Arkansas Department of Natural Resources

In Arkansas, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) manages and protects the water and land resources of Arkansas, for the health, safety and economic benefit of the people in the state.  ANRC is established pursuant to A.C.A. § 15-20-201.  ANRC shall consist of nine members who are residents and electors of this state.  The nine members of ANRC are appointed by the governor of the state with the advice and consent of the senate[i].  The executive director of the ANRC shall be the ex officio secretary of ANRC, but s/he does not have any right to vote on matters coming before it[ii].

The powers and duties that the ANRC is required to perform are found under A.C.A. § 15-20-207.  The ANRC shall have the authority to:

  • to enter into negotiations with the duly authorized representatives of adjoining states relating to the protection and use of interstate waters;
  • to cooperate with similar agencies existing in other states, several federal departments, and civic organizations interested in and devoted to water and soil conservation and flood control and prevention;
  • to cooperate with local organizations in the development and prosecution of plans for the construction, operation, and maintenance of pools, lakes, reservoirs, dams, levees, ditches, canals, waterways, pumping works, and other facilities;
  • to cooperate with counties, municipalities, and the respective instrumentalities in the development and prosecution of plans for water supplies for domestic, municipal, industrial, and other purposes in connection with the construction, maintenance, and operation of federal navigation, flood control, irrigation, or multiple purpose projects; and
  • to cooperate with the several federal agencies in the development of their plans for federal public works under the Public Works Acceleration Act or other similar federal law.


In addition, the Arkansas Waterways Commission (AWC) was established to promote the development of the navigable stream areas in state of Arkansas for water transportation purposes.  AWC is established pursuant to A.C.A. § 15-23-201.  AWC also encourages and coordinate the development of river port and harbor facilities in the state.  The duties of AWC is laid down under A.C.A. § 15-23-202.  Some of the duties of AWC are:

  • to recommend to the proper officials critical commercial and recreational navigation information to promote public safety and expedite water transportation;
  • to receive and use any federal, state or private funds, donations and grants made available for the development, use and expansion of river transportation resources of the state;
  • to represent Arkansas in the promotion of the development of commercial water transportation; and
  • to cooperate with other states, other agencies of this state, or agencies of the U.S. government to develop the commercial use of the waterways in this state.


Further the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) protects the state’s natural diversity.  The ANHC was established pursuant to A.C.A. § 15-20-304 in 1973.  The ANHC identifies and protects the state’s remaining high-quality natural communities.  The ANHC consists of fifteen members.  The responsibilities of ANHC include:

  • establishing and protecting the Arkansas System of Natural Areas;
  • collecting and maintaining information on the rare plant, animal, and high-quality natural communities of Arkansas; and
  • providing data and information regarding the natural diversity of Arkansas.


Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission

Arkansas Waterways Commission

[i] A.C.A. § 15-20-202.

[ii] A.C.A. § 15-20-204.

Inside Arkansas Department of Natural Resources