If you take a stroll along the Razorback Greenway trail system in Northwest Arkansas, keep your eyes open for some special demonstration projects that have been completed to improve water quality for the Illinois River Watershed.

Five green infrastructure demonstration projects have been completed along various trailheads along the Razorback Greenway. The greenway is a multi-use trail system spanning the central corridor of northwest Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Springdale, Johnson, Lowell, Rogers, Bentonville and Bella Vista. Along the Greenway are designated areas for parking, named trailheads, as they are the access point for the beginning of a trail. With parking and amenities, these trailheads are a prime opportunity for communities to demonstrate green infrastructure to cyclist, walkers, runners and families that enjoy the trails each day.

Greenway Slide

Razorback Greenway Trail System Corridor 

Green Infrastructure is the use of vegetation and porous materials to allow rain water to soak into the ground and reduce problems runoff can cause, such as erosion, flooding and transferring pollutants to nearby waterways. Many of the Razorback Greenway’s trails run along urban creeks and streams, and most are tributaries to the Illinois River. Our watershed boasts over 1,200 miles of creeks and streams, and the Illinois River and its tributaries have many designated uses set forth by the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APCEC), including fisheries, primary and secondary contact recreation, drinking water supply, and agricultural and industrial water supply.

Installations of rain gardens, bioswales, porous pavers, porous pathways and native plants make up the green infrastructure elements installed. IRWP worked with the City of Fayetteville, City of Springdale, City of Johnson, City of Rogers and the new Amazeum facility to incorporate these elements into the construction of the five trailheads. Check out some of the highlights from this water quality demonstration grant project, made possible through the EPA 319 Program and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, with additional funding provided by an Arkansas Forestry Commission Urban Riparian Forestry grant to the IRWP to plant trees, install green infrastructure demonstration elements, and provide educational signage and programming along the Razorback Greenway. We appreciate all of our sponsors, partners, volunteers and staff that make good things possible for the Illinois River Watershed.

Amazeum Collage

Scott Family Amazeum Museum & Trailhead, Bentonville (Completed Spring 2015)

  • 7,700 square feet of rain gardens
  • Bioretention area with 10,535 square feet of floodplain wildlife mix incorporated to treat parking lot.
  • 2,975 Native Plants planted
  • 120 Trees planted
  • Educational signage installed

Rogers Collage2
Rogers Mercy Trailhead, Rogers (Completed Summer 2014)

  • 5,400 square feet of impervious area treated by a 1,800 square feet bioswale
  • 531 native plants planted
  • 18 Native Trees planted at parking lot site
  • 400 Square yards of native grass area sod
  • 258 People volunteered 762 hours to conduct Trail clean-ups and plant tree seedlings for riparian restoration (2014-2016)
  • Educational signage installed at Trailhead and for Riparian Restoration
  • Mercy Hospital Partnership established to continue to work on phases of riparian restoration along their urban properties that border the Razorback Greenway and headwater ephemeral streams of Osage Creek.
  • 935 linear feet riparian restored with 400 Native tree seedlings
  • 2 community events at trailhead with 975 participants
  • EPA Region 6 Administrator, Ron Curry, visited this GI Project accompanied by 3rd District Congressman Steve Womack’s Project Director, and Delia Haak, IRWP
  • Award winning design with CEI Engineering for Water Resources

Springdale Collage

Lake Springdale Trailhead, Springdale (Completed Spring 2016)

  • 4,000 Square feet of impervious parking area draining to a 2,500 square feet bioswale
  • 649 native plants installed to filter and treat parking lot runoff
  • 6 trees planted at bioswale area, 27 additional native trees (1-2” caliper) planted in partnership with the Arkansas Forestry Commission, City of Springdale, Kawneer, Springdale EAST and IRWP
  • 250 linear feet of streambank planted
  • 1,000 native grasses planted at riparian area
  • 300 tree seedlings planted from IRWP tree farm in riparian restoration area
  • 311 people volunteered 723 hours in conservation and education at Lake Springdale trailhead (2015-2016)
  • Educational signage installed at Trailhead project and riparian restoration area

johnson Collage2Carol E. Van Scyoc Trailhead, Johnson (Completed Fall 2015)

  • 445 Square foot rain garden installed
  • 136 native plants installed in rain garden
  • 12 Native trees (1-2” caliper) installed in partnership with the Arkansas Forestry Commission
  • 240 square feet of pervious pathway installed
  • 600 square feet of porous pavers installed
  • Educational signage installed

Fayetteville Collage

Gordon Long Park Trailhead, Fayetteville (Completed Spring 2016)

  • 12 Parking spots designed with 1,546 square feet of pervious pavers
  • 894 square feet of additional pervious pavers installed
  • 600 square feet of grass pavers
  • 90 linear feet of flush curbs
  • 5,178 square feet of land acquisition by City of Fayetteville
  • 390 square foot bioswale installed
  • 50 native plants and 3 trees planted
  • Permeable paver demo cube and educational signage installed
  • 96 volunteer contributed 179 hours to conduct creek clean-ups at Scull Creek

These trailhead projects will demonstrate water quality improvements, environmental benefits and how an investment in Green Infrastructure will lead to cost effective, replicable benefits to water quality in the Illinois River Watershed.

To learn more about green infrastructure, visit:

Illinois River Watershed Partnership

US E.P.A. Green Infrastructure

Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

Arkansas Forestry Commission