back

Be a citizen scientist  

ADEQ has asked that people alert them of cases of nuisance algae since they can't be on the ground all the time and in all places. Let's each do our part and help them keep track. There's a new mobile app for your phone to help you monitor. 



Learn how to file an odor complaint

Click here for details

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