Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Democrat/Gazette December 21, 2009, editorial advocating saving sale-barn land for Fayetteville National Cemetery pleases majority of veterans and neighbors, but the problem is that saving Town Branch homeowners from flooding downhill from the cemetery is still being ignored: VA already at work preparing to dredge and fill wetland and pipe stormwater directly to Hill Avenue and thus to the 11th Street bridge on the Town Branch

Please click on individual photos to ENLARGE view of wetland area along the north edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery being prepared for dredging and filling for grave sites. The depressional wetland developed over centuries because it is above a bedrock karst area where groundwater sinks into the underground caverns and aquifers and reduces surface-water flooding. When it is piped to the Town Branch it will further aggravate the flooding danger between Ellis and Van Buren avenues already created by the University of Arkansas' failure properly to manage stormwater on the campus and by paving and development along Martin Luther King Boulevard and on the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project.

Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery

Monday, December 21, 2009
LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June. A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 500 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed. The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Avenue from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery. Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.
This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall


Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to mviney@audubon.org
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Correction and addition to my previous comment

Rain gardens need NOT be raised areas. Raised areas can collect water only from higher ground. Defeats the purpose if one is trying to use as much ground as possible and makes them cost time, labor and money. 
No doubt grants can be grabbed for retrofitting badly designed and built neighborhoods to correct stormwater problems. But the money the landowners save on watering, fertilizing and mowing their English-manor style lawns will quickly pay them for whatever they might invest in turf removal and planting some native tall grass and wildflowers and some extra roof gutter and whatever is needed to route their driveway, sidewalk and roof water to an appropriate area. 
Grants may be needed for curb cuts to route water FROM the streets to the lawns and similar work. But that kind of work would be lagnaiappe.
Public education could bring about a time when homeowners look out their windows and admire their yards and say such things as "Look, honey, the water is pooling up in our yard and will be filtered as it soaks in and won't rush down to erode the banks of the stream that runs through our neighborhood nature park."
If you could be in our kitchen every time heavy rain comes, that is pretty much what you would hear!

Phil Penny's comment after attending Ward 4 meeting, seeing plans proposed for Red Oak Park and hearing public comment

The comment below Phil Penny basically mirrors my thought: Why are we ignoring the need and real possibility of helping every landowner upstream hold water on his property. People hear the term "rain garden" and think of the engineered "rain gardens" built to show people how they can work. The fact is that rain gardens should be raised areas and need not cost much except for gutters to route roof and driveway runoff to appropriate parts of each lot. While many of the lots were covered impervious red dirt and then with turf, many others have plenty of the original absorbent prarie soil available to serve as natural rain-catching areas.
And why has Dave Evans not been brought back to show his plan and utilize the state's most experienced team of stream-restoration workers: The Game and Fish Commission's Stream Team.
 Phil Penny says:
After hearing the comments made regarding the drainage area of Red Oak Park, I was very concerned. I have spent several years of my career remediating problems caused by humans trying to control nature without recognizing they are working with a functioning system.   
First of all, we need to think of the perception of the public when we call something a “ditch” as this first order stream was being called at the meeting and by the Northwest Arkansas Times on Tuesday. 
Ditches are human contrived, straightened waterways typically next to roads. Most people do not “value” ditches.  However, this waterway is an extremely important component to the watershed. After looking at aerial photos prior to development and the topography of the landscape, it meet the hydrological criteria of a first order ephemeral stream, which feeds into Hamstring Creek, a second order stream, and then into Clear Creek, a third order stream etc.  It needs to be treated as a first order stream, which is part of a larger system, even if it has been heavily impacted - all of these systems have been impacted do to this development. We need to make sure that our future impacts are sustainable and that they are in best interest of the public. Public perception depends upon us making clear what is at stake – like the health of our water. 

After listening to the two proposed plans, my concern is they both have a piping system incorporated in them. Have we not learned what happens when we pipe water? Velocities and increase. Plug pools will dissipating energy. However water absorption is nonexistent in pipies. Won’t this just put the issue in someone else’s neighborhood?

The water has to be slowed. Dave Evan’s plan will stabilize the bank and it will slow water and increase absorption rates. However, Peter Futterknecht talked about slowing these impacts before they enter the system. This can help mitigate these impacts naturally. Since the area of absorption or the watershed is now a residential area, slowing water with rain barrels, cisterns, rain gardens, bio swales, check dams, and detention ponds up stream of this first order stream would have the greatest most positive impact. Piping water is not the solution. However, Low Impact Development is the key to not having this happen in the future. Just some of my thoughts. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Council member Sarah Lewis talks with constituents, Peter Futterknecht and Phil Penny, after Ward 4 meeting

Residents Want Park, Not Pipes


By By Skip Descant

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Print item

FAYETTEVILLE — Restoring the banks of a washed-out drainage ditch in Red Oak Park can be done in several approaches.

Or, not at all.

“Do you want something done?” asked Shirley Lucas, a Fayetteville City Council member, during Monday night’s Ward 4 meeting where residents met to discuss the future of the small park.

“It’s a nice little natural area,” said Pete Futterknecht, who lives in the area, and wants the bank restoration not to appear overly engineered.

City park and engineering officials used the ward meeting to gather feedback from residents regarding how they would like to see the eroded drainage ditch that flows through the small park near the Bridgeport, Willow Springs and Fieldstone subdivisions restored.

One of the city’s restoration options would use pipes to channel the water to nearby Hamestring Creek. The piping and “plunge pools” would cut down on erosion, said Chris Brown, Fayetteville city engineer.

“We really didn’t like that idea,” said Carole Jones, a park planner for the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Division.

This solution is expected to cost about $490,000, according to city documents.

