The Buffalo River, located in northern Arkansas, was the first national river in the United States, so designated by Congress in 1972. This classification protects the river from industries and any obstructions that might impede the water's natural flow. The Buffalo River is approximately 150 miles in length. It originates in the Ozark Mountains and ends by merging with the White River. It is a free-flowing stream and has no dams.
Joe Nix was a water chemist and environmental activist that sought to protect water quality and usage patterns. Nix graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1961 and received a BS in Chemistry. He entered the graduate program at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and studied nuclear geochemistry. He received a Ph.D. there and then began teaching at Ouachita Baptist University, where his research focused on streams in Arkansas. During this time, the environmental movement was building strength and groups began to fight the damming of the Buffalo River. Nix got on board with this movement and joined the Ozark Society. They were successful on achieving National River status for the Buffalo River. Nix served on the following: co-chair, Soil and Water Committee; chair, Natural Resource Committee of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation; chair, State Committee on Stream Preservation; vicechair, State Committee Advisory Committee on Environmental Planning; president, the Ozark Society. He retired from Ouachita Baptist University in 1994 and became Director of Programs for the Ross Foundation in Clark County, Arkansas.
This collection contains materials related to the preservation of the Buffalo River, including correspondence, newsclippings, reports, stream preservation materials, river development plans, and economic impact studies.
Joe Nix Buffalo River Project Records. Riley-Hickingbotham Library Archives and Special Collections, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas.