Thursday, December 24, 2009

Natural Resources Conservation Service removed some pretty healthy riparian vegetation from Scull Creek but left some bad spots with targeted debris blocking stream flow

Please click on images to ENLARGE.

The Scull Creek trail bridge at Ash Street and Chestnut Avenue has had this same debris hung up on it for maybe three months or more since the worst flood of the fall of 2009 sent water flowing over the bridge, but the NCRS contractors ignored it and spent a lot of their time paid for by federal money cutting live trees from the riparian zone and overflow areas of Scull Creek and other streams in Fayetteville, such as the Town Branch.

The good news is that the native wildflowers along the same stretch of trail in the Scull Creek riparian zone were mostly left standing. That means more seed to sprout in spring and more seed for the wild birds to eat. The square stems with now-wrinkled huge leaves still forming water-holding structures along them are cup flowers. a species that grew 10 feet tall and more at World Peace Wetland Prairie and many other prairie areas in Northwest Arkansas in 2009.

By morning, tall grass and tall wildflower seed and other sources such as this native smartweed near Scull Creek and native buckbrush and nonnative China honeysuckle and nonnative privet berries will be among the few places for migrating birds to feed if the snowfall is as predicted.

Wouldn't the birds love it if the trash were picked up from the ditches running from the streets and the apartment dwellers would actually help?

Remember that birdfeeders are important for wintering birds but that every stick of vegetation and every square foot of natural soil left in place are more important for birds and other wildlife.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joe Neal suggests less shopping, more protecting


less shopping, more protecting‏
From:
Joe Neal (joeneal@uark.edu)


Back in 2000 I saw a Red-tailed Hawk nest in the stout fork of a big old prairie-era post oak. The oak was part of a small forest developed on former Tallgrass Prairie habitat well marked by impressive prairie mounds. There were Northern Bobwhites in the surrounding fields and Painted Buntings in the shrublands. Visitors to northwest Arkansas and us locals are invariably drawn to this area now because it is Steel Creek Crossing in the burgeoning retail-entertainment district in the vicinity of NW Arkansas Mall.

There was a big battle over these old prairie oaks in 2000, begun when Mary Lightheart climbed what she called the “mother tree” and vowed to stay until development plans were dropped. She kept her vow to stay, but eventually law enforcement brought her down and arrested others who tried to take her place.

I was out Christmas shopping in that area yesterday. What remains of that old oak barren is a handful of fantastic mature native trees and prairie mounds between two popular retailers, Kohl’s and Target . Kohl’s refused to make any compromise with their store building plans at the time. Folks who supported Lightheart handed out bumper stickers after the fracas that read, “I will never shop at Kohl’s.” Trash from the parking lots collects there, mute witness to what happens when a worthwhile fight is lost.

I haven’t seen one of those “I’ll never shop…” adorning a bumper in a few years, so I guess this too has now largely faded. Just from an ecological viewpoint, the little remnant is worth a visit because it is a perfect example of a unique Ozark habitat once much more widespread in northwestern Arkansas. There’s plenty of parking nearby, too.

But I am a historian and a birder, and when I’m out that way, I always stop and look at the oaks and the mounds, remembering that big hawk nest, the bobwhites, and buntings. Bobwhites and Painted Buntings are two of our native birds whose declines are thought by some to be a mystery. Stop by the little woodlot. The reason for decline, at least in our western Arkansas neck-of-the-woods, is palpable.

I also notice that while I did, and do, support the notion of boycotting environmental travesty, like others here, I move on. It’s like being push out to sea by the rip tide. The people who work in Kohl’s and Target look and likely feel just like you & I.

The trash out there in the pitiful prairie remnant got me to thinking yesterday about whether or not any of it was worthwhile, even from the get go. I think Lightheart and the others were right to protest , even if against overwhelming odds. I don’t mean to celebrate “tilting at windmills.” But how else will native birds and their habitats receive protection when they are jeopardized? How else will politicians and developers be put on notice that their decisions have real consequences, and not just the positives that get headlines.

I agree with the reputed views of a Populist agitator from the 19th century, who supposedly told a bunch of angry Kansans, "What you farmers need to do is raise less corn and more Hell." I suppose that’s what Lightheart had in mind when she climbed her mother tree – less shopping, more protecting.

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

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
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!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Natural Resources Conservation Service contractors use Bobcat loader to disturb the bed of the Town Branch without permission on day major watershed-protection news announced

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and enlarge and search for related photos and information.
IMG_1746
What part of NO don't these guys understand?
The living things in a half mile of this urban tributary of the West Fork of the White River were displaced and their habitat damaged for four days in November 2009 with no apology.

On the day that these photos were taken, the NRCS announced a huge effort to improve water quality in many states, including Arkansas. How does treating the riparian zones of Fayetteville's tributaries of the White River and the Illinois River watersheds make sense when the agency's overall mission includes protecting and enhancing such areas?

Release No. 0586.09
Contact:
Brad Fisher (202) 720-4024


SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES 41 WATERSHEDS TO TAKE PART IN MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN INITIATIVE
Initiative Will Provide Approximately $320 Million in USDA Assistance In Basin Area

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 41 watersheds in 12 states, known as Focus Areas, have been selected to participate in a new initiative to improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River Basin. The selected watersheds cover over 42 million acres, or more than 5 percent of the Basin's land area.