The second option presented Monday night would use less piping and instead create a series of “ponding areas,” where the water would collect, drop its debris load and hopefully slow down. This solution would likely mean the removal of an existing park pavilion. This proposal could cost about $215 000.

Neither of these options seemed to be wholly embraced by residents who were clear in their desire to have a natural wooded park accessible to the dozens of homes in the nearby neighborhood.

“If you remove the pavilion, Bridgeport has lost its park,” said Paul Johnson, president of the Bridgeport Property Owners Association, and who views existing features like tables, benches, grills or basketball courts as essential to his community having a neighborhood park.

The amount of water flowing through the drainage ditch is not likely to drop. The area is heavily built with new subdivisions and Oakbrook Phase III is planned on an adjoining 30-acre plot. So residents are looking for a solution that slows the water down.

“I know there’s got to be something that we can do to slow this velocity, upstream,” Futterknecht said.

That “something” is what city officials will be looking at in the coming weeks as they draft a concept plan to be accepted by the City Council and then the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Public comments are due by the end of the day Friday, and should be sent to the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Division.

News, Pages 1 on 12/01/2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rerouting some water from Red Oak Park subject of today's 7 p.m. public meeting of Ward 4 in Room 111 of City Hall

Photos of Red Oak Park at link below:
Photos of Red Oak Park

Red Oak Park To Be Discussed At Ward 4 Meeting
By Skip Descant
Monday, November 30, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — City park officials are looking for public comment and review for drainage improvements slated for Red Oak Park.
The work to repair the washed-out stream bank in the park, located at 4600 W. New Bridge Road, is being reviewed by Fayetteville engineering and park officials. Additional public comment will come tonight during the Ward 4 meeting.
Aerial-photo map of the park area below is view with North to the left. Water enters the park from the right and flows to the left and into Hamestring Creek, which flows west to the Illinois River.

The sections of washed-out bank should have been completed months ago. However, funds were diverted from that project to become the matching funds needed for a Water Conservation Resource Center grant to restore the bank of the Niokaska Creek in Sweetbriar Park.
The diversion of funds to Sweetbrier Park, located at 2645 E. Sweetbrier Drive, irked residents and City Council members.
“Obviously, we want to take grants where we can get them, and Sweetbriar’s important,” said Kyle Cook, a Ward 2 alderman, speaking about the project at a September City Council agenda session. “But I don’t want to take money from Red Oak after we’ve already made commitments to these people.”
Money from the city’s drainage fund will be used to fund the Red Oak project, which is moving forward, officials said.
“So from our opinion, they’re both going to be funded,” said Don Marr, Fayetteville chief of staff.

Ward 4
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Room 111, Fayetteville City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Oak Park plan to be repeated at Ward 4 meeting in city hall at 7 p.m. Monday, November 30, 2009

Public Meeting
Hamestring Tributary Restoration
through Red Oak Park
5:30 PM Thursday, November 19, 2009
Public Meeting Handout.11-19-09 Page 1 of 3
I. Existing Conditions and Explanation of Problem:

• The approximately 100-acre watershed that is draining through Red Oak Park COMPRISES
mostly 1⁄4-acre residential lots. Predevelopment land use was undeveloped pasture.
Undeveloped pasture 20% to 30% storm water runoff
Residential development 60% to 75% storm water runoff
• The average storm water velocity within the park area and the downstream property computed
by the City Engineering staff in 2004 was approximately 10 feet per second.
• The soils (cherty silt loam) are highly susceptible to erosion and the stream will likely continue to
erode due to the geology of the adjacent soils, the volume of storm water and the resulting high
velocities. However, survey data obtained in 2009 shows minimal changes in the stream
channel when compared to the data collected in 2004 which may indicate that the erosion is
stabilizing somewhat.
• Several mature trees that are in close proximity to the channel are in danger of falling due to the
erosion within the root systems. Approximately 15 trees were removed within the park after the
January 2009 ice storm.
• The railroad ties in the upstream portion of the channel are washing downstream.
• Severe erosion has occurred around the gabion structures located in the northern area of the
park. The Parks and Recreation staff has removed one gabion structure to alleviate flooding and
• Severe erosion is also occurring on the property downstream from the park. The downstream
property owner removed approx. 35 dump truck loads of gravel from a manmade dam area in
2002. The same level of sedimentation returned in less than two years.

II. Where Have We Been?

1986 Aerial photographs show the immediate area around what is now Red Oak Park as wooded.
The aerial shows the land use from Wedington Drive north to Hamestring Creek and from 51st
Avenue east to Rupple Road was undeveloped. A small subdivision existed just north of
Wedington Drive, and a few chicken houses were scattered throughout this area.

2004 A drainage study was performed by the City Engineering staff. Recommendations included 400
feet of 60” diameter storm pipe and 600 feet of creek stabilization using native stone boulders,
compacted hillside material and colored concrete on the section south of New Bridge Road. On
the section north of New Bridge Road, 275 feet of 66” diameter storm pipe with a small grass-
lined swale was recommended.

2007 Mr. Dave Evans, Region 1 Stream Team Coordinator of the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission (AGFC), provided another design to attempt to resolve the erosion problems that
exist in the stream that bisects the park. A permit for this design was obtained from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Proposed project included:
♦ Removal of the existing concrete, railroad ties and gabion structures;
♦ Significant tree removal (approximately 55 to 70 trees);
♦ Modification of the existing channel to create a larger area to handle runoff events which
included shaping one or both banks to increase the total channel area;
♦ Construction of approximately 20 pairs and 14 individual rock plunge pools within the newly
shaped channel; and
♦ Tree and shrub planting plan to establish vegetation.

