Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free stream-restoration brochure to download

Center for Watershed Protection free download of stream-protection brochures

Center Releases Urban Stream Repair Practices for free download Ellicott City, MD - In an effort to ensure that every community is equipped with the guidance needed to repair streams as part of larger watershed restoration efforts, the Center for Watershed Protection is now making Manual 4: Urban Stream Repair Practices of the Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual Series available permanently for free download.

This manual focuses on practices used to enhance the appearance, stability, structure, or function of urban streams. It includes guidance on how to set appropriate restoration goals for your stream, and how to choose the best combination of stream repair practices to meet them.

This Manual, released in 2004, now joins Manuals 1, 2, and 3 in the Manual Series that are now available for free download.

Download these four Manuals by visiting the Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual Series website.

Coming Soon...
The final article of the Wetlands and Watersheds Article Series will soon be released: Article 5: The Next Generation of Stormwater Wetlands. You will receive an email as soon as it is released - BEFORE it is posted on the website! Be sure to click on this button to make sure your colleagues get the latest info too.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

St. Paul's Episcopal Church site of February 16, 2008, Sierra awards banquet

February 16, 2008

The Sierra Club Conservation Awards

Please join us as we honor Arkansas businesses, legislators, community organizations, and individuals who have made accomplishments in the way of conservation and protection of our state’s natural resources.
February 16, 2008
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 
224 N East Ave.
Fayetteville AR.
Doors open for the Silent Auction at 6 pm. 
Dinner, provided by Greenhouse Grille, will be served at 6:30 pm. 
Ticket prices:
$25 in advance
$30 at the door
$15 Students

To reserve advance tickets, please mail your payment to the address below by February 9th. Make checks payable to OHG Sierra Club. For more informaion contact Molly Rawn @ 479.527.9499 or HYPERLINK ""
Molly Rawn
1239 E Cain Dr
Fayetteville AR 72703

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rain dampens attendance at February 11, 2008, Ward Four meeting

Red Oak Park in the Northwest Arkansas Times

The Government Channel video from Monday's Ward Four meeting ran once on Cox Cable Channel 16 Tuesday Feb. 11, 2007) and is to run again late Wednesday evening (tonight), after the replay of the City Council session to set the agenda for the coming week and after a replay of a week-old subcommittee meeting of the Telecom Board to discuss the performance report on the CAT channel 18. For more listings for the Government Channel 16 on Cox Cable replay of the Red Oak Park/Ward Four meeting, please see

aubunique blogspot

Please see links of interest at right for Red Oak Park photos and rain-garden brochures.

The first photo I posted (bottom photo) was a view from the street south of the park showing the south end of the park. From that spot I heard water loudly pouring from the storm-drain outlets that drop water into the park. The Night Shot function of my camera and my built-in flash don't work at a significant distance. And, without someone to on hand to rescue me, I didn't choose to got down into the gully for better pictures of water leaving the storm sewer from the upstream subdivisions.
The middle photo shows a small flow after several bursts of heavy rain had ended.
The top photo shows the upstream (south opening) of the pipe that carries water under New Bridge, which is near the north end of the Red Oak Park. This spot must become a big pond for a brief time when a really heavy, extended period of rain occurs.

The WARD FOUR meeting between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Monday Feb. 11, 2008, got something accomplished. The relatively small group of people who attended — during a significant thunderstorm with the threat of ice to follow — agreed (mostly quietly) that the two City Council members representing Ward Four — Councilwoman SHIRLEY LUCAS and Alderman LIONELD JORDAN — should go ahead and bring up to the full council a Red Oak Park plan that would include allowing the Game and Fish plan prepared by Dave Evans to go forward as soon as practical for the park division of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

Additionally, LUCAS AND JORDAN agreed that the plan should go forward with a plan to continue to provide information about the value of rain gardens to residents of the surrounding subdivisions and make an effort to bring about the creation of enough new areas where water is encouraged to soak in upstream (to the south) that the speed and amount of water rapidly reaching the park during heavy rain would no longer create a dangerous flash flood in the park.

