December 2021

Message From
Executive Director,
Cathy Stepp
The holidays are finally here, as we begin to be surrounded by the warmth, kindness, and fellowship that unwraps like the cherished present on Christmas morning. We get to see all the wonderful stories, miracles, and generosity flow throughout our community. Christmas is less than a month away and many may be looking for ways to have a lasting impact this year and for the years to come.

With the thoughts of caring and wanting to do more this season, we ask that you consider investing in Ozarks Water Watch - H2Ozarks and our commitment to having cleaner water in the Ozarks. Yesterday, like many wonderful non-profit organizations we kicked off the #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign. If you are looking for ways to have a significant impact locally, we would be honored if you would consider us.

Your contribution will help us fund more initiatives to help protect our watersheds through increased monitoring with our Stream Teams, Clean Marina program outreach, Septic Remediation programs, and increased education. All of our programs wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the generous support from passionate individuals, businesses and volunteers. Your investment will ensure that we will have Cleaner Water Together!

It's time to Make It Happen and Give Back... #GivingTuesday - Donate Today!
Colder Temperatures Are Coming...Is Your System Ready?
If you have a septic system, now is a good time to learn about how to care for your system in freezing temperatures.

BEFORE WINTER: Now is a great time to have the septic tank pumped (it's recommended every 3-5 years) and have a septic professional inspect your system.

If you are expecting holiday guests this season, you want to be sure that your system is functioning as it should be (speaking from experience, an emergency holiday service call can be costly). If you are not sure where your septic tank is located or what your system components are, ask a septic professional to help you or reach out to Shelly, our Septic Remediation Program Manager.

Other ways you can prepare for cold temperatures:

  • Fix any plumbing leaks in your home. A slow trickle of water through the pipes can freeze and allow ice to build up.

  • Let your grass grow. This adds an extra layer of insulation, which can be very important especially if your lines are buried shallow. If this is the case, you can also add a layer of mulch over your pipes, tank, and lateral field for insulation.

DURING WINTER: On sub-freezing days, spread out your water usage. Space out laundry and dishwashing cycles – warm water ‘heats’ the system. If you are planning a vacation, leave the heat on in your home and consider having someone come over to run warm water through your pipes periodically.

Signs your system might be frozen:

  • Toilets will not flush

  • Sinks are not draining. This includes all kitchen and bathroom drain – if frozen these are essentially "clogged" with ice. Appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher will not drain.

  • If you have a pump and you hear water constantly running to the pump tank or the pump turning on and off, your system may be frozen. Shut off your pump and call a septic professional.

If you suspect your system has frozen, contact a septic professional. Do not add anything to your system, attempt to warm your components yourself, or pump the tank.

If your septic system is failing, we have resources that may be able to help with the cost of repair or replacement! To learn more about our Septic Remediation Program visit: If you are having an issue with your septic system and would like to talk with our Program Manager, complete the form HERE and we will contact you promptly!
StreamSmart Gets New Equipment to Help Monitor Water Quality!
Whether it’s a new phone or an updated computer, we all love getting new technologies that enhance our lives or allow us to do our jobs even better. At OWW, we are grateful to have received new equipment that will allow us to better track water quality throughout the Beaver Lake Watershed.

Thanks to generous support from our partners, the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission – each StreamSmart team of citizen scientists will get new dissolved oxygen (DO) meter to measure at their stream sites!

Just as we need oxygen in the air to survive, aquatic animals and plants need oxygen that is dissolved in water. When oxygen levels change too much, fish and other aquatic life can be impacted. Unfortunately, some rivers in the Beaver Lake Watershed are listed as impaired due to low DO. With our new equipment, we can help track and monitor changes in DO across our sites.

For more information about StreamSmart, or how to become a volunteer citizen-scientist, visit our website or click the link HERE.
Where Does Roaring River Water Come From?
Earlier this year, exploration dive teams swam through the depths of Roaring River Spring with no end in sight, hitting a depth of 472 feet, ranking Roaring River Spring as the deepest natural spring in the United States to date.