Parks and Engineering staff began to reconsider the natural stream channel approach after the
stream restoration project was completed at Gulley Park.
Public Meeting
Hamestring Tributary Restoration
through Red Oak Park
5:30 PM Thursday, November 19, 2009
Public Meeting Handout.11-19-09 Page 2 of 3
II. Where Have We Been? (continued)

2009 Additional drainage calculations and analyses were performed by the City Engineering staff.
Recommendations include two options as shown in the drawings and as described below:

Table 1. Comparison of Design Options
Description Pros Cons Cost Estimates*
Option 1
Debris collection at south end of
park; channel restoration thru
park; one 24” dia. pipe and one
36” dia. pipe in park; stilling
basin on north end of park; two
42” dia. pipes and plunge pool
on adjacent property north of

Design will resolve the
erosion problems in the

Will allow for some
reclamation of park land
near New Bridge Road

Significantly less tree
removal within park than
AGFC design

More expensive than
Option 2

Will not provide
significant infiltration
of storm water

In Red Oak Park -

Downstream -

Total $490,000
Option 2
Control structure with debris
collection in park south of New
Bridge Road; removal of
existing park pavilion; no
channel restoration thru park; no
pipes in park; stilling basin on
north end of park; two 42” dia.
pipes and plunge pool on
adjacent property north of park.

Will allow for some
infiltration of storm water
in the park south of New
Bridge Road

Basically no tree
removal within park

Less expensive than
Option 1 allowing for
park funds to be utilized
at Bryce Davis Park
(new Community Park
under design) or at the
southernmost 2.25 acres
of Red Oak Park

Design will not
resolve the erosion
problems in the park

Existing park will be
reclassified and used
only as a natural
greenway area
In Red Oak Park -

Downstream -

Total $215,000

* Cost Estimates include construction by outside contractor(s)

III. Funding Items:

• This project is funded with Sales Tax funds. The cost estimates shown in Table 1 above include
construction by outside contractor(s). Cost estimates of materials only for each option are:

Option 1 (Materials Only): In Red Oak Park-$166,000; downstream $96,000 Total $262,000
Option 2 (Materials Only): In Red Oak Park-$35,000; downstream $85,000 Total $120,000

• Earlier plan included partnering with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The cost
estimate for Materials Only was $99,530. The project was financially viable because of the
assistance of AGFC staff (at no cost to the City) and the use of City staff and equipment for tree
removal, excavation, placement of stone and revegetation with grass. The use of volunteers for
the planting of the shrubs and trees also kept the project cost low.
Public Meeting
Hamestring Tributary Restoration
through Red Oak Park
5:30 PM Thursday, November 19, 2009
Public Meeting Handout.11-19-09 Page 3 of 3
IV. Where Are We Going?

• Storm water detention in the upper area of the watershed is most likely not possible due to the
development. Engineers from the local USDA offices performed a preliminary assessment of the
site to determine the size of detention basin that would be required to contain the flow. Their
preliminary assessment concluded that there is not enough area available for detention.
Additionally. City Engineering Staff confirmed that detention is not an option without significant
tree removal and earthwork (i.e., removal of all trees and several feet of excavation of the entire
park area).
• The use of rain gardens is not likely feasible due to the fact that the City cannot require
residents to install and maintain the gardens on their properties. Additionally, a comprehensive
study must be performed to determine the best placement of rain gardens, etc. The bulk of the
storm water flow into the channel that runs through Red Oak Park is coming from the streets
and underground piping associated with the surrounding subdivisions. In addition, rain gardens
are typically designed for two-year or smaller rain events, and larger storm event flows and
velocities are not affected by rain gardens.
• Any work in the channel requires a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE), and any new or different design will require a new application to the Corps.

Proposed Schedule of Events:

• Select an option based on public input.
• Complete the construction documents for the chosen design and re-submit to the USACE for
approval and permitting.
• After approval and permitting by USACE, the project may be advertised for bids.
• Construction can begin after a qualified contractor is selected.

V. Questions and Comments

Public Meeting
Hamestring Tributary Restoration
through Red Oak Park
5:30 PM Thursday, November 19, 2009

Please use this sheet to submit your written comments to the Parks and Recreation Department. You are not
required to include your name and address, but we have provided a space for you to do so if you would like.
Please send your completed form to the address at the bottom of this sheet by December 4, 2009. Thank you
for taking time to comment on this important issue.

Do you prefer proposed Option 1 which includes channel restoration through Red Oak Park or proposed
Option 2 which does not include any channel restoration through Red Oak Park or “Other” option(s)? (Please
mark one below)

___________ I prefer Option 1.

___________ I prefer Option 2.

___________ I prefer “Other” option(s).

Please write any additional comments below as to these two options or other ideas/options you wish to offer:
Name Address Phone E-mail

Return to: Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department
113 West Mountain Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Phone: (479) 444-3471 ext. 471
Fax: (479) 521-7714
Email: parks_and_recreation@ci.fayetteville.ar.us

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Oak Park plan would tear up the ground and displace mature trees and other significant vegetation but do nothing to protect the park from the huge upstream flow of water from the south, east and west

Red Oak Park Plan

MAYBE, this plan would help protect the property of the landowner downstream to the north toward Hamestring Creek. But it will totally miss the point of trying to protect the existing mature trees and will allow an incredible increase in erosion during construction and have only a minimal chance of improving the park in any credible way.

The only worthwhile and effective use of the money set aside for this plan would be KEEPING the water WATER WHERE IT FALLS: On the lots in the subdivisions to the south, east and west in raingardens created in the yards and in the treeless portion of the park at the southeast corner.

Helping people create raingardens using the natural soil remaining in the area and encouraging NOT to mow but to protect native vegetation there would decrease the dangerous runoff to a manageable level.

It is illogical to spend money doing some that won't meet the goals of the people who originally began complaining about the situation.

