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Documents related to the Mount Judea C & H Hog CAFO and research articles on the CAFO industry

(Entries in red are documents submitted by BRWA)

C&H Closure Documents

C&H Closure Agreement with State of Arkansas, June 13, 2019

On August 5, 2019, The Department of Finance and Administration confirmed that funding of the C&H escrow account has been finalized. This established a 180-day deadline for final closure of C&H, by February 8, 2020. 

Project Manual and Specifications detailing the procedures for emptying the ponds and disposing of wastes. C&H -specific information begins on page 139. Prepared by Harbor Environmental to be used by contractors to prepare bids. The low bid was accepted from Denali Water Solutions for $749,019.16 on Dec. 11, 2019. Work began on Jan. 15, 2020 and must be completed within 90 days.

Photographic Summary of Harbor Environmental's closure report. May 2020. Part 1 and Part 2.

Certification of Substantial Completion of Closure, July 27, 2020

Certificate of Final Completion , September 15, 2020


C & H Hog Farm Permit Application This LARGE pdf file is the original Notice of Intent filed with ADEQ in 2012 and includes a large amount detailed information on the design, maintenance and operation of this 6,503 head swine factory. The Nutrient Management Plan is included. It includes topo maps and aerial photos of the site and its proximity to the Mt Judea school. Note that this Regulation 6 General CAFO permit was discontinued in 2016 and C&H subsequently filed for a Regulation 5 permit which was denied by ADEQ in 2017, a decision C&H appealed. Scroll down for more information on this long and winding road, littered with pig poop.

C & H Permit Information This ADEQ page includes information on C&H's initial Regulation 6 NPDES General Permit, ARG590001. Click on "View Permit Information" to see comments, modification requests and other documents. Click "View Inspection Reports" for all on-site inspection information.

ADEQ FAQ Sheet on C&H Hog Farms
Letter to ADEQ Requesting Permit Revocation  This letter sets forth the many deficiencies in the Nutrient Management Plan prepared by C&H Hog Farms as part of its CAFO Permit application.  ADEQ Director Theresa Marks made a public commitment to stop the project if significant errors were found in the permit application or the permit issued by ADEQ. This letter and its attachments seeks revocation of the CAFO permit. It outlines those problems and misrepresentations, and cites the applicable Arkansas law. 
    Attachment #1  Soil test reports from the University of Arkansas showing nutrient saturation. 
    Attachment #2  Spray fields targeted for manure management.
    Attachment #3  Maps showing fields subject to periodic flooding.
    Attachment #4  Showing details and omissions in the Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)
    Attachment #5  Showing switch between phosphorous and nitrogen criteria in application.
    Attachment #6  ADEQ coverage requirements & land application requirements. 
    Attachment #7  The nutrient utilization plan from the C&H permit documents. 
    Attachment #8  Applicable provisions of the Arkansas Air and Water Pollution Control Act
    Attachment #9  Part 6 of the CAFO General Permit, grounds for permit revocation. 

ADEQ Response to Request for Permit Cancellation  (above) This is the ADEQ response to the request for the permit revocation letter above. It is little better than the errors in the permit, and asserts that ADEQ has the sole latitude to interpret conformance or non-conformance to its regulations and applicable law. 
2nd Coalition Letter to ADEQ from Karst Geologist Brahana  This is a letter requesting C&H Hog Farm permit revocation. This letter cites Brahana's local Karst experience. He asserts that Karst is unsuitable for this CAFO, urges immediate revocation of the permit, and a study of the specific Karst geology from the CAFO to the Buffalo National River. 
Letter to ADEQ Feb 12, 2014 Complaint and New Information This letter of notice from Earthjustice to ADEQ regards new information about inaccuracies in the C & H permit.

C & H SWITCH TO REGULATION 5 PERMIT, initiated April, 2016.

Regulation 5, condensed explanation of the regulation by the U of A Ag School

C & H Regulation 5 Permit Information This page provides information on C&H's efforts to switch from its current Regulation 6 NPDES permit, which ADEQ will not be renewing, to a state permit under Regulation 5. BRWA opposes this shift because it does not provide the EPA oversight afforded under the NPDES program. This Reg 5 application is under permit # 5264-W.

ADEQ Notice of Administrative Completeness, May 25, 2016 stating that C&H's application for a Regulation 5 permit is administratively complete and confirming that C&H has submitted the necessary forms. Following a 10-day comment period, ADEQ will begin a technical review (typically requiring about 90 days) and give public notice of their draft permitting decision. At that time there will be a 30-day window for public comments on the technical aspects of the permit.

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 issues Notice of Technical Deficiency to C&H over its refusal to allow investigative drilling to proceed. C&H is required to carry out the drilling itself or risk denial of it's application for a Regulation 5 Permit, #5264-W. Sept. 2, 2016.

Public Notice of 30-Day Comment Period on draft approval of C&H Reg 5 permit. A public hearing will be held in Jasper on March 7 and the comment period closes on March 17. Feb. 16, 2017

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

BRWA Comments on C&H Reg 5 Draft Permit, submitted April 5, 2017
Appendices to Comments

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

C&H partially responds to ADEQ's request for supplemental information and submits letter requesting an extension until March 15, 2018 to complete the response. December 6, 2017

ADEQ denies C&H request for a 90-day extension but allows them until December 29, 2017 to submit a complete response. December 14, 2017

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

C&H Denied Regulation 5 Permit

Click on Docket 18-001-P C&H Hog Farms, for all legal filings regarding the appeal before the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

ADEQ DENIES C&H PERMIT January 10, 2018

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

BRWA Press Release on C&H Request for a Stay, issued January 16, 2017.