"The USDA is committed to working cooperatively with agricultural producers, partner organizations and State and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the tens of millions of people who live in the Mississippi River Basin, the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative will help" Vilsack said. "Today's announcement is another step toward achieving this goal, and I encourage as many eligible participants as possible to join us in this major conservation effort."

The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), which was announced on September 24, 2009, will provide approximately $320 million in USDA financial assistance over the next four years for voluntary projects in priority watersheds in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. MRBI will help producers implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the initiative. NRCS State Conservationists from the 12 watershed states selected the watersheds with guidance from State Technical Committees and state water quality agencies. Selections were based on the potential for managing nitrogen and phosphorus -- nutrients associated with water quality problems in the Basin -- while maintaining agricultural productivity and benefiting wildlife.
Next, smaller watershed projects will be selected through a competitive process under NRCS' Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI). NRCS assistance will be leveraged with contributions from partners, expanding the capacity available to improve water quality throughout the Basin.
Three requests for project proposals will be announced in the next several weeks, including one for CCPI. Funding for CCPI projects will come from NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.
Two other requests for proposals will fund projects through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program and Conservation Innovation Grants. For information about these programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs .
State(s) Watershed
Arkansas/Missouri - Cache
Arkansas - Lake Conway-Point Remove
Arkansas - L'Anguille
Arkansas/Missouri - Lower St. Francis
Illinois - Lower Illinois - Senachwine Lake
Illinois - Upper Illinois
Illinois - Vermilion (Upper Mississippi River sub-basin)
Illinois/Indiana - Vermilion (Upper Ohio River sub-basin)
Indiana - Eel
Indiana - Upper East Fork White
Indiana - Wildcat
Indiana/Ohio - Upper Wabash
Iowa - Boone
Iowa - Maquoketa
Iowa - North Raccoon
Iowa/Minnesota - Upper Cedar
Kentucky/Tennessee - Bayou De Chien-Mayfield
Kentucky - Licking
Kentucky - Lower Green
Louisiana - Mermentau
Louisiana/Arkansas - Bayou Macon
Louisiana/Arkansas - Boeuf River
Minnesota - Middle Minnesota
Minnesota - Root
Minnesota - Sauk
Mississippi - Big Sunflower
Mississippi/Louisiana/Arkansas - Deer-Steele
Mississippi - Upper Yazoo
Missouri/Iowa - Lower Grand
Missouri - North Fork Salt
Missouri - South Fork Salt
Missouri/Arkansas - Little River Ditches
Ohio/Indiana - Upper Great Miami
Ohio - Upper Scioto
Tennessee - Forked Deer
Tennessee/Kentucky - Obion
Tennessee - South Fork Obion
Tennessee/Kentucky - Red River
Wisconsin/Illinois - Sugar
Wisconsin/Illinois - Upper Rock
Wisconsin/Illinois - Pecatonica
For information about the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, including eligibility requirements, please visit the MRBI web page at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi/mrbi_overview.html or your USDA Service Center. A map of the project area is available the MRBI Programs webpage.
Subscribe to NRCS news releases and get other agency information at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov or contact NRCS Public Affairs at 202-720-3210.
NRCS celebrates its 75th year of service in 2010.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Instructions that Natural Resources Conservation Service contractors are supposed to be following

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE for reading and find related documents and photos.
TREEdebrisCont
TREEdebrisCont2
TREEdebrisCont3
TREEdebrisCont4

Friday, November 20, 2009

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.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tomorrow's most important meeting in Northwest Arkansas: FREE

FREE Streambank Restoration Workshop, Nov. 5th
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Lunch Provided
Springdale City Administration Bldg.

Please RSVP by Nov. 2nd to 479-238-4671 or deliahaak@irwp.org

November 5 Streambank Restoration Workshop, Springdale 9 am. to 3 pm.
To register for free riparian demonstration workshop, email contact@irwp.org
IRWP Streambank Restoration Workshop
ABOUT THE 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
PURPOSE:
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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reasons to put a moratorium on "street improvement" in Fayetteville until city employees get training in up-to-date methods of dealing with stormwater

Please click on individual images to move to FLICKR site and see full photos and read explanations.
DSCN7868 How much did the park department spend to create this temporary soccer park with the knowledge that the University of Arkansas would want it back for housing construction?

DSCN7869Hamestring Creek protected from flooding and erosion by tiny natural raingarden.  EX

DSCN7871 A natural raingarden slows the flooding a bit at the intersection of Lewis Ave. and Mount Comfort,  but the whole area formerly served that purpose.

DSCN7875 City Park Department leases this wet prairie from university for soccer field. A straight concrete ditch prevents water from soaking in and increases downstream flooding after water enters Hamestring Creek

DSCN7863 Hamestring Creek already reduced to a ditch along Mount Comfort Road. Fayetteville crew expected to curb and gutter this part of the road. Will the creek be in a pipe next?