Fayetteville's engineering and park departments team up to create plan to "restore" channel of stream in Red Oak Park

Please click on image to ENLARGE and go to Flickr site to Enlarge view and to navigate to see related photos.
Left is north Red Oak Park inside black line except some to right not includedDSCN7527red oak plan

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tour of Woolsey Wet Prairie and Fayetteville's westside sewage-treatment plant at 2 p.m. today precedes big evening for Illinois River Watershed Partnership

Illinois River Watershed Partnership
Annual Stakeholders Meeting
November 10, 2009
2:00 to 3:30 pm Tour of Fayetteville West Side Treatment Plant and Woolsey Wet Prairie
4:00 pm. Tour of Fayetteville Sam's Club
5:30 pm Hors d'oeuvres at Arvest Ballpark, Springdale
6:00 pm Sponsor Recognition and Golden Paddle Awards Reception
7:00 pm. Annual Membership and Board Meeting
Thank you for your dedicated efforts and support
to preserve, protect and restore the Illinois River Watershed.

To see evidence of the need for protection, please click on image to ENLARGE example of construction-site erosion in the Illinois River Watershed.
From Northwest Arkansas environment central

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Veterans Memorial 5K entry form for Saturday, November 7, 2009

Please click on image to move to Flicker site and ENLARGE.
5K Entry form 09
Please click on image to move to Flickr page and ENLARGE view.
Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a sample of items that will be in the goody bags of the first 300 runners who sign up for the Nov. 7, 2009, Veterans 5K.
Please click on image to go to Flickr page to Enlarge logos of first two major sponsors of the Veterans' 5K race set for November 7, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Bank of Fayetteville ad 09
Condom Sense 09

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chance to learn about stream-bank restoration and get a free lunch on Thursday November 5, 2009

November 5 Streambank Restoration Workshop, Springdale 9 am. to 3 pm. at Springdale city-administration building.
To register for free riparian demonstration workshop, email contact@irwp.org
IRWP Streambank Restoration Workshop
The Workshop will be led by Bobby Hernandez, Region 6 USEPA Community Planner and Jon Fripp of Fort Worth,NRCS.
Workshop partners include the City of Springdale Tree City USA committee, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC), Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
The workshop will cover several key areas of restoration including:
TECHNIQUES: Various streambank restoration techniques and successful technology and projects will be emphasized as well as unsuccessful restoration projects highlighted.
DEMONSTRATION: Demonstration of Jet Stinger technology will be used to plant willow cuttings along streambanks in the host city of Springdale, Arkansas.
IMPLEMENTATION: Implementation of low cost riparian and stormwater Best
Management Practices to improve water quality and reduce pollution in the Illinois River Watershed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jim Bemis missing the privilege of attending tonight's Ward 4 meeting at 7 p.m. in Room 326 of City Hall and asks for support on Red Oak Park concerns: Here it is

As usual, Jim Bemis asks hard questions and makes sense.
Here is a copy of Jim's message:
"Hope you will hold Connie to their commitment on Red Oak Park and that somebody really pushes to see that the "Regional Sports Complex" money is used for true community parks and trails in Ward 4.
"Seems to me that we should somehow get some sort of time-line and set of priorities from the Parks and Rec folks, and hold them accountable. They promised a public meeting and progress reports on the City web site, but I haven't seen anything so far.
"Thanks again,
My response:
Jim, was it the September Ward 4 meeting at which I pointed out that any plan proposed to the Corps of Engineers should be provided to the public BEFORE going to the corps?
If one has been sent, then the public should have been notified so that the public can comment on the plan to the corps. The corps rubber-stamps almost everything if there is no public comment.
The corps isn't required to consider water quality or anything harmful involved in the discussion of a plan to pipe water through the park. But corps officials many times have said that the public was right but that the city could make stronger rules than those they operate under.
Such a piping plan would make less sense than just building a couple of dams to make the whole park into a pair of detention ponds and about the same amount of damage. If someone will remind me to call the corps office on Monday, I will try to find out whether they have a copy of the plan and have it emailed to all of us.
If the corps received it, it is a public document. Over the years, I have received several corps reports on projects that apparently were not shared with the planning commission or the council before approval. A few times officials have asked developers whether they have a corps permit, but I have never seen or heard of one being presented to the commission or the council. Maybe Shirley can remember having a corps permit in her packet. In fact, the corps should also provide a copy of every comment received by the public to all city officials.
Destroying the park to "save the park" cannot be allowed. The only real solution is keeping the bulk of the water out of the park and out of the channel downstream of the park. Hamestring Creek is receiving more and more water from all its tributaries, all the way up to Gregg Avenue and the UA campus and Markham Hill. The extra water that will be running off when N. Garland is widened will all go to Hamestring.
I agree with Jim's comments. If, however, the park planners and engineers haven't completed a plan to send to the corps, then I would recommend being patient a bit longer but only after making clear that the plan should come to a Ward 4 meeting for public scrutiny BEFORE going to the corps.
I assume that the park department's report on Red Oak Park is on the agenda for this meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ducks Unlimited Banquet October 29, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on images to move to Flickr site and use magnifying tool above photo to ENLARGE for easy reading.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green Groups Guild meeting Thursday

From: Green Groups Guild (ggg@listserv.uark.edu) on behalf of ggg (ggg@UARK.EDU)
Sent: Tue 10/13/09 2:31 PM

Meeting 10/15/09 7:00 p.m.
209 Thompson Ave. Three Sisters Bldg on Dickson above Fez Hookah Lounge.
Patrick Kunnecke
GGG President
ASLA Vice President
4th Year Landscape Architecture Student

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Runners and Sponsors sought for Nov. 7, 2009, 5K veterans' memorial race to benefit Fayetteville National Cemetery

Please click on image to move to Flickr site and ENLARGE for easy reading. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation meets at 10:30 a.m. Saturday October 10 and needs to add sponsor names to the file for the race T shirts and the brochures so that printing can begin. Already, Tyson Foods has donated at the Medal of Honor level and has challenged others to join them at the top of the list, thanks to the effort of RNCIC Secretary Peggy McClain.
RNCIC 5K sponsorship levels 09

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Karst map shows Red Oak Park as significant groundwater-recharging area

The portion of the Washington County karst map above is signficant and useful. But a thorough study of Northwest Arkansas' similar underground geology is desperately needed to prevent continued abuse of our natural heritage.