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

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


On April 18, 2018C&H applied for yet ANOTHER permit, this time a Reg. 6 Individual permit. ADEQ returned the application on September 21, 2018 due to "administrative incompleteness". Read the Permit Information here. Meanwhile, their appeal of the denial of their Reg 5 permit continues. Follow the appeal process here. Click on "C&H Hog Farms" to open the drop-down menu of filings.

On September 21, 2018, ADEQ determined that the C&H application was Administratively Incomplete due to numerous deficiencies.

On October 19, 2018 C&H responded that their consultants would be addressing the stated deficiencies.

Relevant permit guidance documents

The AWMFH is a USDA-NRCS guiding document for waste management systems, including Reg. 5 permits (See Regulation 5.402 below)Chapter 7, Part 651-Geologic and Groundwater Considerations is particularly pertinent to karst considerations which should be taken into account by C&H and elsewhere in the Ozark region. The basis of ADEQ's decision to deny the C&H permit was due primarily to C&H's failure to comply adequately with these guidelines. 

APC&E Regulation 5 defines the rules under which Reg 5 permits are issued and regulated.


Since receiving its initial permit in 2012, C&H has made a number of "modifications" to its operating plans. Most of these were considered Major Modifications which required a public comment period.

ADEQ Response to C & H request for permit revision This Feb. 7, 2014 letter is ADEQ's response to a request from C & H to modify the method of field applications to include the use of a "Vac Tanker". ADEQ determined that this constitutes a major modification of the NMP which requires public notice and a comment period.

ADEQ Notice of Public Hearing In response to C & H's request for a permit revision (see above) ADEQ is reopening their permit for a comment period beginning on Feb 19 and concluding with a public hearing in Jasper on March 24, 2014. ADEQ states that comments will be accepted only as they relate to the specifics of the permit modification, i.e.: the use of a "Vac Tanker" for field applications on fields 7-9. 

BRWA Comments on request for permit revision, requesting that modification be denied.

Other Comments on Permit Modification
See all comments posted by ADEQ Click "View Permit Information" to see the list of comments currently posted.

ADEQ Approves Permit Modification. Read the approval notice and ADEQ's responses to comments.


C&H Request for Major Modification of its permit, January 14, 2015. This is a request to allow the use of a tank wagon for disposal of waste from both Pond 1 and Pond 2. The original permit only allowed the tank wagon to be used for Pond 1.

ADEQ Incompleteness Letter, dated January 28, 2015 in response to C&H request for permit modification above.

C&H Revised NOI, dated Feb 1, 2015 in response to Letter Of Incompleteness.

C&H Revised NMP, dated Feb 1, 2015, reflecting the Modification Request above.

BRWA and Coalition Asks ADEQ to Deny Modification March 3. 2015, based on ongoing errors in field maps and leases.

 ADEQ Response To Request for Modification Denial, April 7, 2015 This letter mistakenly references the letter from Earthjustice, dated March 9, 2015 (see below), which addressed issues with the C&H 2014 Annual Report, not the modification request denial dated March 3 (above).


 C&H Request for major modification to install liners in both waste storage ponds and a cover and gas flare system on pond #1.

BRWA's Oral Comments on pond liner modification, submitted at a public hearing in Jasper, Sept 29, 2015

Tom Aley's Public Comments on pond liner modification, prepared on behalf of BRWA and submitted at a public hearing, Sept. 29, 2015.

Email from Jason Henson to ADEQ Sept 29, 2015, asking if C&H must comply if modification is approved.


 ADEQ Compliance Inspection #1 This is the the initial Compliance Assistance Inspection of C & H Hog Farm, performed on July 23, 2013, released to the public on September 10th, which identifies six conditions requiring "immediate attention" by C & H.  ADEQ Director Teresa Marks states, "...we weren’t alarmed by anything we saw out there. We didn’t see any harm to the environment from this installation.” 

ADEQ Compliance Inspection #2, Inspection of C & H on January 23, 2014 showing continued conditions requiring attention

ADEQ Compliance Inspection #3, November 5, 2014
EPA Compliance Inspection. Unannounced inspection of C & H on April 15, 2014 This is a 97 page report which includes soil and water test results. Page 95 shows the field applications to date.

ADEQ Complaint Inspection Report, December 29, 2015 based on citizen concern about potential flooding of C&H waste storage ponds due to heavy rains. No violations noted.

ADEQ Complaint Inspection Report, May 2, 2017 based on request by citizens to inspect ponds due to heavy rains on April 29. Pond 1 was in process of being pumped down and pond 2 was 3-6" above Must Pump Down level.

House Well. This is drilling log for the well which supplies the people and swine at C&H, according to information in the EPA report above.


C&H is required to submit annual reports detailing how much waste it generated, where it was applied, etc.

       C&H Revised Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan 2/26/2015 submitted in response to above letter
         C&H 2014 Annual Report Aggregate PI Spreadsheets 2/26/2015 also in response to ADEQ Letter of Incompleteness
     BRWA and Coalition Letter Requesting Permit Be Reopened 3/9/2015 based on discrepancies in 2014 Annual Report and related documents.
ADEQ Letter dated April 16, 2015 sent in response to Letter above.
C&H 2015 Soil Test results, 12/4/1025. Note that all fields except one are "above optimum" for phosphorus 
BRWA and Coalition Response to 2015 Annual Report Includes expert analysis by Lithochimeia/Mike Smolens at bottom of document
C&H 2017 Annual Report, showing 687,000 gallons of waste was "transferred to another person", that being EC Farms.