Out-moded stormwater practices in the Hamestring Creek watershed affect homes along the stream in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on images to move to Flickr to read comments with each one and ENLARGE for better viewing.
An elderly resident's driveway from newly "improved" portion of Lewis Avenue floods during moderate rain   DSCN7908lewis av garage flood

New pavement causes water to rush into garage. DSCN7907slope to garage

Some water piped under sidewalk and yard to Hamestring Creek but some runs from sidewalk into garage. DSCN7906water to garage

Concrete swales take parking lot water from Asbell Park into Hamestring Creek to increase flooding. DSCN7903concrete to crk

Illinois River Watershed Partnership announces annual membership board meeting and free streambank restoration workshop

The Illinois River Watershed Partnership invites you to join us at the Annual Membership and Board Meeting, Special Sponsor and Volunteer Recognition Reception and announcement of the 2009 Golden Paddle Awards in agriculture, business, conservation, construction, government, and technical/research fields.
Tuesday, November 10
Arvest Ballpark Sam’s Club Community Room in Springdale
Hors d’oeuvres start at 5:30 pm
Thank you for your efforts and support of the mission of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and continuing to partner with us to preserve, protect and restore the Illinois River Watershed.
Please RSVP to 479-238-4671 or deliahaak@irwp.org by Tuesday, November 3.
MANY THANKS
UPCOMING EVENT
November 5 Streambank Restoration Workshop, Springdale 9 am. to 3 pm.
To register for free riparian demonstration workshop, email contact@irwp.org
IRWP Streambank Restoration Workshop
ABOUT THE 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
PURPOSE:
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.

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.
09
09

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
To: GGG@LISTSERV.UARK.EDU

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
479-544-1906

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Green Infrastructure presentation from 2-4 p.m. today near Wedington Woods similar to yesterday's

Thanks to Kate Ward and the Northwest Arkansas Times for good article on yesterday's gathering. This is an open meeting for public education and public input.

Natural Heritage Association makes plans for a green future
By Kate Ward
Sunday, September 13, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — Working farms, agricultural land, streams and forests were among the areas outlined by the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association’s Green Infrastructure Plan on Saturday.
Barbara Boland, project coordinator, said the project is being funded through a pilot grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The regional plan encompasses 172 square miles and will be used by local decision makers to guide conservation and growth in Northwest Arkansas.
“This is a long-term approach to regional planning,” she said. “It will provide a tool for the different municipalities in Washington County. It has what the public deems to be areas of preservation as well as areas deemed appropriate for potential growth.”
Last year, the group hosted its first public forum in partnership with the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Urban Forestry Program and the Beaver Water District in hopes of gaining community support. The three organizations received a $25,000 grant to develop a Plan for Green Infrastructure-Linking Arkansas Communities. The project is one of four pilot studies in the Southeast region of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and will serve as a prototype for developing other plans in Arkansas.
Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards said sheattended the public input forum to lean about the group’s future plans.
“This is a rural state, and we have to preserve our roots,” she said. “We don’t want to lose our identity. I think this is a good group, and that the direction they’re taking is certainly good for the county.”
Members of the design team have been working to identify networks of natural and working land that supports the biological, cultural and economic vitality of the region. The project area encompasses Farmington, Johnson, Greenland and Fayetteville, as well as their planning areas and surrounding land in Washington County.
In addition to farms, agricultural land, streams and forests, the group’s preservation areas also include riparian zones, prairie and grassland remnants and parks and trails.
“Initially, we presented our ideas to about 300 stake holders,” Boland said. “Of that number, about 60 volunteered to participate in the planning process. They helped us collect data by talking about what areas of the county are important to them.”
The group will hold a second public input meeting from 2-4 p.m. today at the same, 16142 Pin Oak Road, off Wedington Drive north of the Wedington Woods area.

Chotkowski Gardens 479-587-8920
16142 Pin Oak Rd , Fayetteville, AR 72704

A follow-up meeting has been slated for Oct. 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library. Three additional forums, which have yet to be planned, will also take place for members of the public.
Boland said the data linked to the Green Infrastructure Plan will soon be available to members of the public via the Internet thanks to the University of Arkansas’ Center for Advance Spacial Technology.
For more information about green infrastructure planning, visit www.fayettevillenatural.org/whatshappening.php or call Boland at (479) 521-2801.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Webcast on Clean Water Act quality standards FREE by registration

Still Time to Register!
To register, visit http://www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts
Free September Watershed Academy Webcast -- Second in Clean Water Act Series
Join us on Thursday, September 10th at 1-3pm Eastern for an "Introduction to Water Quality Standards," a second in series of Webcasts on the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States and it sets broad goals for restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's water. Water quality standards (WQS) are aimed at translating the broad goals of the CWA into waterbody-specific objectives.
Tune into this Webcast to learn about WQS, which are the foundation of the water quality-based pollution control program mandated by the CWA.The Webcast will highlight the three major components of state and tribal water quality standards e.g., designated uses, water quality criteria, antidegradation, and will include a case study of how one state is working to strengthen its WQS program. Future Webcasts will highlight other aspects of the CWA including monitoring and assessment, total maximum daily loads, programs for managing point sources and nonpoint sources, and wetland protection.
Speakers:
Dr. Thomas Gardner, Environmental Scientist, U.S. EPA's National Water Quality Standards Branch; Heather Goss, Physical Scientist, U.S.EPA's National Water Quality Standards Branch; and William (Bill) Cole, Research Scientist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Water Quality
Standards Unit
To register, visit http://www.epa.gov/watershedwebcasts.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tree and Landscape Committee to meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday

THE CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS

Tree & Landscape Advisory Committee

Wade Colwell, Business
John Crone, University Representative
Chris Wilson, Environmental
Vacant, Utility Representative
Paula Larson, Community/Citizen-at-Large
J.P. Peters, Community/Citizen-at-Large
Gayle Howard, Service Organization
David Reynolds, Land Development
Cynthia Cope, Forestry, Landscaping, or Horticulture (Chair)
Greg Howe, Urban Forester


MEETING AGENDA – Wednesday, September 9, 2009
4:00pm Room 216 City Administration Building (City Hall)

Call to Order

Accept or Revise the August 18th meeting minutes.