The Ecological Role of the Karst Wetlands of Southern Florida in Relation to System Restoration
By William F. Loftus1, Maria Cristina Bruno2, Kevin J. Cunningham3, Sue Perry2, and Joel C. Trexler4
1 U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Everglades National Park. Homestead, Florida 33034. Bill_Loftus@usgs.gov
2 South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park. Homestead, Florida 33034.
3 U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Miami Subdistrict, Miami, Florida 33178.
4 Florida International University, University Park, Miami, Florida 33199

Download PDF 2.87 MB
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the report and can be downloaded for free

<--Return to Table of Contents
With the recent funding of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the largest ecosystem restoration program ever attempted, there is a pressing need to be able to detect changes in natural habitats as a result of restoration actions. Human activities, particularly the construction of canals and levees that can either drain or flood wetlands, have affected the natural variability of environmental conditions (Gunderson and Loftus 1993). CERP intends to restore natural hydropatterns to areas that have been damaged by water management. Baseline data on constituent aquatic communities and their ecology are needed before, during, and after the restoration activities commence.
Freshwater fishes and invertebrates are important ecosystem components in the Everglades/Big Cypress system. They operate at several trophic levels in the wetlands, from primary consumers of plant material and detritus to carnivores and scavengers. Factors that influence fish and invertebrate numbers, biomass, and composition therefore affect energy flow through the wetlands. The ecology and life histories of these animals are intimately tied to the hydrology of the wetlands, which is determined mainly by rainfall, but increasingly by water-management practices. Because of the hydrological changes wrought by drainage and impoundment, and the loss of spatial extent and functioning of former wetlands to development (Gunderson and Loftus 1993), there is little doubt that standing crops and overall numbers have declined. Changes to the original ecosystem have also altered the timing and the areas of prey availability to predators. Non-native fishes have colonized natural and disturbed habitats during the past three decades. Non-native fishes have affected native animals through predation, nest-site competition, and habitat disturbance (Loftus 1988) and may divert food-web energy into biomass unavailable to top-level predators.
Aquatic animals in southern Florida wetlands have a variety of ways to cope with environmental variability. These include movements to find refuge from drying habitats in winter and spring, and dispersal away from those refuges with the onset of the wet season (Kushlan 1974, Loftus and Kushlan 1987). This pattern of movements among habitats with fluctuating water depths is common to seasonal wetlands in the tropics (Lowe-McConnell 1987, Machado-Allison 1993). The major natural refuge habitat most-studied by scientists in southern Florida is the alligator hole (Craighead 1968, Kushlan 1974, Nelson and Loftus 1996). Canals and ditches offer a relatively recent but spatially extensive form of artificial refuge for aquatic animals on the landscape (Loftus and Kushlan 1987). In this study, we are studying the function of other types of aquatic refuges in the Everglades.
The Rocky Glades, or Rockland, habitat is a karstic wetland unique to Everglades National Park (ENP) in southern Florida (Figure 1), although similar habitats exist elsewhere in Yucatan, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Approximately half of the original area of this habitat occurs outside of ENP where agricultural and urban development has forever altered its geological structure and ecological function. This region is a high priority for restoration in CERP because it is the largest remnant, short-hydroperiod wetland in the eastern Everglades. That habitat has been disproportionately lost from the ecosystem. Unfortunately, the habitat remaining in ENP has been degraded by water management (Loftus et al. 1992).

Figure 1. Locations of the study sites within the Rocky Glades and Atlantic Coastal Ridge in southern Florida. The numbers indicate the drift-fence arrays on the main park road, and the stars on the coastal ridge are the well sites with Miami cave crayfish.
The highly eroded karst structure of the Rocky Glades appears to be responsible for the persistence of aquatic-animal communities by offering dry-season refuge in thousands of solution holes of varying depths, (Loftus et al. 1992). Their work was the first to indicate a tight relationship among the biological, geological, and hydrologic components of this region. Loftus et al. (1992) also found evidence that aquatic animals disperse, feed, and reproduce on the wetland surface during the short flooding period, then retreat below ground for periods of months to years. They also reported that several introduced species, particularly the pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus), walking catfish (Clarias batrachus), Mayan cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus), and black acara (Cichlasoma bimaculatum) were common in the Rocky Glades (Loftus et al. 1992). Unfortunately, their study was interrupted by Hurricane Andrew and not continued.
In this paper, we report the rationale and results of the first year of a new study in which the primary goal is to define the interactions of the aquatic-animal community with the geologic structure and hydrologic conditions of the Rocky Glades. We are addressing questions that have arisen from past work there. How do composition, size-structure, and recruitment of aquatic animals change during the flooding period? Are the dispersal patterns of animals related to water flow? Are the animals dispersing from the main sloughs to recolonize the Rocky Glades, or is the Rocky Glades a source of animal colonists for the sloughs? Do roadways act as barriers to movement? The objectives of this study segment are:
• Collect baseline ecological data on the epigean aquatic communities in the karst landscape of the Rocky Glades.

• Quantify the direction and degree of dispersal by fishes and invertebrates during the wet season.

• Document the seasonal changes in species composition, size structure, and reproductive patterns of animals on the wetland surface.