C&H 2018 Annual Report showing 2,484,582 gallons of waste was spread, with 639,000 gallons applied to Field 7 alone. 585,000 gallons was transferred to EC Farms.

C&H 2019 Annual Report

BRWA Comments and Letters to ADEQ

BRWA and Coalition Letter to ADEQ June 15, 2015 submitted by Earthjustice 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, and requesting that the C&H permit be reopened in its entirety for public comment.
ADEQ Response to above letter, July 6, 2015, stating that C&C/EC Farms would be required to submit a revised CNMP for a land application permit which would also require a public comment period.

BRWA complaint filed with ADEQ, August 12, 2015 regarding BCRET data showing potential leakage of C&H waste storage ponds with high E. coli and nitrate readings from the well, ephemeral stream, monitoring tenches, and Big Creek and requesting an independent investigation.
ADEQ Response to above letter, August 21, 2015, denying BRWA's request for an independent investigation.
Letter from Williams and Anderson Law Firm, September 21, 2015 on behalf of BRWA responding to ADEQ's refusal to investigate our August 12 complaint about possible contamination at C&H.
Williams and Anderson Followup Letter,January 7, 2016 requesting response to letter of September 21, 2015.

Letter from Williams and Anderson, October 23, 2015 on behalf of BRWA regarding a proposed permit change to remove the requirement for separate construction permits in Reg. 6 NPDES permit applications.

Various regulatory documents 

ADEQ Response to Buffalo National River This document also includes the FSA response (see below for more FSA documents). At the bottom is the letter of response from ADEQ

Buffalo River Watershed CAFO Task Force Outline This pdf outlines the mission and provides a list of "entities" charged by the PC&E Commission to study the possibility of a ban on all CAFOs in the Buffalo watershed as well as all Extraordinary Resource Waterways in Arkansas. March 14, 2014

Public Comments received by ADEQ on General Statewide Permit, Feb. 11, 2011. Commenters include Butterball, Tysons, Farm Bureau and other paid  lobbyists. Most of the public was unaware of the significance of this comment period.

EPA NPDES CAFO Final Rule This document sets forth the federal regulations with which the Arkansas General permit must comply.

NPDES General Permit This document sets forth the requirements for General permits such as currently held by C & H.
BRWA and Coalition Comments opposing renewal of the general permit for swine CAFOs, ARG590000, April 14, 2016.

ADEQ Regulation 5 This document sets the requirements for Individual permits, as opposed to NPDES General permits above.
ADEQ List of BNRW CAFOS This chart from ADEQ shows all current and prior (closed) CAFOs located within the Buffalo River watershed including 2 dairy and 6 swine operations with open permits. 

ADEQ Temporary Moratorium This is the Notice and Minute Orders establishing a temporary moratorium on any new medium or large swine CAFO permits within the Buffalo River Watershed. It expired October 22, 2014 and was renewed for 180 days on October 24, 2014.

ADEQ Moratorium 180-day Extension This is the Minute Order dated October 24, 2014 extending the temporary moratorium on new medium or large swine CAFOs within the Buffalo River watershed.

Arkansas Department of Health Letter, March 21, 2013 expressing concern that water borne pathogens from C & H could pose risk for body contact on the Buffalo River.

Well Drilling Log for house well showing water-bearing substrata, Feb. 15, 2013
Well Drilling Log W2 for new house well installed June 12, 2015
Satellite Image showing location of both wells according to coordinates from well logs.

ADEQ Director Becky Keogh's testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, titled 


Congressional testimony of ADEQ Director Becky Keogh, applauding reversal of the Obama-era WOTUS rule. September 18, 2019


Every two years ADEQ must submit its list of Impaired Streams to EPA to comply with the Clean Water Act. The deadline for submitting the 2016 list was April 1, 2016. Buffalo National River recommended adding three tributaries of the Buffalo to the list, including Big Creek. ADEQ declined. BRWA is participating in development of the assessment methodology for the 2018 303(d) list. See our initial comments and other pertinent documents, including the EPA response, below. EPA had not approved ADEQ's 303(d) list since 2008 until the letter immediately below, sent July 19, 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. 

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


ADEQ 303(d) Information page. Scroll down to see public comments.

NPS Letter To ADEQ Recommending Big Creek Be Added to 303(d) list of "impaired waters". October 6, 2015.

NPS Letters To ADEQ Feb. 25 and March 10, 2016, following up on earlier letter.

NPS Letter analyzing BCRET E. coli data and recommending impaired status for Big Creek, March 25, 2016.

EPA letter of response to ADEQ's Draft  2016 303(d) list of impaired streams. This response is critical of numerous conclusions by ADEQ. March 16, 2016

Agenda for Joint Agriculture and Economic Development legislative committee meeting on 303(d) List, March 29, 2016

BRWA  and Coalition comments before Joint Committee, March 29, 2015. This letter was also sent with attachments to various EPA officials and Governor Hutchinson's office. The handouts referred to may be found in the public comments on the ADEQ site at top.

Teresa Turk's comments to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission meeting, April 29, 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 and referenced by BRWA. October 31, 2016

ADEQ Letter inviting BRWA to participate in 2018 AM Stakeholder Workgroup meetings. November 9, 2016

BRWA Comments to ADEQ , June 2, 2017, regarding draft renewal of an NPDES permit for a wastewater treatment plant for the Marble Falls Sewer Improvement District. This sewer plant on Mill Creek has been cited for multiple violations and has resulted in warnings being posted downstream at a popular Buffalo River swimming hole due to unacceptable E. coli levels. Mill Creek has been included on the 303(d) List for that reason. 