New Business
1) Celebration of Trees – Fall Update
2) Review a proposed change to the Landscape Manual
3) Tree Escrow Planting – Clabber Creek PH II Update
4) Discussion on permanent meeting day and time

Open Forum
1) Member’s discussions on other areas of concern, ideas or suggestions outside of agenda.

2) Guests and visitors opportunity to address the committee on non-agenda items.


Meeting adjourns

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
THE MORNING NEWS
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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Illinois River Watershed to get huge boost to restore riparian forest

Tuesday, August 25, at 9:00 am at the Embassy Suites in Rogers
Governor Mike Beebe will announce a historic $30 million
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
to benefit the Illinois River Watershed and volunteer landowners.

The 15-year Voluntary CREP Program includes
$24 million federal contribution from USDA
$3 million in-kind State match
$1.5 million from Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
$1 million from the Walton Family Foundation and
$500,000 in local public and private funds
including the Arkansas Poultry Federation.
The Illinois River Watershed CREP seeks to establish or restore riparian forest buffers and wildlife habitat buffers by planting native grasses, trees, and shrubs. The goal of the IRW CREP is to conserve, restore and protect water quality, enrolling up to 15,000 acres of eligible marginal pasture and cropland within the Illinois River Watershed.
Join us for Tuesday's historic announcement at

9:00 am. Embassy Suites, Rogers, Arkansas

Friday, August 14, 2009

Poultry litter mqy be considered solid waste if excessive amounts are applied to farmland

TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge ruled Friday poultry litter could be classified as a solid waste under federal environmental laws if it is applied in excessive amounts on farmland.

The decision was a partial victory for Oklahoma in its environmental lawsuit against 12 Arkansas poultry companies. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson claims excessive application of chicken waste has resulted in runoff polluting the Illinois River watershed.

The case has drawn national attention because it could lead to similar lawsuits across the country challenging how the industry does business. A trial is set for Sept. 21.

On Thursday, attorneys for the poultry companies argued the litter should not be labeled solid waste because it has a beneficial use as a fertilizer and a market value. The state argued that litter was "patently" solid waste.

"I reject both approaches," U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell said Friday, before coming up with the compromise ruling. "It's very gray."

Frizzell said excessive application of the litter could make it a solid waste.


Attorneys for both sides spent Friday arguing more pretrial motions, including which evidence could be admitted. In Thursday's hearing, Frizzell ruled an economist who claims the poultry industry knew for years about the environmental harm chicken waste was causing would be allowed to testify.

The 1 million-acre watershed spans parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas and has 1,800 poultry houses, which produce an estimated 345,000 tons of chicken waste each year.

The companies in the lawsuit are Tyson Foods, Cobb-Vantress, Cal-Maine Foods, Cargill, George's, Peterson Farms and Simmons Foods.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Judge guts lawsuit in favor of polluters

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Judge Dismisses Much Of Oklahoma Water Quality Lawsuit

By Doug Thompson
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — A federal court judge dismissed all claims to monetary damages against Arkansas poultry companies in a water quality lawsuit brought by the Oklahoma attorney general.

The Cherokee Nation is an "indispensable" party to the lawsuit's claims and Oklahoma erred in not bringing the tribes into the 2005 suit against 13 Arkansas poultry companies, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla.

The ruling sweeps away Oklahoma's claims of damages of up to $611,529,987, court documents show. The remaining claims are that the Arkansas companies are violating Oklahoma environmental and agricultural law in the disposal of chicken litter in the Illinois River watershed. The suit asks the court to force the poultry producers to comply with those laws.

The case is set for trial Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell ruled earlier from his court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

"While today's ruling removes some of the state's causes, it leaves intact the most important claims — those on injunctive relief," Attorney General Drew Edmondson said in a statement. "This case has never been about money. The case is about protecting the watershed from pollution.

"We are reviewing our options as to how to proceed," Edmondson said.

The Illinois River flows through Northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma. The watershed of the river includes some of the poultry producing region of Northwest Arkansas.

"The Cherokee Nation is an indispensable party and, pursuant to (federal court) Rule 19-b, plaintiff's claims for damages should not, in equity and good conscience, be allowed to proceed among the existing parties," Frizzell said in a 23-page order issued Wednesday.

"We're pleased with the ruling and are grateful the court viewed this matter as seriously as we did," said a statement from Gary Mickelson, spokesman for Tyson Foods of Springdale. "The decision confirms our motion was not the 'legal gimmick' or 'scheme' the attorney general's office claimed it was. We will now be evaluating what the court's decision means to our overall case going forward."

Edmondson's office and the Cherokee Nation reached an agreement in May including the tribes in any monetary damages awarded to Oklahoma. That agreement was reached after defendants filed complaints the Cherokees, not Oklahoma, held much of the land and water rights in the region. That agreement did not satisfy federal court requirements, Frizzell ruled.

The governor of Oklahoma, not the attorney general, is the proper office holder to negotiate binding agreements with the Cherokees and even then any such agreement would require approval by the Oklahoma Legislature, said attorney Marvin Childers, head of the Poultry Federation, an industry lobby.