• Survey the topography of representative areas of the Rocky Glades, particularly around the sampling sites, to provide depth-distribution data for the simulation model of the region.

• Develop a visual survey method for sampling fish communities in open, rugged terrain to follow community dynamics in the Rocky Glades in the wet season.

• Identify the extent of near-surface voids.
The Atlantic Coastal Ridge is another area affected by urbanization and changing hydrologic management (Figure 1). Aquatic habitats, such as the transverse glades that cut through the Ridge, have been replaced by canals and will not be restored. Ground-water habitats and animal communities may have been less affected. As in karst areas elsewhere, deeper geological formations (>5 m) beneath the Rocky Glades and the Atlantic Coastal Ridge have voids of various dimensions known to house truly subterranean aquatic species (Radice and Loftus 1995, Bruno et al., this volume). These include the Miami Cave Crayfish (Procambarus milleri), known only from a few wells in southern Florida (Hobbs 1971). The composition, distribution, and abundance of other hypogean animals are poorly known. Ground-water withdrawal and saltwater intrusion (Leach et al. 1972), limestone mining, and pollution may threaten these communities before they have been fully catalogued. Elsewhere in the world, such communities are known to be very sensitive to changes in their delicately balanced physical environment. The second goal of this project is to identify the composition, distribution by depth and space, and ecological relations of this subterranean fauna. The objectives of the second study element include:
• Develop effective traps to capture invertebrates and possibly fishes from subterranean habitats.

• Inventory hypogean communities and relate the composition and distribution to environmental factors.

• Collect life-history data for the Miami cave crayfish from a large captive population.
This first project year has been a pilot study to test designs and methods. The study is divided into two elements with several components each.
Element 1: In the Rocky Glades, we selected four sites along the ENP main road (Figure 1) to test the use of drift-fence arrays to describe directional animal dispersal and community successional patterns in the wet season. The four X-shaped arrays had 12-m wings made of black plastic ground cloth (Figure 2) to direct animals into one of 3 traps that faced east, north, and west, based on the direction that they were moving (Figure 2). The road shoulder formed a barrier to the south of each array. The 3-mm mesh minnow traps were fished overnight for 24 h to provide data on fish relative abundances, movements, and catch per unit effort (CPUE).


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leased riparian areas to be restored to protect Illinois watershed

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

State, Federal Government To Lease Land To Protect River

By Doug Thompson
ROGERS — More than 20 square miles of land along the Illinois River and its tributaries will be planted with trees, native grasses and other plants under a project launched Tuesday.

The program's goal is to stop 10,000 tons a year of pollutants and sediment from getting into the river, state and federal organizers said. The 15,000-acre, $30 million program will be the largest of its type in Arkansas, by far, said Randy Young, director of the state Natural Resources Commission.
"Northwest Arkansas, growing economic gem that it is, is also cognizant of the need to protect our natural resources," said Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor publicly thanked the Walton Family Foundation for a $1 million contribution to the project.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is voluntary, organizers said. Landowners can apply to sign 15-year contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their plots of land along the river and streams.

Cropland and poor quality pastures are sought under the $30 million project. Those lands will be planted with native plants to stem erosion and provide food and shelter to wildlife, organizers said. The contracts will pay an estimated average of $85 per acre annually with a starting bonus amounting to as much as $350 an acre.

"I'm very interested. I'd sign up today if the forms were here," said dairy farmer Bill Haak of Gentry. "This is very farmer friendly and, if you look at the details, you can see that the people who wrote this up have the insight into what will make it work."

"I have grandkids," Haak said when asked why he was interested. "You need another reason than that? Well, this is a chance for farmers to step up to the plate and help preserve water quality."

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing Arkansas poultry companies in federal court over pollution in the Illinois River. The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 21.

"We hope this project will help prevent pollution from reaching the waters of the Illinois and its tributaries and support these types of efforts in both states," Edmondson said in a prepared statement about Tuesday's announcement.

The conservation program in Arkansas will match up with a similar one in Oklahoma. The two programs will cover the entire Illinois River watershed, Young said.

Of the $30 million, $24 million will come from a federal appropriation sought and obtained largely through the efforts of 3rd District Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, organizers said. Most of the rest will come from a $1.5 million appropriation from the state and in-kind services provided by the state, such as planning for each plot's project by the state Game and Fish Department and other agencies and water quality monitoring by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Contact Information
Watershed Leases

Those interested in the project can call the Washington County office of the federal Farm Service Agency, 479-521-4520, or the Benton County office, 479-273-2622. Information is also available at www.fsa.usda.gov.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fayetteville food drive and Washington County "stop the quarry" efforts touted on square on Saturday July 18, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of details. The finger points to the area where the red-dirt pit that owners want to convert to a limestone mine sits on the edge of Fayetteville. It is up to the Washington County Quorum Court to see that the proposal is not allowed. Residents of Fayetteville and the rest of Washington County must let their justices of the peace know their feelings about this project or it could become an even uglier disaster than shown on the poster. And the limestone pit is estimated to take 75 years to deplete!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Butterfly gardens easy to grow in the black, rich soil of the Illinois River valley and the Town Branch vallley of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENlarge view of obedient plant on Pinnacle Foods Inc. Prairie west of World Peace Wetland Prairie on June 19, 2009, a big non-native pink flower whose name I can't remember at the moment at the entry to the trail through Pinnacle Prairie and a butterfly milkweed near WPWP.

