Water Proof is a new segment of Upstream Matters, dedicated to sharing facts and information about our watershed and actions that we can all take to preserve and protect it.

Today is National Protect Your Groundwater Day!   That gives us the wonderful opportunity to join with other conservation efforts around the country in helping to protect our abundant water and natural resources.  Sounds like a good idea for every day!

National Groundwater Day 2013

Groundwater is a major source of the available water supply in the Illinois River Watershed and many towns bear the names of these natural springs – Cave Springs, Elm Springs, Siloam Springs, Healing Springs, Springtown, and Springdale.

These cities and townships were settled because of the water, both ground and surface water that historically provided drinking water for people, animals, and crops to sustain growing populations in the region.

Many of the major tributaries to the Illinois River in Northwest Arkansas begin from a groundwater source  – a spring that bubbles up at the headwaters of Osage Creek in Rogers; Spring Creek in Springdale; Clear Creek in Fayetteville; Sager Creek in Siloam Springs; and Flint Creek in Springtown.

Cave Springs, Arkansas

Underground springs in Cave Springs, Arkansas


On Protect Your Groundwater Day, NGWA urges you to ACT – Acknowledge, Consider, Take action. Use this day to begin doing your part for protecting one of our most important natural resources — groundwater.

4 Ways to Protect Your Groundwater 

  1. Avoid groundwater contamination from household substances by using, storing, and disposing of them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  2. Conserve water by modifying your usage and installing a water-saving device
  3. If you use a septic system, get regular inspections and cleaning
  4. If you own a water well, move possible contamination sources a safe distance from the wellhead and get annual water well system inspections


Protecting our groundwater is something we work on every day here at the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.  With offices at our newly established Watershed Sanctuary in Cave Springs, we have plenty of opportunity to appreciate our groundwater.  Out of our underground cave spring flows 6,000,000 gallons (that’s SIX MILLION GALLONS) of water per day on average at a temperature of 54 degrees!

And today, we are bringing best practices in watershed management to Bernice Young Elementary School in Springdale Har-Ber Meadows.

As part of our Clean Water Raingers program, Captain Marshall Mitchell will perform original songs accompanied by stunning photographs from around the Illinois River Watershed. Today’s program marks the education of over 20,000 children and teachers over the last 3 years while helping schools meet the common core curriculum in science and literature.

Marshall Mitchell and Clean Water Raingers

Captain Marshall of the Clean Water Raingers

The Clean Water Rainger program makes learning fun for K-5th grades as they learn the water cycle, the importance of trees and native plants, and ways they can help to protect our watershed.

Students will receive the 2013 Indie Award winning “Watershed Adventure” CD and book illustrated by Jack Desrocher.  The design of the book was done by Greg Jackson of Thinkpen Design, with stories and songs written by Marshall Mitchell and activities created by Jennifer Michaels.

Clean Water Raingers Book and NIEA Award

Clean Water Raingers “Watershed Adventure”

Following the educational program, students will put into practice what they have just learned through music and will install a rain garden on campus to help reduce rain water runoff, increase water infiltration and filter contaminants through the soil in order to protect our rivers, lakes and streams.

Prairie Grove Middle School students at Senior Ctr planting

 Prairie Grove Middle School Students Installing Rain Garden

“Rain Gardens are our ‘Nature’s Filter’”, says Becky Roark, IRWP Rain Garden Resource Specialist who oversees the installation of over 60 rain gardens in the Illinois River and Beaver Lake Watersheds.

What will you do today to protect your groundwater? 
If you’re a business wanting to install a Rain Garden, or a teacher looking to bring the Clean Water Raingers program to your school, leave us a comment – we can help!


Additional Resources:

National Ground Water Association

Clean Water Raingers

Rain Garden How-To

Illinois River Watershed Partnership