Frizzell's ruling is without prejudice, which means Oklahoma can refile for monetary damages if an agreement is reached with the Cherokees and get the required state legislative approval, Childers said. "The judge's ruling was very clear about what hoops everybody would have to jump through," he said.

Edmondson is running for governor of Oklahoma.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said while it's technically true the state could refile the monetary claims, "If I were in that position, I'd give long and hard consideration of whether I wanted to go fight this fight again."

McDaniel tried to have Arkansas included in the lawsuit as an interested party, claiming Oklahoma's suit was an attempt to impose Oklahoma law on Arkansas farmers. That attempt to intervene was unsuccessful.

"Oklahoma may claim that it's not about the money, but I doubt the private firm that's representing them in this case feels the same way," McDaniel said. Those private lawyers had incurred $25 million in expenses by the end of last year, Edmondson told an Oklahoma legislative committee in January.

With the monetary claims struck down, the remaining parts are all based on proving Arkansas poultry operations are the cause of pollution in the Illinois River, McDaniel said.

Oklahoma doesn't have any more evidence that poultry is causing pollution of their rivers than it did when they couldn't convince the court to issue an injunction to stop land application of litter in the Illinois watershed, McDaniel said.

When Frizzell denied the injunction, he said levels of pollution in the Illinois River were no higher than Oklahoma rivers that didn't have poultry litter spread in their watersheds.

"Nothing's over until it's absolutely over, but the ruling today is devastating to the state of Oklahoma's case," McDaniel said Wednesday. "Farmers I've talked to in the last hour are hopeful that this truly is the beginning of the end of this litigation. I think they have good cause to believe that."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Green-infrastructure and Land-Use Committee to meet at 7 p.m. today in Fayetteville City Hall

THE NEXT MEETING OF THE FAYETTEVILLE FORWARD ECONOMIC ACCOUNTABILITY COUNCIL'S LAND USE PLANNING AND GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE WILL BE:


THURSDAY---JULY 9-----7 PM-----ROOM 111 ------ CITY HALL


GOAL SETTING: This meeting will briefly review the "What We Have" and "What We Need" of each category and determine short term goals in order to take our information and needs to the next level. Committees have been formed and objectives outlined:
Define and Identify: Land Use Planning and Green Infrastructure
Develop: Policy-- To make Land Use and Green Infrastructure Plan
Describe: Economic Impacts with or without LU & GI Planning

The Committee will review discussion at the June 4 meeting summarized below::
Bob Caulk of the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association presented a power point program outlining the organizations work to date including maps of green areas within and surrounding Fayetteville. He also described the group’s ongoing effort to present infrastructure planning into the small towns on Fayetteville’s borders -- Johnson, Greenland, Farmington, and the Lake Wedington area---as well as plans to bring their project to Fayetteville.
Three poster boards were available for recording WHAT WE HAVE and WHAT WE NEED in each of the three categories for attendees to suggest where the community should be putting green infrastructure/land use planning into the working policies of our community and area.

IDENTIFY: LAND USE PLANNING AND GREEN RASTRUCTURE
What We Have---
--Maps/work/contacts generated by Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association
--School grounds, parks, trails, green spaces –private and public
--Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
--“will”



What We Need----
--Geologic map of city
--Inventory of old growth forest remnants
--Outreach to neighborhoods, individuals, businesses, and other communities to explain and garner support for green infrastructure

DEVELOP: POLICIES –TO MAKE LAND USE & GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE A REALITY
What we have----
Stormwater Issues & Actions
--Developing Stormwater Feasability Study—by Council Directive
--Stormwater infrastructure
--Planning Ordinances & Policies
--Field staff for storm water maintenance
--Nutrient Reduction Plan

Trees---Tree Preservation Ordinance and Landscape Manual
Green Teams---in schools

What we need-----
Storm Water--Complete Storm Water Feasibility Study
--Develop way to move forward—
--Identify ordinances, structure, philosophy, changes

Trees & Habitat
--Conduct Ecological analysis to see if Tree Ordinance working
--Establish a Wildlife Habitat Preservation Ordinance as part of Green Infrastructure
--Conduct a UFORE study to establish data on what trees contribute from an economic point of view
--Encourage use of native plant species
Other----
--Establish a Riparian Zone Ordinance
--Improve/strengthen the Hillside Ordinance
--Transfer Development Rights---get state enabling legislation passed
--Underground Utility policy for public construction projects
--Habitat or conservation zoning
--Education about structural designs that support roof gardens, etc.
--Bees throughout city –attention to insects and pollination needs they provide as well as the ecological system links between insects and bird and bat populations
--Educate children and adults

ECONOMICS ---IMPACTS OF LAND USE PLANNING & GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
What we have----
--Websites & Links
* Robert Costanza/ Gund Institute Website: http://www.uvm.edu/giee/?Page=about/Robert_Costanza.html&SM=about/about_menu.html
“The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics (GIEE) is an environmental institute housed at The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Its primary mission is the study of the relationships between ecological and economic systems through the collaborative work of experts, educators, students, and others from around the world and across a wide variety of academic and environmental disciplines related to ecological economics."
:

Green-infrastructure and Land-Use Committee to meet at 7 p.m. today in Fayetteville City Hall

