Ozark National Scenic Riverways is influenced by a variety of environmental factors. As a karst area, the local and regional hydrologic cycle has a significant impact on the springs, their wildlife and their contribution to the flow of the rivers.
The area is subject to flooding, in most years there is a spring and fall flood, although a period of drought over recent years has lessened this impact.
The shortleaf pine forests are also influenced by a fire cycle, which is now managed via prescribed burns. Any activities that adversely affect water quality, either surface or subsurface, can have a significant impact on the health of park resources. Fortunately, the surrounding area is rural, although there are concerns about mining, agricultural, and community development issues as they relate to possible risks to park resources.