White River Waterkeeper comments on the Marble Falls Sewer Plant permit renewal, June 2, 2017.

National Park Service comments on Marble Falls Sewer Plant permit renewal, June 2, 2017.


EC Farms was previously known as C&C Farms and was owned by the current C&H owners. C&C ceased operations when C&H opened but did not close their ADEQ permit. Currently, 36 fields totaling approximately 550 acres are covered by the still-active permit. These fields lie on the Left Fork of Big Creek and on the ridge separating Big Creek from the Little Buffalo River. Some fields are in the Little Buffalo watershed. Ownership was transferred to EC Farms. In August, 2015, EC Farms submitted a modification request to allow it to apply swine waste from C&H to its fields. On March 5, 2016, ADEQ announced draft approval of the requested modification and opened a comment period and a public hearing was held on April 11, 2016. ADEQ approved the EC permit which triggered an administrative appeal by those opposed.

Coalition Letter To ADEQ, June 15, 2015, objecting to EC Farms modification request
Letter of Incompleteness issued by ADEQ, Nov. 30, 2015
Letter from National Park Service requesting hearing on EC Farms modification.Sept. 18, 2015. Several others, including BRWA, also sent requests for a hearing
ADEQ Public Notice of Draft Approval of Modification, March 9, 2016 announcing a comment period for written comments ending April 8, 2016 and a public hearing on April 11, 2016. This link includes the public notice as well as details of the conditions of the permitted modification.

Public comments on EC modification from ADEQ web site

ADEQ issues final decision to approve EC Farms modification request. This document includes a list of public comments received and ADEQ's responses to them. June 30, 2016

National Park Service files appeal of ADEQ decision to approve EC Farms permit modification. July 29, 2016
NPS subsequently withdrew this appeal on August 29, 2016.

Individual Appeals of EC Farms Permit Approval, by Carol Bitting, Nancy Haller and Lin Welford July 29, 2016. Follow the docket for the appeals process here.

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

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

Administrative Law Judge's opinion is upheld by APC&E Commission and EC Farms is issued a new permit number - 5282-W Feb. 28, 2017.

Plaintiffs (Appellants) file appeal of Commission's decision to Arkansas Circuit Court in Jasper, AR, Feb. 21, 2017


Circuit Court Judge Putnam issues Order in EC Farms appeal, January 8, 2018

ADEQ Motion To Reconsider, filed in response to Judge Putnam's decision, filed January 25, 2018

EC Motion To Dismiss due to late filing of Notice of Appeal, July 6, 2018

Appelants Response to Motion to Dismiss

EC Farms Reply to Response, July 10, 2018

Court Order dismissing case, August 22, 2018

C&H 2017 Annual Report, showing 687,000 gallons of waste was "transferred to another person", that being EC Farms, January 25, 2018

EC Farms 2017 Annual Report, May 15, 2018

REGULATION CHANGES - Third Party Rulemaking 

These are proposed changes to Regulation 5 and 6 which seek to establish a ban on medium and large swine CAFOs in the Buffalo River watershed and place a cap on the numbers of existing swine. If adopted, these changes would not apply to existing CAFOs, like C&H, but would prevent additional facilities of this size in the watershed.
The second proposed change to Reg. 6 would significantly improve the notification procedures for new Reg 6 CAFO permits state-wide. 
These proposed changes must be reviewed by the Public Health, and Rules and Regulations Committees of the state legislature as well as the Legislative Council before finally being voted on by the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, likely sometime in the fall of 2014.
Regulation 5 Proposed Changes Scroll down to see comments
Regulation 6 Proposed Changes Essentially the same as the Reg 5 changes
Regulation 6 Amended Rule Change June 19, 2015, incorporating a 5-year sunset clause at which time the temporary ban can be extended or cancelled at the discretion of the ADEQ Director 
Regulation 5 Amended Rule Change, essentially identical to the Reg 6 change.

Renewal of Regulation 6 Swine CAFO General Permit ARG590000 

The NPDES General permit, ARG590000, is the "umbrella" which includes the regulations under which C&H, permit #ARG590001, is covered. C&H. C&H is the first and only permit issued under these regulations. ARG590000 expired on October 31, 2016 and was revised and opened for public comment in March, 2016, with a public hearing on April 14, 2016. Read the public notice and draft renewal permit here. ADEQ ultimate decided NOT to renew ARG590000, forcing C&H to seek alternate coverage.

Select public comments submitted to ADEQ are posted below. ADEQ intends to release the final approved of ARG590000 in May 2016. C&H must reapply for coverage under the revised General permit by October 31, 2016, or switch to another permit.

Public Comments on ARG590000 Renewal:

ADEQ Press Release announcing it's decision to NOT renew ARG590000, April 28, 2016

ADEQ final decision not to renew ARG590000 and responses to 130 public comments

Arkansas Attorney General's opinion that the ADEQ Director does not have the authority to revoke or suspend the NPDES General CAFO permit, November 13, 2013

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

 Regulation 6, March, 2004, notable is the inclusion of Chapter 5 regarding "Dry Litter". This language was later removed in 2011 and now all dry litter systems (poultry, Sanders Farms?) fall under ANRC purview.