My plan would be the same but in the opposite order — save the money and keep the removal of trees and widening of the streambed until the rain-garden plan is executed. Then we will know whether any or how many trees have to be removed to "save the trees."

But I would have voted for the combined plan if I lived in the neighborhood (and got to vote) and used that park. And especially if I lived downstream and was watching my land be covered by debris and gravel every time the stream flow is heavy.

Widening the channel and trying to force the stream to meander will help. However, the land is so steep that it would take pretty big reservoirs in the flow area rather than a batch of boulders and small channel changes to make a real difference. Dave Evans' Stream Team plan works great where there is enough space to create WIDE meanders and where the drop in the stream is relatively gradual. And it will work fine during light rain such as we had last night (Monday evening during and after the meeting).

One has to remember, however, that piling rocks in the Arkansas River, White River, Red River and Mississippi River to redirect the flow is a specialty of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And the corps frequently has to redo that activity in those big rivers.

The stream through Red Oak Park is different in several ways. It is dry 99 percent of the time. If you don't go there early this morning you may not find even a small flow. At this minute, 2:07 a.m. Tuesday, there is probably a lot more flow than when I visited at about 9 p.m. Monday. Precipitation, frozen and wet, continues to fall where I live in south Fayetteville.
Also, the stream at Red Oak Park is narrow, and it is extremely steep and the bedrock is exposed for the full length of the park because of the past few years of erosion. As in the case of snowfall and other matters of major significance to human beings and Mother Nature, one can't predict how much satisfaction will come from this renovation project or how long its effects will last.

We may not have enough extended periods of heavy rain in 2008 to create flashfloods that would continue the damaging erosion of the park. Everyone knows that 2004 was the year that most streambed erosion occurred everywhere in the area. Multi-inch rains of up to 6 inches in far less than 24 hours occurred three times in this area during 2004, once in the last week of April and twice in the first week of July. A story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette documented the surprise of people living in a high-dollar subdivision on the White River upstream from Beaver Lake when the lake itself rose into their ground-level rooms. Their title-companies hadn't explained at closing on their purchases of their homes that flooding of the area would be permitted any time the Corps of Engineers decided the flood gates at Beaver Dam needed to be closed to protect property in far north Arkansas and southern Missouri from White River flooding.

We may see the year that Beaver Lake gets so little rain that we'll be like Atlanta, Georgia, wondering where the reservoir went, and the rural people in the surrounding four counties will be wondering why they disconnected the pump from their old well or pond or spring and made themselves dependent on an artificial, manmade storage facility and miles of pipes. So, whatver we do now may be sufficient for some time. Maybe nothing will actually be needed for years!

However, in the four meetings (three Ward 4 meetings and one council meeting) I have attended and spoken about the problem, I have been the ONLY person who has volunteered to walk the neighborhood, knock on doors and hand out copies of a brochure on rain gardens and try to explain why they need to keep the water on their property. It has been said that people in some of the subdivisions there are concerned about saving the trees to allow the area to continue to serve as a nature park. But I haven't seen anyone express this concern since a few appeared at a council meeting months ago. If someone knows any of those people, please bring them to this Web log and let's hear it from them!

We first talked publicly about ways to keep the water where it falls to stop the flash floods nearly six months ago. A video shown a few times on Government channel showed people walking the park and discussing trying to save it long ago!

If the neighborhood representatives and property-owners' associations in the area haven't turned up a few people willing to make the effort to put in rain gardens or at least speak at the many public meetins, I don't know that I would benefit by starting to canvass the neighborhod on my own — so many problems, so little time.

I went to check the flow in the park after the meeting. I hope others did, too. There were some hard bursts of rain; but, as of 11 p.m. there had not been enough extended periods of heavy rain to create the kind of flash flood that has created the problem of major stream-bed erosion in the past.

So my photos from last night don't show a dangerous flow. If I could stay up all night and sit in my car on New Bridge Drive or Road or Street until dawn, I might get photos that would show the situation well enough to get people interested. But it may not rain any more tonight.