THE NEXT MEETING OF THE FAYETTEVILLE FORWARD ECONOMIC ACCOUNTABILITY COUNCIL'S LAND USE PLANNING AND GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE WILL BE:


THURSDAY---JULY 9-----7 PM-----ROOM 111 ------ CITY HALL


GOAL SETTING: This meeting will briefly review the "What We Have" and "What We Need" of each category and determine short term goals in order to take our information and needs to the next level. Committees have been formed and objectives outlined:
Define and Identify: Land Use Planning and Green Infrastructure
Develop: Policy-- To make Land Use and Green Infrastructure Plan
Describe: Economic Impacts with or without LU & GI Planning

The Committee will review discussion at the June 4 meeting summarized below::
Bob Caulk of the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association presented a power point program outlining the organizations work to date including maps of green areas within and surrounding Fayetteville. He also described the group’s ongoing effort to present infrastructure planning into the small towns on Fayetteville’s borders -- Johnson, Greenland, Farmington, and the Lake Wedington area---as well as plans to bring their project to Fayetteville.
Three poster boards were available for recording WHAT WE HAVE and WHAT WE NEED in each of the three categories for attendees to suggest where the community should be putting green infrastructure/land use planning into the working policies of our community and area.

IDENTIFY: LAND USE PLANNING AND GREEN RASTRUCTURE
What We Have---
--Maps/work/contacts generated by Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association
--School grounds, parks, trails, green spaces –private and public
--Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
--“will”



What We Need----
--Geologic map of city
--Inventory of old growth forest remnants
--Outreach to neighborhoods, individuals, businesses, and other communities to explain and garner support for green infrastructure

DEVELOP: POLICIES –TO MAKE LAND USE & GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE A REALITY
What we have----
Stormwater Issues & Actions
--Developing Stormwater Feasability Study—by Council Directive
--Stormwater infrastructure
--Planning Ordinances & Policies
--Field staff for storm water maintenance
--Nutrient Reduction Plan

Trees---Tree Preservation Ordinance and Landscape Manual
Green Teams---in schools

What we need-----
Storm Water--Complete Storm Water Feasibility Study
--Develop way to move forward—
--Identify ordinances, structure, philosophy, changes

Trees & Habitat
--Conduct Ecological analysis to see if Tree Ordinance working
--Establish a Wildlife Habitat Preservation Ordinance as part of Green Infrastructure
--Conduct a UFORE study to establish data on what trees contribute from an economic point of view
--Encourage use of native plant species
Other----
--Establish a Riparian Zone Ordinance
--Improve/strengthen the Hillside Ordinance
--Transfer Development Rights---get state enabling legislation passed
--Underground Utility policy for public construction projects
--Habitat or conservation zoning
--Education about structural designs that support roof gardens, etc.
--Bees throughout city –attention to insects and pollination needs they provide as well as the ecological system links between insects and bird and bat populations
--Educate children and adults

ECONOMICS ---IMPACTS OF LAND USE PLANNING & GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
What we have----
--Websites & Links
* Robert Costanza/ Gund Institute Website: http://www.uvm.edu/giee/?Page=about/Robert_Costanza.html&SM=about/about_menu.html
“The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics (GIEE) is an environmental institute housed at The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Its primary mission is the study of the relationships between ecological and economic systems through the collaborative work of experts, educators, students, and others from around the world and across a wide variety of academic and environmental disciplines related to ecological economics."
:

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.
Butterfly
Gardens
Creating, Growing and Enjoying
EARLMAYSEED&NURSERY
www.earlmay.com
SHENANDOAH, IOWA51603
Butterfly Host Plants(continued)
Trees Herbs
Ash Dill
Birch Parsley
Cherry Sweet Fennel
Dogwood
Linden
Poplar
Willow
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
Yarrow
Shrubs Herbs
Azalea Catnip
Butterfly Bush Chives
Lilacs Lavender
Mock Orange Mint
Potentilla
Viburnun
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
Violet
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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Illinois River Watershed Partnership's appreciation Day set for Saturday June 6, 2009, at Lake Fayetteville

This Saturday, June 6, in appreciation of our IRWP sponsors, members, volunteer corps and StreamTeam members...
Illinois River Watershed Appreciation Day, Lake Fayetteville Veteran's Memorial Park
2:00 to 4:00 pm
Canoe races --- canoes and life vests provided by Lake Fayetteville Environmental Study Center
Geocaching treasure hunts --- GPS units and treasure hunt guides provided by USGS
Make your own Water-cycle beaded bracelets, enjoy Disney's Nemo and Ariel face paintings by local artists
Recycling bean bag toss, fishing and kid's games courtesy of Washington County Environmental Affairs and Benton County Extension Service
Sand volleyball with UA's Dr. Dirk Philipp!
4:30 to 7:00 pm
Scrumptious barbecue brisket and hot-dogs with the trimmings
Country western concert by local artist Marshall T. Mitchell http://www.marshallmitchell.com/
All Activities, Food, and Music are FREE! Come, bring your family and friends, join us for a beautiful day in the Illinois River Watershed! Park entrance located just east of Lowe's on Zion Road.
IRWP NEWS:
Arkansas Urban Forestry Council names the IRWP as it's Outstanding Organization of the Year "in recognition of the effort, dedication and outstanding contribution in the promotion and development of the urban forest." Thank you to our friends at AUFC and this honor in recognition of the work of our sponsors, members and volunteer corps! We truly believe "Trees make better water!" and look forward to working with you in the future, combining our efforts in fulfilling our common missions through education, outreach and partnerships.
Watershed Challenge Winners: May Online Challenge to Arkansas Science and Technology Teachers and Students
1st Place: Hector Elementary School, Hector, AR. Teacher Kathy Brunetti.
Prize: Watershed Model Enviroscape - $800 value
2nd Place: R.E. Baker Elementary School, Bentonville, AR. Teacher Phyllis Abraham.
Prize: Magellan Triton 300 GPS unit - $150 value
3rd Place: Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, AR. Teacher Robin Buff.
Prize: "Make Your Own Watershed" Model - $50 value
4th Place: Greenland High School, Greenland, AR. Teacher John Diesel.
Prize: Watershed Eco-Puzzle - $30 value
Congratulations to the IRWP Online Watershed Challenge May 2009 Winners!
Dr. Delia Haak
Executive Director
Illinois River Watershed Partnership
PO Box 8506
Fayetteville, AR 72703
www.irwp.org
479-238-4671

