Tanyard Creek – Bella Vista, Arkansas



Tanyard Creek flows to the Little Sugar Creek watershed, which is a major tributary of the Elk River watershed that lies in both Arkansas and Missouri. Tanyard Creek flows through a Karst landscape where there are cave systems and limestone bluffs throughout the area. Both losing and gaining streams are found in the basin, and the Karst nature results in surface flow and ground water interacting. Historically, unstable streambanks and excessive woody debris were compromising the aquatic and terrestrial habitat of this Karst area. Emphasis on a natural channel design approach to address stream instability, restored and enhanced aquatic habitat and riparian along 2,500 feet of Tanyard Creek including Avalon Branch, which improved in-stream water quality to benefit 13 species of greatest conservation need (SGCN).


Biological sampling was conducted as a component of this project. It is worth noting that the Neosho Midget Crayfish (Orconectes macrus) was found during the post restoration sampling. Several life stages were collected indicating that a substantial population exist. This crayfish is only found within Benton and Washington counties in Arkansas, and may become extirpated if care is not taken to preserve suitable waterways. Prior to this biological assessment, there was not a record of the Neosho Midget Crayfish in Tanyard Creek.The restoration efforts on Tanyard Creek appear to have increasedhabitat quality and biotic integrity. However, to increase ecological support for these initial results, monitoring of stream habitat and biological communities must be maintained into the future. By tracking metrics based on macroinvertebrate assemblages, restoration partners can evaluate the success of restoration activities in mitigating the influence of watershed uses on the biotic health of Tanyard Creek.

Catastrophic flooding occurred on December 27-28, 2016 at the project site. Though the event was comparable to the flood in August of 2013, where 25 feet of streambank was lost in some places along Tanyard Creek, the newly constructed stream restoration functioned very well and protected streambanks and maintained riffle and pool features. Vegetation was established enough, that it held the newly constructed wood benches in place.

Additional Project Photos