So, if you are one of the neighbors who has commented or at least found and read this site and maybe looked at our photos on Flickr (see list of links of interest at right for more Red Oak Park photos, please share this site and offer your comments here. Just click on the word "comments" below this post and don't hold back. Say what you think.

It it is raining hard when you wake up, please take a camera to New Bridge and photograph it yourself. I will assist you in posting your photos if you e-mail me or comment on this site that you have some. The coding is simple to copy and paste if you have photos online elsewhere.

If not, the best thing would be to email a photo or two and let me post them. I promise to do that as soon as they appear in my e-mail.

Shirley Lucas, Lioneld Jordan and the rest of the Fayetteville City Council have patiently waited for interested citizens and the park division of the Fayetteville Department of Parks and Recreation to offer a reasonable plan. If this is the best we can do, then let it go to the council and let's get to work on it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Moveable, enlargeable, shrinkable interactive google map

Alderman Shirley Lucas asks park officials what happened to restoration of Red Oak Park during agenda session Tuesday for the Sept. 1 council meeting

View Larger Map

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Val weighs in on Red Oak Park debate

The following was posted recently on a blog spot managed by a resident of Ward 4:
Val's impression of Ward I meeting on Red Oak Park
Red Oak Park, Again and Again

The Red Oak Park was the subject to a long discussion again at the Ward 4 meeting. The same old stuff was rehashed again. We had a suggestion of redoing the storm drainage in the neighborhoods so that water is no longer flowing into the park. Wow, is that an economically feasible option! Aubry once again preach the Gospel of Rain Gardens. Again, this should have been done in the initial planning of the neighborhoods. There is no way the City can legally force people to maintain rain gardens on their property. Look, a lot of these residents are renters who have a difficult time keeping their homes garbage free. No way are they going to upkeep a rain garden. The Parks and Recreation are looking into what it would take to put in a detention pond. I don't think there is enough room for it and even if there is, it would destroy all the trees and vegetation on the south end of the park. The south end also has the most usable part of the park. It currently has a small track and a playground. Say goodbye to that! That leaves the plan that Mr Dale Evans has proposed. Sad to say, no decision was reached. Well, there was a decision to have another meeting. Arghhhh!

In response, Aubrey James Shepherd wrote and afterward added to his comment:

Post a Comment On: Val's Bien
"Red Oak Park, Again and Again"
1 Comment - Show Original Post
aubunique said...
Val, Dale Evans was Roy Rogers' wife! We have both heard Dave Evans of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission called Dale enough times in Ward 4 and City Council meetings that it is hard to avoid. I will proof this comment to make sure I got it right.

I agree that rain gardens should have been required on all development sites for decades. They have been used in many cities for decades and people in the past didn't pave much and grassy swales (vegetated ditches) were standard before curb and gutter became popular and required in many places.

Now low-impact development experts advocate only rare use of curb and gutter in residential areas. Ditches and grassy swales don't have to be mowed much if they are planted with Vinca or other low-growing, low-maintenance plants to prevent erosion that in many cases fills them.

Rain gardens and rain barrels and other suggestions are always given for managing stormwater to keep it out of the streets and storm drains and receiving streams. We have seen such programs on the Government Channel almost daily for months.

I believe that the money to rechannel the storm drains near the upper end of the park to a large rain garden inside the bounds of the open space might be less than rerouting the water inside the park stream. If we don't stop a high percentage of the flow during flash floods, the erosion will continue and the park will remain unusable much of the time.

I believe that people who study the rain garden concept will understand that maintenance is minimal once they have selected the low parts of their property for the garden or gardens and guided the water there. Native flowering plants don't require watering during dry periods and NO MOWING.

By keeping mulch on top of aborbent soil in the rain garden a person can easily suppress weeds (defined as plants you don't like) and encourage the chosen ones.

Please visit the Red Oak Park blogspot and comment. Also, please visit the flickr site for various sets of photos on aspects of World Peace Wetland Prairie and photos of many of the flowering native plants that work in rain gardens.