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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Illinois River Watershed Partnership's appreciation Day set for Saturday June 6, 2009, at Lake Fayetteville


Illinois River Watershed Appreciation Day
Enjoy our watershed, meet new friends, greet old friends ... Bring the Family!

WHEN: June 6 from 2 pm to 7 pm.

WHERE: Lake Fayetteville Veteran’s Pavilion entrance on Zion Rd just east of Lowe's

* Geocaching GIS treasure hunt with USGS water quality experts 2 pm – 4 pm

* Family games, canoe races, volleyball tournament 2 pm – 4 pm

* Free delicious barbecue dinner 4:30 pm

* Recognition of IRWP StreamTeam Volunteers 5 pm

* Free family folk music concert by local artist Marshall T. Mitchell 5:30 pm

Co-sponsors USGS, AWRC, Washington County Environmental Affairs, UA Cooperative Extension Service

www.irwp.org

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Illinois River Watershed Partnership's board of directors meets 6 to 9 p.m. TODAY

IRWP Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 6pm – 9pm
Rogers, Nabholz Construction Headquarters

Meanwhile, the Association for Beaver Lake Environment meets at 6 p.m. at the Rogers Public Library.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of construction site mud being washed down S. Hill Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 11, 2009. Construction machines and dumptrucks put a lot of silt in Northwest Arkansas Streams. Watershed groups must combine forces to increase pressure on all jurisdictions in the region to enforce stormwater regulations to prevent flooding and to protect water quality.

The annual member's meeting of the Association for Beaver Lake Environment is at 6:30 p.m. TODAY (Tuesday, May 12th), at the Rogers Public Library.
We will be electing members for our Board of Directors. Hope to see you there.

IRWP Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 6pm – 9pm
Rogers, Nabholz Construction Headquarters

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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April and May events in the Illinois River watershed of Arkansas and Oklahoma

UP
Saturday, April 25 Earth Day at Botanical Gardens 10 am – 2 pm
Join the IRWP and Springdale’s Tree City USA committee by volunteering at our booth. It’s a great way to meet new people and greet old friends!
Monday, April 27 Osage Creek Clean up 9 am – noon
Join the IRWP and Kirksey Middle School 7th graders by helping clean up portions of Osage Creek in Rogers. Clean up crews will meet at the Church at Pinnacle Hills and Home Depot in Rogers at 9 am. Trash bags and gloves provided by Keep Arkansas Beautiful.
May StreamTeam Monitoring
Reminder that May is sampling month for the 2008-2009 IRWP Volunteer StreamTeam Monitoring Project. Please drop your samples off at the AWRC Lab as early in the month as possible and we’ll share yearlong results at our June 6 event.
Many thanks to our IRWP StreamTeam volunteers!
Saturday, May 2 Lake Fayetteville Clean up 9 am – noon
Join the Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership in helping clean up Lake Fayetteville. Bring canoes and kayaks, or come ready for a great “clean up walk” around the lake. Meet at the Environmental Study Center at 511 E. Lakeview. RSVP for lunch @sdale.org
Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 Northwest Arkansas Green Expo
Volunteer at the IRWP booth at the Northwest Arkansas Green Expo at the Benton County Fairgrounds. Watershed quiz games for kids & adults with prizes!
Friday 11 am – 5 pm; Saturday 9 am – 3 pm .nwagreenexpo.com
Tuesday, May 12 IRWP Board Meeting 6 pm – 9 pm
Members and guests, come to the 2nd quarter board meeting of the IRWP to be hosted at Nabholz Construction at 3301 N. 2nd Street, Rogers.
Saturday, June 6 Illinois River Watershed Appreciation Day
Come to Lake Fayetteville, 2 pm to 7 pm, for family fun with kid’s games, fishing, geocaching treasure hunt, canoe races, free barbecue and concert.
IRWP Committees
Education Committee: Tuesday, April 28, 11:30 am Washington Co. Environmental Affairs
Membership Committee: Friday, May 1, 9:00 am Lake Fayetteville Pavilion
Finance Committee: Monday, May 4, 3:00 pm 122 Turnberry, Dawn Hill, Siloam Springs
To volunteer email @irwp.org or call (479) 238-4671

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rogers projects created a lot of environmental damage in 2007. Economic slowdown has slowed process

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of inappropriate treatment of the Illinois River watershed land in Benton County, Arkansas, in October 2007.