C & H and Plasma Energy Group (PEG) proposed to install a plasma pyrolysis unit to incinerate swine waste. As of April 2016, indications are that this scheme has been abandoned due to the high cost of operation (~$1 million per year).

BRWA position paper on plasma pyrolysis- Lipstick on a pig, October 10, 2014

PEG Air Permit Application and letter requesting that ADEQ provide an exemption to permit requirements, September 17, 2014

ADEQ notice to PEG indicating the agency cannot make a permit determination and the company may "proceed at their own risk"

BRWA response objecting to PEG proposal, October 9, 2014. Included is the ADEQ response to the PEG application stating the agency cannot determine if a permit is required and the company may proceed "at their own risk".

Buffalo River Coalition Letter to ADEQ, EPA, etc objecting to ADEQ's decision to allow an experimental plasma pyrolysis unit to be installed at C&H for the incineration of swine waste, October 10, 2014.

Buffalo River Coalition Followup Letter to ADEQ and EPA regarding testing of plasma pyrolysis at Cargill's Sandy River CAFO and at C&H. December 8, 2015.

ADEQ Response letter to Coalition, December 18, 2015.

BRWA letter to APC&E Commission requesting to speak at Commission meeting on October 24, 2014.  

An Industry Blowing Smoke 10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis and Plasma Incineration Are Not "Green Solutions", 2009 GAIA Report


Buffalo National River letter to ADEQ Director Teresa Marks, December 20, 2012. This was the first public communication regarding C&H Hog Farm which had been quietly permitted 4 months prior, in August, 2012.

Jan 3, 2013 ADEQ Response letter to National Park Service letter of Dec 20, 2012

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




Find Buffalo River Watershed information at

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.

Bacteria Characterization of Big Creek and the Buffalo River near Carver
by Buffalo National River Wildlife Biologist, Feron Usrey

Showing the slides used in the presentation
at the Boone County Library September 23, 2014 

NPS Letter To ADEQ Recommending Big Creek Be Added to 303(d) list of "impaired waters". October 6, 2015
To see more NPS 303(d) documents scroll up to the 303(d) Impaired Streams section above..

BNR Water Test Results
USGS Presentation: An Evaluation Of Continuous Monitoring Data For Assessing Dissolved Oxygen In The Boston Mountains. This report presented to the ADEQ Assessment Methodology Review meeting in December, 2016 shows that Big Creek exceeded the ADEQ standard of 10% of DO less than 6 micrograms/liter during the period of record (2015)

Below are water sampling results taken by BNR at selected points along the river. Of particular interest are samples taken from Big Creek (site BUFT06) just above its confluence with BNR. Compare the results from December 12, 2013 (before field applications began) with those taken April 7, 2014 (after field applications were underway). The Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Turbidity, Fecal Coliform and E. coli results are of concern. 

December 12, 2013 Scroll down to see results
January 27, 2014 Note: there is a second Big Creek, site BUFT18, in the Lower Wilderness.

Water Quality Characterization of Big Creek Powerpoint presentation to the Arkansas Water Resources conference, July 16, 2014 by NPS Aquatic Ecologist Faron Usrey. This presentation shows the negative influence Big Creek has on E. coli and dissolved oxygen levels in the Buffalo River.

Dissolved Oxygen Levels near confluence of Big Creek and Buffalo River, late Summer, 2014. This graph shows that during a 21 day period starting August 21 and ending September 10, the dissolved oxygen dropped to or below 5 mg/l on 19 nights. On several nights it remained at or below 5 mg/l for 8 hours or more. The stream was at a critical level for 23.76% of the time during that period.

BNR Tourism Statistics

Buffalo National River Economic Benefits Report , 2004-2014. Shows the visitor numbers, jobs created and economic impact of the Buffalo National River and other National Park units in Arkansas.

2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Natural Resource Report 

National Park Service 2017 Statistical Analysis provides stats on all National Park Units, including the Buffalo National River such as number of visitors, overnight stays, etc. BNR visitation in 2018 dropped 17.3% compared to 2016.

National Park Service Stats Site. Lots of statistical information about Park usage.

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

Newton County Tourism Tax paid during 2017 = $130,368, representing gross revenue generated by tourism businesses in the county of over $6.5 million

BNR Water Studies

Water analysis results. 6/4/2015 - 5/17/2016 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.
Quality Assurance data in spreadsheet form to support above analysis

Base Flow, Water Quality, and Streamflow Gain and Loss of the Buffalo River, Arkansas, and Selected Tributaries, July and August 2003 

The role of organic matter in the fate and transport of antibiotic resistance, metals, and nutrients in the karst of Northwest Arkansas  draft doctoral dissertation of Victor Roland, University of Arkansas,  2016. 

Aquatic Invertebrate Monitoring at Buffalo National River 2005-2011 Status Report

BNR Fisheries Management Plan, 1995

Smallmouth Bass and Ozark Bass in the BNR, 1989

BNR Ecosystems, April 1, 1975 - March 31, 1975

Fish Community Monitoring at Buffalo National River: 2006 – 2007 Status Report

Protocol for Monitoring Aquatic Invertebrates at Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri, and Buffalo National River, Arkansas, 2007

Methods for Monitoring Fish Communities of Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways in the Ozark Plateaus of Arkansas and Missouri : Version 1.0. USGS/NPS 2007.



