The North Fork of the White River originates in the vicinity of Mountain Grove in Southeastern Wright County. The river flows in a general southerly direction across Douglas and Ozark counties for 67 miles before emptying into Norfork Reservoir near Tecumseh, Missouri. Norfork Reservoir is a 22,000 acre (at conservation pool) United States Army Corps of Engineers reservoir. The North Fork of the White River is joined by Bryant Creek approximately one half mile north of Tecumseh, Missouri. Bryant Creek, the largest tributary to the North Fork of the White River, originates near Cedar Gap in southwestern Wright County. Bryant Creek flows southeasterly across Douglas and Ozark counties for 71 miles before emptying into the North Fork River.
The North Fork Watershed occupies 1,389 square miles in parts of six counties in the Southern Missouri Ozarks. These counties include Douglas, Howell, Ozark, Texas, Webster, and Wright. The watershed is bound on the north by the Gasconade and the Big Piney Watersheds; on the east by the Jack's Fork, Eleven Point, and Spring River Tributaries Watersheds; and to the west by the White River Tributaries (Bull Shoals Reservoir) Watershed and the James Watershed. For the purposes of this document, the Missouri/Arkansas State Line represents the southern boundary of the watershed unless otherwise stated (Figure Lo01)
The North Fork Watershed has two cities with a population of over 1,000 persons. These are Ava, Missouri (population 2,938) and Mansfield, Missouri (population 1,429)(MSCDC 1997). Both cities are only partially within the watershed. Two towns with populations of over 250 persons are completely within the watershed. These are Bakersfield (population 292) and Gainesville (population 659)
The North Fork Watershed is dissected by several transportation routes. These include six major state routes and one U.S. highway. In addition, one rail line intersects the watershed for a short distance on the watershed,s eastern edge (Figure Lo02)