While dive teams explored how deep the cavern went, hydrologists Ben Miller and Bob Lerch spent their time researching and learning more by conducting dye-tracing tests in the area surrounding Roaring River Spring to determine the extent of the water recharge basin.

Like the divers who have been unable to find the bottom, the extent of the recharge basin is another unknown. But what the surveys have found is that Roaring River Spring, the 20th largest in the state and the largest spring in Southwest Missouri, shares water underground with the largest spring in Northwest Arkansas and yet nobody is exactly sure where the water comes from. Read the Full Story Here.
Reuse and Repurpose for the Holidays!
So the holiday packages are beginning to arrive daily and stacking up quicker than the little elves can put them away. What can you do with all those cardboard boxes now that the gifts are beautifully presented under the tree?

Did you know that we generate a significant amount of waste over the holidays, nearly 25% more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? One way to help decrease that number is to use the packaging from holiday items and make decorations out of them, some that can be recycled after or used again next year.

Needing some ideas? The City of Springfield Environmental Services has some creative ways to reuse and repurpose those packages with memorable holiday crafts perfect for the whole family to have fun and enjoy. See Ideas HERE.
You Hear Us Talk About Our Watershed, So What Is It Exactly?
A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel. Watersheds can be as small as a footprint or large enough to encompass all the land that drains water into them.

The word watershed is sometimes used interchangeably with drainage basin or catchment. Ridges and hills that separate two watersheds are called the drainage divide. The watershed consists of surface water--lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands--and all the underlying groundwater. Larger watersheds contain many smaller watersheds. It all depends on the outflow point; all of the lands that drain water to the outflow point is the watershed for that outflow location. Watersheds are important because the streamflow and the water quality of a river are affected by things, we do or don't do to protect them.

Here's a VIDEO that explains what a watershed is, and why it's so important to protect them!
Looking For Holiday Energy Savings?
Looking for ways to save energy and prevent the Holiday Energy spike?

We know that this might seem like a tall order. After all, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without the extra cooking and baking, the houseguests, the Christmas decorations, and a plethora of lights.

So what are some ideas...?

  • Turn the thermostat down. The general rule of thumb is that you can save around 3% on your heating bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down.
  • Position your decorations. Be careful to avoid blocking your radiators this festive season. Keep your decorations away from your heaters in order to maximize the amount of heat given out.
  • Swap to LED lights. LED holiday lights use up to 90% less electricity than standard incandescent lights. Also, LED bulbs are cooler to the touch than incandescent bulbs, posing less risk of fire.
  • Timing Is Everything. Use a timer for your lights. This will ensure that you don’t forget to turn them off when they can’t be enjoyed (i.e. late at night or during daylight hours). Consequently, you can end up saving a bundle on electricity.
  • Thwart The Energy Vampires. Even when switched off, your electrical décor still consumes small amounts of electricity. Curb the waste by plugging all of your decorations into power strips. When you switch off the strip, all of your lighted paraphernalia will stop draining electricity from the wall outlet.
  • Fire Up The Grill. Consider grilling your main entrees, like turkey or ham. Not only will this save you money on electricity compared to using the oven, but it also won’t heat up your home. Plus, your guests will love it!
  • Use The Dishwasher. What better gift to give yourself this year than the gift of relaxation. You hosted the dinner, why should you be expected to clean up afterward while everyone else is caroling the night away? Besides, for larger loads, the dishwasher can actually save you more time and money than manual washing.
There’s a certain charm to getting a real Christmas tree. Getting a real tree means the opportunity to visit a Christmas tree farm. Wandering through rows of trees to find the perfect pine is a most wonderful family activity for the most wonderful time of the year.

There are a few tree farms you can visit to not only find your tree but enjoy some seasonal treats, too. Read the full 417 Magazine Story Here.
When Shopping use this LINK: SMILE.AMAZON.COM/CH/43-1942991
The Ozarks Water Watch Staff
David Casaletto
Cathy Stepp
Executive Director
Carin Love
Internal Operations Manager
Eric Simon
Communications Manager
Erin Scott
Senior Policy and Program Director
Shelly Dare Smith
Arkansas Program Manager