White River Waterkeeper Website

Press Release and Review of Arkansas Water Quality from 2008 to 2016 by White River Waterkeeper, Jessie Green, disputing Gov. Hutchinson's press release that 76% of Arkansas streams had improved since 2008. July 24, 2017


Case Overview from the Earthjustice website

Demand Letter to FSA SBA of 6/6/13  This letter to USDA and Small Business Administration request review of faulty assessment that led to loan guarantee for industrial swine facility in the Buffalo National River Watershed. Animal waste from the C&H factory farm threatens America’s first national river, public health, and a multi-billion dollar Arkansas tourism economy

Complaint filed August 6, 2013 This is the complaint filed by Eartjustice, Earthrise, and Carney, Bates and Pulliam on behalf of plaintiffs BRWA, Arkansas Canoe Club, Ozark Society, and National Parks Conservation Asso. against the United States Dept. of Agriculture, Farm Services Agency, the Small Business Administration, and others challenging the environmental review and authorization of loan guarantees to C & H Hog Farm. See Amended Complaint filed 12/23/13 below.
          Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law supporting motion to dismiss
           Defendant's Supporting Brief


Defendant's Proposed Response To Plaintiff's Memorandum Of Law Regarding The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/7/2014 

Plaintiff's Motion For Leave To Respond To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/12/2014 

Plaintiff's Proposed Response To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief, filed 11/12/2014 

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.

Order filed 12/2/2014

Judgement filed 12/2/2104

Notice of Appeal filed 1/30/2015 by Defendants

Withdrawal of Appeal filed April 22, 2015 by Defendants

Press Release on Withdrawal of Appeal

Defendants request a 90-day extension, until March 1, 2016, to comply with court order for a new EA. The extension is requested due to the "unexpectedly large volume of public comments on the draft EA". 1,858 public comments were submitted. Filed Sept. 25, 2015.

Declaration of Matthew Ponish, FSA, in support of 90-day extension.

Draft Biological Assessment prepared to comply with the Endangered Species Act. October, 2015

Defendants Motion To Dissolve Injunction, March 2, 2016


Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the Beautiful Buffalo River Initiative (BBRI), comprised of 5 state agencies, "To address water quality concerns throughout the watershed and ensure the Buffalo National River maintains all designated uses" September 30, 2016. Read more on our BBRI page

CAFO Committee Final Report This is the report of Gov. Beebe's committee which was appointed to make recommendations for improved notification procedures for future CAFO permit applications. It was submitted to the Arkansas Legislative Council on January 17, 2014.

Arkansas Attorney General's opinion on moratorium. The AG's opinion states that while ADEQ does not have the authority to issue a moratorium on CAFO permits, the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission clearly does.

Governor Beebe's request for $250,00 "Rainy Day Funds" for monitoring C & H

BRWA Response to HB 1080, a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Freedom Of Information Act which would shield th University of Arkansas and other academic institutions from FOIA requests. BRWA opposes this amendment.

Buffalo River Coalition Letter to Gov. Hutchinson, April 17, 2015, noting the importance of the Buffalo National River to the Arkansas economy.
  Response to Gov. Hutchinson's letter of response, May 15, 2015

Act 369 of the Arkansas Legislature appropriating $100,00 in funding for fiscal year 2016 for "monitoring swine farming operations within the Buffalo River watershed." See Section 13.

 Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) prepared by Farm Services Agency, the USDA agency which has provided a funding guarantee for C & H Hog Farm. Note: This is only the Executive Summary of the EA. Following is the EA divided into 3 parts, approximately 200 pages each.

Letter from Buffalo National River to the Farm Services Administration responding to the EA/FONSI and outlining 45 significant errors, misstatements, inaccuracies and other problems.   If you only read one document this is the one The Park Service was not notified on the CAFO and was excluded from the assessment of impacts, violating federal guidelines.

This is the official response to the letter from the Buffalo National River above that cites 45 problems with the EA an FONSI documents. Posted 4/1/13. 


Draft Environmental Assessment, August, 2015 submitted per Judge D. Price Marshall's court order finding that the original EA was "cursory and flawed".  


PRESS RELEASE, Sept 4, 2015: Arkansas Groups Find Draft Environmental Assessment of Industrial Hog Facility in Buffalo River Watershed Significantly Flawed

Buffalo River Coalition Comments on draft EA, submitted by Earthjustice, Sept. 4, 2015

Tom Aley, Ozark Underground Laboratory testimony on behalf of BRWA given at the public hearing in Jasper, AR, August 27, 2015
Lisa R. Pruitt, Professor of Law and Linda T. Sobcynski, J.D., University of California at Davis statement regarding the environmental justice impacts of C&H Hog Farms

ADEQ Comments on the draft EA

Draft Biological Assessment prepared to comply with the Endangered Species Act. October, 2015

FSA/SBA request 90-day extension until March 1, 2016 due to unprecedented volume of comments received.

Final Environmental Assessment with Draft Finding Of No Significant Impact, December 23, 2015. A comment period was opened for this draft FONSI, ending January 29, 2016.

Earthjustice requests extension on EA Comment Period until Jan. 29, 2015. This request was approved.

Earthjustice comments on draft final EA/FONSI submitted on behalf of BRWA, NPCA, Ozark Society and Arkansas Canoe Club, Jan. 29, 2016
PRESS RELEASE, Jan. 29, 2016
Dr. Van Brahana's comments, submitted January 28, 2016

Buffalo River Coalition Press Release, responding to Final FONSI, February 24, 2016


Arkansas Phosphorus Index (API) This document explains the role of this complex calculation which is the basis of the C&H NMP and was created in part by Dr Andrew Sharpley, leader of the BCRET.

Memorandum of Agreement between U of A and ADEQ This specifies the agreement for the study to be done by the University on C & H Hog Farm which was funded by the state. (See U of A Monitoring Proposal below)

 University of Arkansas Monitoring Proposal and Workplan This is the proposal by U of A for a $340,000 project to monitor C & H Hog Farm. This is a 1-year proposal but an additional 4 years of monitoring is recommended at an estimated cost of $100,000 per year. This proposal was approved by the legislature on Sept. 5, 2013 to be paid out of "Rainy Day Funds".
2nd Coalition Letter to ADEQ from Karst Geologist Brahana  This is a continuation of the letter below requesting C&H Hog Farm is unsuitable for this CAFO, urges immediate revocation of the permit, and a study of the specific Karst geology from the CAFO to the Buffalo National River.

The Role of Phosphorus Management - Dr. Andrew Sharpley - January 30, 2015 Youtube presentation from Maryland Phosphorus Symposium. Quote from approximately 32;00: "We can't expect cheap food and clean water at the same time."

Arkansas Act 369 (see Sections 13-14), enacted March 6, 2015.  This appropriations act provides an additional $100,000 per year for 4 years for continued support of BCRET, bringing the total amount of taxpayer-support for monitoring this privately owned industrial facility to $740,000. 

NRCS Soil Survey Maps of C&H, October 2015
These maps and charts are from a Freedom Of Information Act request by BRWA to the U of A and describe the soils in the vicinity of C&H, their characteristics, and their suitability for pond construction and manure application.

BCRET Quarterly Reports
University of Arkansas Big Creek Research Team Addendum to 1st Quarterly Report This addendum addresses the discrepancies in the application fields and locations of research work.

University of Arkansas Big Creek Research Team 21st Quarterly Report Oct 1- Dec 31, 2018

 University of Arkansas Big Creek Research Team 21st Quarterly Report Jan 1 - March 31, 2019

University of Arkansas Big Creek Research Team 23rd Quarterly Report April 1 - June 30, 2019 (last quarter report)

Final Report of BCRET, covering 5 years of research. October 24, 2019

Chapter 7 of the Final report, "Nutrient Loads in Big Creek Upstream and Downstream from C&H". This chapter apparently contains errors leading to erroneous results, shown on pages 28-31. On December 18, 2019 this chapter was removed from the BCRET website for correction of numerous mathematical errors.

Expert Review of the BCRET Draft Final Report, including BCRET responses.

Independent analysis of BCRET nutrient data

, 5/1/14 - 2/15/17 by David Peterson, Ph. D.

BCRET presentation by Dr Sharpley to Arkansas Farm Bureau Officers and Leaders Conference, July 2016. This 48-minute audio provides insight into BCRET positions on current state of C&H research.

 BCRET Powerpoint presentation to Joint Legislative Committees providing annual update on C&H research, July 10, 2017

Nutrient Concentrations in Big Creek Correlate to Regional Watershed Land Use  Article by Sharpley, et al in Agricultural and Research Letters, October 26, 2017

 Rebuttal to above article by David Peterson, Ph. D. Mathematics

Researchers Characterize Nutrient Sources in the Big Creek, Sub-Watershed of the Buffalo River, a description of stable isotope testing in Big Creek performed in 2018.

 Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI)

BCRET and the U of A School of Agriculture contracted with Dr Todd Halihan of Oklahoma State University to conduct and ERI study on three fields at C&H. Dr Halihan also conducted additional studies around the waste holding ponds in March, 2015. These subsurface imaging studies revealed what was described as a "possible major fracture and movement of waste" beneath the ponds. However, BCRET declined to investigate further and only through FOIA requests did BRWA discover news of this possible leakage in January, 2016.

Memorandum of Agreement between University of Arkansas and Oklahoma State University for ERI study

Preliminary ERI Surveys of Mt Judea Alluvial Sites  This report of work done in Dec. 2014 by Oklahoma State University on behalf of BCRET reveals karst features beneath 2 fields being studied. Of note: "The bedrock at each site contained potential pathways for groundwater flow. One difference between the sites that may be useful for application evaluation is the possibility of hog manure electrical signatures present on Field 12." 

BCRET webpage with data supporting ERI Final Report and pond data

Email thread among BCRET team members regarding an Electical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) investigation around the C&H waste holding ponds, indicating concern over a possible subsurface fracture and leakage.


BRWA and Coalition Powerpoint presentation and accompanying narrative to the APC&E Commission meeting on April 29, 2016 regarding ERI data collected around C&H waste ponds in March 2016 which reveals a possible "major fracture and movement of waste" beneath the facility. Presented by Attorney Richard Mays. The narrative includes statements from experts in the field of geophysics and geology who concur that waste appears to be leaking from the ponds.

BRWA Letter to ADEQ from Attorney Richard Mays, May 23, 2016 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 at the May 26, 2016 meeting.

BRWA and Coalition Press Advisory, June 17, 2016, announcing a press conference to follow the Pollution Control and Ecology meeting on June 24 to discuss ADEQ and BCRET positions on ERI followup.
ADEQ Press Release June 23, 2016 announcing, " INDEPENDENT INTEGRITY EVALUATION TO BE CONDUCTED AT HOG FARM: The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will employ independent experts to assess liner integrity of storage ponds at C&H Hog Farms in the Buffalo River Watershed. The evaluation is being advanced to provide additional information to the agency and the community."

