The White River basin originates in northwest Arkansas (AR), southeast of Fayetteville, in the Boston Mountains. Three forks, the White River, the Middle Fork, and the West Fork, come together in Washington County, AR to form the mainstem White River. The White River is first impounded as Lake Sequoyah, a 500-acre impoundment at the junction of the Middle Fork and the White River, near Fayetteville. The White River flows south out of Lake Sequoyah and joins the West Fork before entering Beaver Lake just west of Eureka Springs, AR. The White flows out of Beaver Dam, the first in a series of four hydroelectric dams, northward into Missouri (MO) near the town of Eagle Rock in Barry County. The White then flows eastward where it has been impounded as Table Rock Lake, just below its confluence with the James River near Branson. The White River below Table Rock Lake is again impounded by Powersite Dam near Forsyth, MO and forms Lake Taneycomo. The river then takes a southern turn and flows back into Arkansas where it has again been impounded by Bull Shoals Dam near Cotter in Marion County. The White River flows southeast out of Bull Shoals Dam and exits the Ozark Plateau into the Mississippi Alluvial Plain near Newport, AR. The White River flows in an almost due south direction from where it enters the delta until its confluence with the Mississippi River near Montgomery Point, AR, some 720 miles from its origin.
The portion of the White River basin covered in this document includes all streams and drainages from the point of origin, to the point directly above the White River’s confluence with the Buffalo River near Buffalo City, AR. The term "watershed" or "White River watershed" shall refer hereafter to the watershed covered in this document and the entire "White River basin" will be referred to as such (Figure Lo01). The watershed covers an area that includes parts or all of eight Missouri counties: Barry, Christian, Douglas, Ozark, Stone, Taney, Webster, and Wright (Table Lo01, Figure Lo02). There are twelve Arkansas counties (Figure Lo02) fully or partially in the watershed including: Carroll (all); Madison and Boone (over 90%); Marion (about 75%);Benton and Washington (about 25%); Baxter (about 10%), Newton, and Searcy (less than 10%); and Crawford, Franklin, and Johnson (less than 5%).
Major towns and cities in the watershed include: Branson, Forsyth, Hollister, Kimberling City, and Ava in Missouri and Harrison, Eureka Springs, Berryville, Cotter, and Bull Shoals in Arkansas (Figure Lo03).
The White River watershed includes two United States Geological Survey (USGS) eight-digit hydrologic units (HUC), Beaver Reservoir (11010001) and Bull Shoals Lake (11010003). The two eight-digit HUCs that make up the watershed are further broken down into twenty-five, eleven-digit HUCs (Table Lo02). There are ten 11-digit HUCs that lie either partially or fully in the Missouri portion of the watershed (Figure Lo04). These may be referred to later in the text as situations arise where subwatersheds are looked at in more detail.
Major tributaries in the watershed include, War Eagle Creek, Kings River, Long Creek, and Crooked River, which all originate in Arkansas, and Roaring River, James River, Bull Creek, Swan Creek, Beaver Creek, and Little North Fork White River, which all originate in Missouri (Figure Lo05). A watershed assessment and management plan was completed for the James River basin (HUC 11010002) in 1997 and copies of the plan are available through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Southwest Regional Office in Springfield, MO (Kiner and Vitello 1997).
The Missouri portion of the watershed is bound from west to east by the Elk River basin, James River basin, Gasconade River basin, and North Fork of the White River basin. The Arkansas portion of the watershed is bound from west to east by the Illinois River basin, the Robert S. Kerr Reservoir basin, the Frog Mulberry basin, and the Buffalo River basin.