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Stream Habitat Program

More than 90,000 miles of streams lace The Natural State, from the mighty Arkansas River to small creeks you can jump across. These rivers, streams, bayous, creeks and springs provide millions of hours of recreational activity, millions of gallons of drinking water, water for irrigation and industry, and millions of dollars of income to the state and its citizens.

Unfortunately, we’ve hurt the quality of many waterways. We’ve lost thousands of miles of free-flowing, natural streams to damming, industrial and agricultural pollution and other activities. Recent studies indicate we’ve lost more than 25 percent of the state’s smallmouth bass streams this century.

The Stream Habitat program enables concerned citizens to become involved in stream and watershed conservation. Efforts revolve around three primary aspects of stream conservation: education, advocacy and stewardship.

Education Programs and Workshops

Stream Habitat Coordinators provide information to increase understanding and appreciation of Arkansas stream systems. Volunteers receive training in water-quality monitoring, riparian area management, fish and wildlife habitat improvements, best management practices and streambank maintenance and restoration techniques.

Our Coordinators are willing to work with you and your group to develop an appropriate educational program or workshop. We have worked with kindergarten classes up through senior citizens. These programs and workshops can vary in length from a 30-minute crash course to a multiple day event.

  • Understanding Streams (discusses hydrology, stream dynamics, and aquatic ecosystems.)
  • Macroinvertebrate Identification and what they tell us about Water Quality
  • Water Chemistry (Chemical analysis training for streams, and parameters for the different ecoregions.)
  • Streambank Restoration Techniques and Sediment Reduction
  • The Importance of Riparian Areas and Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • How to correctly Plant a Tree
  • Advocacy Workshop
  • Fish Identification
  • Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians) Workshop
  • Mussel Workshop
  • Stream Team Data Management, Analysis and Reporting
  • Arkansas Water Law and Policy

For more information, please contact your Stream Habitat Coordinator.


One of the missions of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Stream Habitat Program is to promote aquatic conservation through advocacy. Localized ‘Stream Teams’ are often comprised of citizens with first-hand knowledge of problems, needs, and solutions; and are better equipped to weigh both sides of a stream issue and speak out on behalf of Arkansas rivers and streams. This tool kit will provide basic information on identifying your audience, developing your advocacy message, different types of communication, and communication templates.

Stream Team Citizen Scientist Aquatic Conservation Advocacy Tool Kit


The Stream Habitat program helps landowners and stream users plan and carry out projects by matching them with the appropriate agency or ongoing organizational efforts. Litter control, streambank stabilization, streamside tree plantings, improvement of fish and wildlife habitat, water-quality monitoring and other special projects are all possible. Working with landowners, volunteers have repaired hundreds of miles of eroding streambanks, monitored water quality on thousands of miles of streams and have picked up tons of litter.

Stream Habitat program members can adopt a stream, determine its current situation and plan a project based on their initial survey. This is done with the landowner’s approval and technical assistance from program sponsors. Projects can include litter pick-ups, water-quality monitoring, streambank erosion control, watershed improvement and more. Your imagination is the only limitation.

If you would like to learn more about the Stream Habitat Program, or if you would like to receive assistance in implementing habitat improvements on your private land, click here to register. 

Stream Team Mapper

Click the button below to open Stream Team Mapper.

Advance Citizen Science Data Submission

For teams that followed the Stream Team Standard Operating Procedures and quality assurance protocols.

Entry Level Stream Team Data Submission

For teams just starting out in the Stream Team monitoring and may have data that not collected to the level of the Advanced Citizen Scientists. ​

If in doubt, please contact your Stream Habitat Coordinator or use this portal.

Streambank and Aquatic Habitat Improvements

Sediment is the number one pollutant in Arkansas and the United States. With over 90,000 miles of flowing water in Arkansas, the number of possible streambanks with erosion problems can cause significant problems to our aquatic resources. The Arkansas Stream Team Program assists landowners in developing an appropriate course of action to restore and stabilize eroding streambanks, and will assist with the process of navigating appropriate funding sources and necessary permitting.

Projects can include litter pick-ups, water quality monitoring, native riparian tree and shrub planting, streambank restoration, and watershed improvement.

Protecting Your Investment | A Landowner’s Guide to Riparian Areas

Funding for Private Landowners

There are several funding opportunities designed to assist landowners in restoring in-stream habitat and eroding streambanks. We suggest contacting your local Stream Habitat Coordinator and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine which is appropriate for you. Here is a short list of some commonly utilized funding sources.

Cash, in-kind services, providing equipment, and/or labor (such as operating equipment, building fence, planting trees, etc.).

Stream Team Program Funds. These funds can be used for any portion of the project. It cannot exceed $5,000 or 25% of the actual total cost of the project, whichever comes first.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. This program is for the enhancement of Threatened and Endangered Species habitats.

Barrier Removals and Aquatic Habitat Restoration. In cooperation with USFWS and NFHP (National Fish Habitat Partnership). Money is funneled through USFWS, checks disbursed by the Arkansas Wildlife Federation.

Cost share through the USFWS for riparian exclusion fencing, water gaps, and alternative livestock watering facilities.

Wetlands & Riparian Zone Tax Credit. Must have prior approval for your project before construction begins to receive tax reimbursements.

Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). This funding is for streambank stabilization, riparian vegetation establishment, livestock fencing, and livestock watering facilities.

CP22 Riparian Forest Buffer, CP29 Marginal Pastureland Wildlife Habitat Buffer. These practices come with soil rental payments for those who qualify. Basically the – Continuous Conservation Reserve Program or CCRP.


Most streambank and instream habitat restoration projects will require several Clean Water Act permits from state and federal agencies. The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment’s Division of Environmental Quality will review and approve authorization of Section 401 Clean Water Act permits prior to issuance of federal permits and licenses to ensure that proposed projects will not violate state water quality standards. The decision to issue a Section 401 water quality certification rests with the DEQ director and is based on compliance with APC&EC Regulation 2, Establishing Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Arkansas.

The United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for the issuance of 404 Permits. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act established this permitting program to control the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. This also includes utility crossings. This permit is often called a “dredge and fill” permit and it does not absolve the permittee of responsibility towards other regulations. The federal 404 permit states that the permittee must use best management practices to avoid water quality violations. To find out more information, please visit DEQ’s website.

This authorization is required for any instream activities that may violate Arkansas water quality criteria. Obtaining permits is the responsibility of the applicant. The state of Arkansas is divided between three different Corps of Engineers districts:

To determine what district you are in, visit the USACE website and click on Arkansas map under Regulatory Boundaries. Then contact the appropriate district via permit manager by state to apply for a permit.

Success Stories

Mulberry River restoration featured on Arkansas Wildlife Television


Tim Burnley

Stream Habitat Program Supervisor

Phone 870-455-4702
For more information, write to: State Stream Habitat Coordinator, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205, or call Tim Burnley at 877-425-7577, Ext. 1426.