BRWA and Coalition Statement to the APC&E Commission by Attorney Richard Mays on June 24, 2016 regarding ADEQ decision to pursue further investigation into ERI data.

BCRET Powerpoint presentation to APC&E Commission, June 24, 2016 which concludes that no further investigation into ERI pond data is necessary.

BRWA and Coalition press statement by Richard Mays at press conference following above Commission meeting. June 24, 2016.

BRWA and Coalition letter to ADEQ from Richard Mays as followup to June 24 Commission meeting. June 29, 2016

BRWA meeting with ADEQ to discuss plans for investigative drilling, July 8, 2016

ADEQ Powerpoint Presentation from meeting with BRWA and the Coalition, July 8, 2016.

BRWA and Coalition Followup Letter to ADEQ in response to July 8 meeting. July 12, 2016

Bert Fisher letter to ADEQ with recommendations for drilling.

BRWA and Coalition 2nd followup letter to ADEQ regarding lack of response to previous messages about workplan for drilling. July 28, 2016

Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition objecting to presence of BCRET as observers during well drilling. August 4, 2016

Letter to ADEQ from BRWA and Coalition providing comments on technical aspects of the Draft Workplan. August 4, 2016

BRWA FILES INJUNCTION seeking hearing on investigative drilling at C&H. August 24, 2016

BRWA Files Motion To Dismiss Injunction following settlement agreement with ADEQ, Sept. 2, 2016.

BRWA Press Release regarding settlement agreement with ADEQ and dismissal of injunction, Sept. 2, 2016.

ADEQ issues Notice of Technical Deficiency to C&H over its refusal to allow investigative drilling to proceed. C&H is required to carry out the drilling itself or risk denial of it's application for a Regulation 5 Permit, #5264-W. Sept. 2, 2016.

ADEQ letter to C&H acknowledging their agreement to allow drilling to proceed at state's expense with a projected drilling date of 9/19/16. Sept 7, 2016

BRWA letter to ADEQ from Attorney Richard Mays reiterating request for multiple bore holes and referencing 2014 Expert Review Panel recommendations re: pond leakage. Sept. 6, 2016

ADEQ letter in response to above letter from BRWA, Sept. 22, 2016

BRWA and Coalition ask EPA to be present during investigative drilling. Sept. 12, 2016.

ADEQ Press Release announcing completion of drilling. Sept. 29, 2016

Harbor Environmental final Drilling Study Report, released on December 1, 2016 

BRWA questions on Harbor Drilling Study Report, December 15, 2016

BRWA Press Release on Drilling Report, December 16, 2016

Other BCRET/ U of A Documents

Big Creek Research Team Powerpoint Presentation titled "Sustainable Management of Nutrients On C&H Farm in Big Creek Watershed", presented by Dr Andrew Sharpley at the Arkansas Water Resource Conference, Fayetteville, AR, July 16, 2014

Dr Sharpley explains new well sampling protocol, January 25, 2016. This response to a BRWA FOIA request describes BCRET's efforts to answer concerns about E. coli and nitrate contamination of "house well" samples. 

Peer Review Report and BCRET Response This is a review by a team of outside experts who critique the University of Arkansas research project at C&H. The Report is followed by the BCRET response. May 19, 2014

BCRET expenses as on 4/30/2016, totaling almost $500,000.


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.

CAFO in Paradise Oct 24 pdf.pdf   This is Dr. Brahana's presentation in pdf format
 Full one hour video of Dr. Brahana's presentation To YouTube video

Dr Brahana's Monitoring Proposal This is Dr Van Brahana's $70,000 proposal submitted to Governor Beebe. The legislature did not consider it for funding. While BRWA and others are providing some financial support, Dr Brahana and his team are currently working pro bono.
Attachment A This is preliminary water testing data from Big Creek valley.
Attachment C This is Dr Brahana's June 1, 2013 proposal to ADEQ which recieved no response.

Dye Trace Preliminary Report This report was presented to the APC&E Commission, 4/25/14

Dr. Brahana's Powerpoint Presentation, "Karst Hydrogeology of Big Creek Basin" presented at the Arkansas Water Resources Conference, July 16, 2014 in Fayetteville, AR

What's Up On The Buffalo: Rolling Out The Science video, October 18, 2014, Fayetteville, AR. This 2-hour video captures the presentations made by Dr Van Brahana, Victor Roland (USGS), Dane Schumacher (BRWA), Chuck Bitting (NPS) and Anna Weeks (Arkansas Public Policy Panel). The purpose was to update the public on the status of scientific inquiries regarding the impact of C&H on Big Creek and the Buffalo River. (Note: Sound does not begin until 14:30)

TED Video on Hog CAFO's  This YouTube link illustrates the impacts of a hog CAFO. It makes the case we have been advocating about. Share it with everyone, and tell them about our Alliance. 

CAFO Notification Committee Meeting This is a series of YouTube videos which recorded the CAFO Special Committee meeting held on Dec. 21, 2013. There are six videos. This committee was appointed by Gov. Beebe to recommend improved notification procedures for future Arkansas CAFO applications.

Waterkeeper Tour Lecture This is a YouTube video recording of one of the Waterkeeper Tour lectures held on Oct. 25, 2013.

Animal Factory This book by author David Kirby describes the impacts of swine CAFOs.

Boss Hog: The Dark Side of America's Top Pork Producer Rolling Stone Magazine coverage of Smithfield Foods. December, 2006

  JUN 3, 2016

"Water and Fire", The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 2019. Published by The Wilson Center about the Buffalo National River and the C&H controversy.


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