The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith was recently named a 2020 Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation for utilizing groundwater-friendly practices and practicing environmental stewardship. UAFS is currently the only location in Arkansas to hold this designation.
The Groundwater Guardian Green Site designation acknowledges the ground and surface water-friendly practices implemented across the 170-acre UAFS campus. The comprehensive application and documentation process was completed by Matt Rich, grounds manager for UAFS and its grounds management company, Southeast Service Corporation.
“The Groundwater Green Site Guardian recognition is a great addition to the growing awards and accolades at UAFS,” said Rich. “The best part about this recognition is that we were able to learn many new things about our site that we wouldn’t have thought of. Simply applying for this recognition helped us make this campus better.”
The designation is determined by a score of 70 percent or higher on a series of questions about grounds management, including frequency of soil testing, fertilizer and pesticide application, plant selection, and water usage practices and conservation.
“We scored a 91.9 percent on our current methods, and though that far surpasses the minimum requirement, it tells me we still have room to improve,” said Rich. “It gave us ideas of what we can do to improve or how to better maintain areas than before. It also helped us see the big picture, because sometimes we are caught in the weeds a little too much.”
By employing and improving on these practices, Rich and his crew are ensuring that UAFS continues to protect and conserve local water supplies.
The Groundwater Foundation is a nonprofit based out of Lincoln, Nebraska, with a mission to connect people, business and communities through local groundwater education and action. The Groundwater Guardian Green Sites program began in 2007 to recognize good stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers of highly managed green spaces to implement, measure and document their groundwater-friendly practices.
More information on the Groundwater Foundation, including a full list of Green Sites, can be found at groundwater.org.