Comparative Bathymetry and Sedimentation in Three Coves, Beaver Reservoir, Benton County, Arkansas

EPA Grant Number: F5B81065
Title: Comparative Bathymetry and Sedimentation in Three Coves, Beaver Reservoir, Benton County, Arkansas
Investigators: Patton, Jason A.
Institution: University of Arkansas - Fayetteville
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: August 1, 2005 through July 1, 2008
Project Amount: $92,417
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


In northwest Arkansas, extraordinary economic development and associated population growth during the last 30 years are beginning to cumulatively impact environmental quality. Degradation of water quality is an issue of general concern, with specific concerns focused on nutrient loading of surface and groundwater resources, storm water runoff, and sedimentation in surface water reservoirs. Periodically, the northwest Arkansas drinking water treatment facility backflushes filters into Monte Ne Cove, a tributary on Beaver Reservoir. This project will investigate the extent and impact of sedimentation in Beaver Reservoir resulting from both filter backflushing and multiple non-point sources due to rapid urbanization and associated land cover changes.

The objective of this research is to perform a comparative analysis of sedimentation patterns and impacts on three subwatersheds of Beaver Reservoir: Monte Ne, Blackburn Creek, and Prairie Creek in northwest Arkansas. This research will focus on identifying and quantifying point and non-point sources of sediment, thereby creating a sediment budget for the three coves. This study will elucidate impacts of drinking water treatment practices and urbanization on the lacustrine environment and water quality by comparing sedimentation and sediment chemistry within three coves with different land-use, land-cover histories.


The approach will focus on understanding sedimentation in Beaver Reservoir by testing the following hypotheses:

  • How much sedimentation has occurred in the three coves?
  • What are the relative contributions of sediment from various factors?
  • If there has been excessive sedimentation in Monte Ne Cove, was it’s source the Beaver Water District or some other factor?
  • If there has been excessive sedimentation in Monte Ne Cove, what has been the effect on the water quality?

These hypotheses will be tested utilizing an interdisciplinary approach combining environmental geophysics, limnological and geochemical techniques, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

Expected Results:

Results from this research will provide a better understanding of the environmental impacts of municipal drinking water treatment on environmental quality, and insights into urban development sedimentation thresholds as a resource for future study.

Supplemental Keywords:

sediment, sediment budget, drinking water, comparative analysis, Arkansas, Beaver Reservoir,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, aquatic ecosystem, fate and transport, sediment transport, environmental impact, groundwater monitoring, ecological risk, GIS, nutrient monitoring , water quality, drinking water treatment practices

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final