Rogers construction has slowed but were stormwater-management efforts completed?

Please click on images to ENLARGE views of red dirt on prairie land and dirt in new streets in Rogers on October 15, 2009.


Benton County officials may have written a good plan but don't expect compliance

Please click on images of typical Benton County stormwater protection efforts along the Osage Creek in the Illinois River watershed on Oct. 15, 2007.




The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Stormwater violations so common in Benton County that this headline sounds like a really bad joke. The lead sentence is misleading.

Benton County Meets Stormwater Requirements

By THE MORNING NEWS
Benton County has met all state and federal stormwater requirements, said Aaron Sadler, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality spokesman.
The agency sent County Judge Dave Bisbee a letter April 13 that shows the county's 2008 annual report has been reviewed and is compliant. The county is required to submit a stormwater plan report annually but had not done so since 2006, according to state records. Sadler said the plan submitted this year appears to be complete.
The county adopted an "enforcement mechanism" as part of its stormwater plan Jan. 30, according to county reports. Bisbee signed a court order just before the Feb. 1 state deadline.
The stormwater regulations are meant to curb sediment runoff from construction sites in the county's designated area. That area is 3 square miles of the most densely populated unincorporated areas, including Monte Ne and Prairie Creek. Federal regulations already apply to all construction sites disturbing 1 acre or more, and those that are smaller and part of a larger development, stormwater officials have said. However, the county must enforce regulations in the designated area.
The stormwater regulations mostly affect builders.

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.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Read my beak, Bella Vista: Don't oil my eggs, don't shoot my goslings

Please click on image of face of Canada goose to Enlarge and read her bill.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Red dirt abominable: West Fayetteville Citizens for Environmental Quality step up against red-dirt farm, limestone quarry

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of dump truck full of red dirt being hauled to construction site in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos.

In the photo above, a layer of something approximating topsoil has been spread over red dirt used in trail construction but the chances of a strong enough crop of grass and other natural vegetation taking hold there to prevent erosion on a slope is questionable. Erosion from this site enters Scull Creek, a tributary of the Illiinois River.
In the photo below, red dirt has been built up several feet for the foundation of a strip shopping center in the riparian zone of a tributary of Fayetteville's Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River.

The story linked below is about as good as it gets for coverage of local resident/environmental groups' meetings. However, it is important to note one mistake, a mistake that may explain why comments about red dirt in water-quality discussions never get quoted by local reporters.
Red dirt is misunderstood.
Red dirt is not "rich, red dirt." A soil expert may be able to tell us about "rich, red dirt" someplace on earth. But "red dirt" in Northwest Arkansas is not topsoil even when one sees it on the surface. The natural topsoil has been removed by the mining process of scraping away the soil found above it.
The red dirt found in Northwest Arkansas is non-organic dirt that will not sustain life. It is stone and clay that has been hidden under a layer of organic soil for eons.
"If God had been proud of red dirt, God would not have buried it out of sight," said one Northwest Arkansas natural-resource conservationist speaking about its use on construction sites.
Road-builders and contractors putting up buildings use red dirt for foundation material. Some engineers and planners and developers call red dirt "good dirt" for their purposes. However, red dirt is the opposite of good for growing food or trees or flowering plants. Contractors who spill it beyond the bounds of a foundation quickly hide it under a layer of some type of organic soil that will at least grow a bit of grass.
But that means the possibility of raising a healthy garden or having a tree grow successfully for the long term is impossible forever, or at least until the red dirt is removed! Whole subdivisions may be found with solid red dirt where truly rich almost black topsoil formerly created fertile prairie land with the immense potential for agriculture and wildlife habitat. NOTHING LIVES IN OR ON RED DIRT. Human beings and other living things depend on organic soil for their existence.
Basically, red dirt-covered development sites are as impervious to water as paved lots. Stormwater runs off rapidly because it cannot soak in. The elements that erode from red dirt discolor streams and lakes and rivers and the silt doesn't stop discoloring the water for a long, long time. Native lIfe in streams decreases permanently after such changes in the watershed.
So, please, editors and reporters, let's not use the words "rich" and "red dirt" together. Certainly, people selling lots of red dirt may be enriched. But their product is not "rich" as an agricultural or environmental expert would use the word.
West Fayetteville serious about fighting red-dirt and limestone quarry


Neighbors decry noise, effects of blasting at Big Red Dirt Farm
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/74075/
They're tired of the blasting, they're tired of the noise at all hours of the night and they certainly don't want to see the Big Red Dirt Farm, just off Hamstring Road north of Wedington Drive, converted into a limestone quarry.
That's why members of the West Fayetteville Citizens for Environmental Quality asked Ward 4 Aldermen Shirley Lucas and Sarah Lewis at the group's meeting Monday for the City Council's help in the battle against what has become a noisy, arguably dangerous, big hole in a number of resident's backyard.
"Quarry blasting on the edge of city limits can't be a good thing," Dave Bolen, president of the group, said.
The issue dates back to 2004, when about 50 acres were purchased by the William G. Sweetser Trust and A. Brad Johnson, who began farming the land for its rich, red dirt. Soon, the company decided to harvest the pillars of limestone that ran up through the dirt. Bolen said that was when his headaches started.
"They decided to fire up a rock crusher at 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night," Bolen told Lucas and Lewis.