Over 329 volunteers have participated so far, with another 140 volunteers committed through March, to plant over 3,500 native trees and shrubs as part of the 9th Annual Riparian Project! Through the leadership of IRWP Board members Scott Carney and Robyn Reed, we have established TWO tree farms for Fall 2016 riparian projects – Flint Creek Power Plant Tree Farm and Boston Mountain Solid Waste District Tree Farm.

Tree Farm Collage 2016IRWP Tree Farms at AEP/Swepco, Gentry & Boston Mountain Solid Waste, Prairie Grove

Thanks to the Cities of Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Prairie Grove, and Siloam Springs for their support and participation in this year’s Riparian Project.  Rogers’ Mayor Greg Hines and Springdale’s Mayor Doug Sprouse both helped plant trees and helped clean out trash from nearby creeks in Rogers and Springdale on Saturday!

 Mayor Riparian CollageMayor Hines (Rogers) & Mayor Sprouse (Springdale) participate at the 9th Annual Riparian Project

We also want to recognize and thank these team leaders at the following riparian sites and creek/river cleanups:

Becky Roark, IRWP – Osage Creek tributary, Rogers

Chas McCoy, IRWP – Spring Creek/Lake Springdale, Springdale

Tracie Ashley, IRWP – Illinois River, Prairie Grove

Ralph Weber – McKisic Creek, Bentonville

Lauren Ray – Townbranch Creek, Fayetteville

Kelly Escarcega, JBU – Sager Creek, Siloam Springs

John Chapman, TNC – Healing Springs

Ed Fite – Todd Public Access, Tahlequah, OK


2016 Riparian CollageVolunteers helping with the 9th Annual Riparian Project!


Cities and Groups participating in 2016 Riparian Project:

City of Springdale

City of Rogers

City of Bentonville

City of Fayetteville

City of Siloam Springs

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission

The Nature Conservancy

Keith & Elise Bostian – Landowners on the Illinois River

Prairie Grove E.A.S.T.

Arvest Bank, Springdale Downtown

Arvest Bank, Westville

Westwood Elementary, Springdale

NWA Young Marines

Camp War Eagle

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints

Teen Action Support Center

Just Serve Volunteers

Helen Tyson Middle School E.A.S.T.

Team Springdale

University of Arkansas Greek Life: Alpha Chi Omega, Pi Beta Phi, SIA, Kappa Delta, Phi Delta Theta

Cave Springs 4-H Club

West Fork volunteers

US Fish & Wildlife Service

John Brown University Students & Faculty

American Heritage Girls – Siloam Springs

Rogers High School Outdoor CARE students and teacher Jeff Belk

Mercy Hospital volunteers


Walmart volunteers

NWA Master Naturalists

Arkansas Forestry Commission

McKee Foods for snacks

Keep Arkansas Beautiful for supplies


What is a “Riparian” Project? 

A riparian buffer zone is the area of land next to a creek, stream, river, or lake. That area of land is very important to water quality.  A healthy riparian buffer has lots of trees, grasses and shrubs that help improve water quality as they:

  1. Decrease streambank erosion
  2. Filter sediments and pollutants commonly found in runoff
  3. Provide stormwater storage,
  4. Increase wildlife habitat
  5. Provide cooler water and air temperatures which are good for fish
  6. Increase groundwater infiltration

Why does the IRWP have an annual Riparian Project? It’s one of the best ways we can help improve, protect and restore the Illinois River Watershed!   Riparian buffers provide environmental and recreational benefits to creeks, streams, and rivers, and improve water quality and downstream land areas. Everyone can help plant a tree and protect our watershed!



 Youngest Riparian Tree Volunteer!

Check out more photos from the 9th Annual Riparian Project on our IRWP Facebook page!