WPWP is a natural 2-acre rain garden with native plants already there. The nice thing about creating a rain garden on bare ground is that only a bit of grass has to be dug out. WPWP had a heavy growth of Japanese honeysuckle and fescue that we will be working to remove for sometime to come!

If you will share the link with others, maybe we can get some serious dialogue going on the Red Oak Park blogspot and on your site and other sites before the Feb. 11 meeting. So far, I have seen only a couple of anonymous posts on the new blog. It will be nice to have another registered blogger posting to give credibility to what is being discussed. But I set it up to accept anonymous posts because some people just fear speaking out in public. And what they have to say may be important. If it is important to them, it should be important to us.

"There is no way the City can legally force people to maintain rain gardens on their property," Val said.

I agree. And I have never suggested that the city force "maintaining a rain garden" on a private owner of property. I have only talked about getting other volunteers to join me in going door to door to explain the value of rain gardens and suggest people consider adding at least one to their property.

Maintaining a rain garden is nearly cost free. Isn't it odd that we accept the idea that the city can force people to maintain a monoculture lawn by mowing it regularly? That costs a lot and is absolutely counter to the principles of sustainability our city leaders have been touting lately.

If someone comes by and convinces me I should plant a nonnative species of typical lawn grass, spend money and labor fertilizing it and and watering it and mowing it, that would not violate my civil rights. But forcing me to do those things would violate my civil rights.

If someone comes by to convince me to create a rain garden in my yard, I would be able to show that person that my property already was a natural rain garden when we bought it and that we keep the rain soaking in on our property in every way we can because it helps our flowering plants to grow and allows the few patches of grass on our property to grow without fertilization or watering except in the worst of droughts.

4:04 PM Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008

Aerial view of Red Oak Park area in NW Fayetteville, Arkansas


Red Oak Park is the vertical winding wooded area near the center of the aerial photos. Water flows north from the subdivisions south, east and west of the park and drops into the wooded area from two unrestricted pipes with no retention or detention pond.

Over recent decades, the powerful concentration of water that formerly soaked into the now flattened and paved over fields and pasture has washed out a few trees and created a deep channel through what used to be moist-soil, forested wetland with a gentle flow before development turned it into a raging torrent.

Completely dry for weeks on end, the new "stream" becomes deadly during heavy rain. Photos of the flash floods are unavailable because the water falls on the houses and yards and driveways and streets and runs through a far-too-efficient storm-sewer system and is gone before anyone can dare expose a camera to the elements. The evidence of the power of the water is in the debris in the streambed and caught in riparian-zone vegetation.

Although the thick understory vegetation in the south end of the park is good for nesting and roosting song birds, it is inhospitable to all but the hardiest of hikers and adventurous youngsters searching for sites to build "forts" or play Tarzan.

Elderly people, small children, the faint at heart and the physically handicapped people can't travel from one end to the other. There is a relatively large open area, however, with a smooth, handicapped-accessible paved biking, hiking or jogging trail circling it, at the southeast corner (upstream) and a small basketball court at the north end (downstream).

One proposal offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission would require removing many riparian-zone trees from the new stream's banks and constructing a meandering streambed with boulders and such brought in to create deep areas where water will be slowed slightly during flash floods. But the same volume of water would pass downstream and its velocity would be decreased very little.

An alternative proposal of creating a large storm garden in a portion of the open area upstream and smaller rain gardens on private property all over the watershed would keep a lot of water out of the park by allowing it to soak in naturally. This would keep most of the trees standing in the park and would bring diverse species of beautiful native wildflowers and butterflies and song birds to space now managed by the "grow and mow" philosopy.

A special Ward 4 meeting at the Ozarks Electric Coop at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, 2008, is to discuss ways to stop the erosion, protect the timber and generally make the park safer and more usable for man and beast — especially for children and wildlife.

For information or to offer suggestions, call Jim Bemis at 479-444-9825 or Aubrey Shepherd at 479-444-6072.

More photos of the park will posting daily between Feb. 1 and Feb. 11. Please offer comments on this Web log and plan to attend the meeting.