Butterfly gardens can be grown throughout the
United States. There is a wide variety of both butterfly
attracting (nectar) plants and host (food) plants cover-
ing climates zones throughout the country.
Creating a Garden
Gardens can range in size from containers to sever-
al acres. Butterflies like sunny sites and areas sheltered
from high winds and predators. Warm, sheltered sites
are most needed in the spring and fall. Butterflies are
cold-blooded insects that can only fly well when their
body temperatures are above 70oF. They are often seen
resting on rocks, which reflect the heat of the sun help-
ing to raise their body temperatures, so be sure to
include some rocks in your garden. It’s also beneficial
to have partly shady areas, like trees or shrubs, so they
can hide when it’s cloudy or cool off if it’s very hot.
Plants that attract butterflies are usually classified
as those that areafood source,anectar source or both.
Butterflies require food plants for their larval stages and
nectar plants for the adult stage. Some larvae feed on
specifichost plants, while others will feed on a variety
of plants. If possible, include both larval host plants
and adult nectar plants in your butterfly garden.
Butterflies also like puddles. Males of several
species congregate at small rain pools, forming “puddle
clubs”. Permanent puddles are very easy to make by
buryingabucket to therim, filling it with gravel or
sand, and then pouring in liquids such as stale beer,
sweet drinks or water. Overripe fruit, allowed to sit for
afew days is a very attractive substance to butterflies
as well!
Life Cycle of A Butterfly
Butterflies go through a four-stage developmental
process known as metamorphosis (egg, larva or caterpil-
lar, pupa or chrysalis and adult). Understanding a but-
terfly’s life cycle can make butterfly watching more
enjoyable, andthis knowledge is an important asset to
those who want to understand the principles of attract-
ingbutterflies to their gardens.
Butterflies begin their life as an egg, laid either
singly or in clusters depending on the species. A very
tiny caterpillar emerges and, after consuming its egg
shell, begins feeding on its host plant. Caterpillars must
crawl out of their skin or molt, usually around five times,
before changing into a pupa. Finally, an adult butterfly
emerges, spreads its wings and flies away.
Butterflies typically lay their eggs in late spring and
hatch 3 to 6 days after they are laid. It takes 3 to 4
weeks for a caterpillar to pupate and 9 to 14 days to
emerge as an adult.
Host Plants
Adult female butterflies spend time searching for
food plants required by the immature caterpillar stage.
Most butterflies have specific host plants on which they
develop. For example, caterpillars of the monarch but-
terfly develop only on milkweed, while the black swal-
lowtail feeds only on parsley, dill and closely related
plants. Planting an adequate supply of the proper host
plants gives butterflies a place to lay their eggs, which
will successfully hatch and result in butterflies that will
continue to visit thegarden. Providing the necessary
food plants for the developing caterpillars also allows
production of a “native” population that can be
observed in all stages ofdevelopment.
To enjoy adult butterflies, you have to be willing to
allow their caterpillars to feed on foliage in your garden.
Food source plants that support caterpillars include the
annual marigold, snapdragon and violet; the perennial
butterfly milkweed, daisy and various herbs; the ash,
birch, cherry, dogwood, poplar and willow trees; lilac
shrubs; juniper evergreens and more.
The weediness of some host plants makes them less
than desirable for a space within your more attractive
garden beds, but they serve the same function if you
place them away in a corner of the yard. To keep them
from becoming invasive, remember to remove their
spentblooms before they go to seed.
Plants to Attract Butterflies
To attract the most butterflies, design a garden
that provides a long season of flowers (nectar plants).
The time of flowering, duration of bloom, flower color
and plant size are all important considerations when
selecting plants to attract butterflies. A wide variety of
food plants will give the greatest diversity of visitors.
Choose a mixture of annuals and perennials.
Annuals bloom all summer but must be replanted every
spring (after the last frost). Perennials bloom year after
year from the same roots but their blooming periods are
typically limited to a few weeks or months. To ensure
the availability of nectar sources throughout the sum-
mer, long-blooming annuals should be planted between
the perennials.
Try staggering wild and cultivated plants, as well as
blooming times of the day and year. Planting in mass
(several plants of the same kind) will usually attract
more butterflies, as there is more nectar available to
them at a single stop. Plants with clusters of flowers
are often better than plants with small, single flowers
because it is easier for butterflies to landon clustered
and/or larger flowers.
Many plants which attract butterflies, especially
trees and shrubs, may already be present in a specific
area. Shrubs include azalea, spirea, butterfly bush and
lilacs. Although weeds andsomenative plants are gen-
erally not welcomein a garden, allowingthem to grow
under supervision may be an option, as these plants
help attract butterflies. Try to avoid plants that readily
reseed and may take over and dominate garden sites.
Perennials, such as chives, dianthus, beebalm, but-
terfly weed, mints, black-eyed susan and purple cone-
flower offer a succession of blooms, other perennials
include coreopsis, lavender, phlox, sedum and yarrow.
Add annuals that flower all season, such as cosmos, lan-
tana, pentas,petunias, phlox, salvia and zinnias. Select
flowers with manysmall tubular flowers or florets like
liatris, goldenrod and verbena. Or chose those with sin-
gle flowers, such as marigold, daisy and sunflower.
Butterflies are attracted to flowers with strong
scents and bright colors, where they drink sweet energy-
rich nectar. Planting a variety of nectar sources will
encourage more butterflies to visit the garden.
For better butterfly viewing, plant the tallest
plants in the rear of the garden and work smaller or
shorter towardthefront.
Creating, Growing and Enjoying
Butterfly Host Plants(continued)
Trees Herbs
Ash Dill
Birch Parsley
Cherry Sweet Fennel
Butterfly Attracting Plants
Annuals Perennials
Ageratum Aster
Cosmos Beebalm
Gomphrena Blanket Flower
Heliotrope Butterfly Milkweed
Lantana Coreopsis
Marigold Daisy
Nasturtium Dame’s Rocket
Nicotiana Daylily
Pentas Dianthus
Petunia Liatris
Phlox Phlox
Salvia Purple Coneflower
Snapdragon Rudbeckia
Statice Russian Sage
Sunflower Salvia
Sweet Alyssum Scabiosa
Verbena Sedum
Zinnia Veronica
Shrubs Herbs
Azalea Catnip
Butterfly Bush Chives
Lilacs Lavender
Mock Orange Mint
Cut Back on Insecticides
It’s difficult to have a successful butterfly garden
inalocation where insecticides are used. Pesticides,
specifically insecticides, kill not only the insects you
want to get rid of – they also kill the insects you want
tokeep, such as monarch caterpillars. Even biological
controls such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will kill but-
terfly larvae. When treating for insect pests, always
consider non-chemical methods of pest control before
turning to pesticides.
Let Your Garden Grow
Most butterfly species over-winter nearby. This
means that their eggs, chrysalises, or larvae are likely to
be in or near your yard during the non-gardening
months. Some will even hibernate as adults. Do not
mow weed sites, cut down dead plants or dismantle
woodpiles which provide them safe shelter in the off-
season until the weather warms up.
Enjoying Your Butterfly Garden
Butterfly gardens are a great source of enjoyment
for everyone. Visiting butterflies include a variety of
different species and names, depending upon the region
of the country in which you live. To learn more about
which plants help in attracting butterflies get your copy
of National Wildlife Federation Attracting Birds,
Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by David
Mizejewski or the Earl May Perennial Guideavailable at
your local Earl May Nursery & Garden Center.
Butterfly Host Plants
Annuals Perennials
Marigold Butterfly Milkweed
Snapdragon Daisy
Shrubs Evergreens
Lilacs Juniper
IBM# 912600 750 4/08
Copyright Earl May Seed & Nursery L.C. ©

