The goal of the Arkansas SRA was to use the best available statewide datasets in conjunction with input from resource experts from local NRCS staff and conservation partners to quantify the extent and distribution of potentially 31 NRCS recognized natural resource concerns. Of the total 31 NRCS identified natural resource concerns, it was agreed upon by the project team that only 29 of those would apply within Arkansas; therefore it was those 29 that were focused upon during the initial inventory. Development of “weighted sum” raster-based GIS models within phase I of the SRA has helped to identify the distribution of these natural resource concerns, as well as depict the relative impacts of each of the 29 natural resource concerns within Arkansas. The resulting models (raster GIS layers) depicted the extent of each of the 29 resource concerns modeled (one raster output per model) and were used to summarize how many acres of the state have been potentially impacted. The at-risk acres were computed by summarizing the area (acres) of each resulting model output where the resulting raster values were greater than or equal to one. Essentially the relative risk estimated from the ‘weighted sum models’ was not relevant to the inventory of the total acres at risk within Arkansas. Additionally, the assessment was to determine how many at-risk acres fall within the priority area delineations.
The compilation of this statewide inventory of information will be leveraged to help guide and prioritize the Arkansas NRCS office efforts over the next five years. One of the primary requirements and deliverables requested from the NRCS national guidance was the completion of a summary worksheet for Arkansas’ resource concerns. Within the standardized spreadsheet, each State was to summarize the extent (acres) of these at-risk areas for each natural resource concern and to provide a summary of the total acres within Arkansas that have already received treatment or are currently receiving conservation treatment through NRCS programs. The NRCS Little Rock office was responsible for summarizing the total acres receiving treatment and inserting those totals into the statewide summary report and therefore, these data were not compiled by CAST. The summary of acres needing treatment and NRCS priority rank values were compiled by staff within NRCS at the Little Rock office and included within the Arkansas summary spreadsheet report submitted to NRCS headquarters in June 2011. These summary worksheets were compiled using the best available data and NRCS program information available during the eight weeks of data collection and were intended to give NRCS headquarters an idea of the magnitude of these 31 natural resource concerns within each state.