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peace-garden tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday June 13, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Peace Garden Tour Poster.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or dlong@agfc.state.ar.us.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Louisiana Tech professor to discuss the struggle for the solar future Saturday afternoon at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brown thrashers among the many species to be seen on World Peace Wetland Prairie during Sunday's Earth Day celebration

Please click on image to Enlarge view of one of the many species of birds feeding and picking nesting sites on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 17, 2009. The elusive brown thrasher is often able to slip into the thickets before a camera can capture its image. But the attraction of scattered brush piles and the excitement of mating season can make them a bit careless.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Day celebration on April 19, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE to read details of the poster.

Bird-watchers welcome every day from dawn to dusk!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Severed limb budding at end. Birds and squirrels and rabbits may eat them

Here is the caption with the photo of limbs burning in Benton County:
Up in smoke:
Benton County employee Harvey Johnson watched a fire at 10791 Stoney Point Road near Lowell on Thursday. The county is burning limbs and trees broken by this winter’s ice storm. Other burn sites are at 9900 Marchant Road in Elm Springs, 21447 Waukesha Road in Siloam Springs and 19941 Bettis Hill Road near War Eagle. Washington County is also burning ice-storm debris on North 40th Street in Springdale. DAVID FRANK DEMPSEY / Benton County Daily Record

If no one in either county had a fireplace or a wood stove, this might seem slightly less ridiculous.
I hope a lot of people who can use firewood or who would collect it and sell it will be at those sites before more is burned and load it up and take it away.
This wood would save people money, reduce air pollution now and save the carbon in these limbs for actual home heating and reduce global climate change (because people with wood stoves and fire places will be buying wood next fall and reducing the tree cover even more in Northwest Arkansas).
Additionally, birds and squirrels are eating buds on those limbs where they are lying. In fact, many large limbs or trunks lying separated from the main trunk for nearly two months are budding right now! So wildlife are having to search a bit more for food, which may be tough for birds facing nesting season.
Burning material with this much value is WRONG.
It is even worse than chipping it all. This is incredibly wasteful and inconsiderate of people and other living things. I am proud to live in Fayetteville where an effort is being made to separate potential firewood for sharing and where the rest is being chipped rather than burned.
This is an example of the need for cross-training and keeping all environmental enforcement under one big umbrella. Apparently, it would be the responsibility of the EPA to see that FEMA's requirements for subsidizing "cleanup" efforts meet environmental guidelines. But I would bet that the EPA has had no input in the cleanup efforts. Otherwise, they would have required sound environmental use of the downed trees and limbs.
And, if there were any budgetary control of FEMA, their pet contractors would be required to compact and compress the loads of loose limbs in their trailers and trucks before claiming a load is full and counting it on the basis of cubic yards.
If you take waste metal to a steel yard or aluminum-recycling facility, you will have your vehicle weighed and then weighed again after the workers pull off what can be recycled. They don't pay more for half-empty truckloads or uncrushed cans that fill a big bag. The scales tell the story.
Should the taxpayers support a system that rewards only selected contractors and ignores the value of the material being destroyed in the pretense of "cleaning up" after a disaster? And requires the hiring of "inspectors" or whatever from different pet companies to make sure the trucks aren't overfilled?
My questions aren't original. I have heard these questions from residents of Fayetteville who are offended by the appearance of poor management and waste.
The city can't ask these questions because the EPA MIGHT look into the problem and FEMA MIGHT delay reimbursement of the city for the work that took a big chunk out of the city's reserve fund.
But somebody has to ask why they don't just weigh the loads and pay and reimburse on the results. My neighbors have asked.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't let the contractors take all your brushpiles; the birds won't forgive you

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mockingbird on brushpile at World Peace Wetland Prairie on February 25, 2009,

The more buds you spot on the ends of small limbs the more likely these limbs are the ones to keep on your property if you want plenty of song birds to be in your neighborhood when spring comes. You might also try to convince your neighbors to preserve some similar brushpiles on their property. And urging neighbors to preserve ice-damaged trees on their property also will help.
Many won't understand. But every property owner who keeps a brush pile or resists pressure to cut down a damaged tree can make a difference in the reproductive success of song birds in the coming spring.