Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Three-hour public-listening session fills Chamber of Commerce meeting room early with small groups toward noon

Transition team committee Dec. 29, 2008, NWAT

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Linda Ralston (from left), Michelle Halsell and James Phillips facing the camera, with Cindy Cope at right and Julie McQuade facing the table. Not pictured were Jeff Erf and Walt Eilers (chairman of the Jordan mayoral transition teams' communition subcommittee).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Squirrels happiest creature in a bountiful October even sitting on the stump of an old friend

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Police and Firefighter banner endorsing Lioneld Jordan for mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, on October 25, 2008.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good idea only if using waste material from agriculture and timber production and without decreasing wildlife habitat. Clearing land pollutes air

Summit promotes growing high-energy plants
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69979/
Northwest Arkansas Times Fayetteville’s first ever Sustainability Summit brought more than 300 people to the city’s center to talk about ways organizations can become more environmentally friendly. One way discussed was a switch from conventional diesel fuel to the use of bioenergybased fuel. Jim Wimberly with BioEnergy System LLC in Fayetteville talked about the energy-efficient idea at a small breakout session during the summit. “ Agriculture and energy are so intertwined, ” Wimberly said.
He said the idea is to start promoting the growth of high-energy yielding plants that can be processed and manufactured into a full spectrum of energy projects, including fuel for automobiles.
“ In essence, plants are batteries, ” he said. “ They store energy through photosynthesis. ”
Arkansas provides a large amount of natural resources to make bioenergy manufacturing a reality, Wimberly said, and if the state takes an active interest in the concept, it could cut in half its yearly 1 billion gallons of petroleum used each year.
“ It would take just under a million acres of herbaceous energy crops (crops high in energy ) to displace half of that diesel used, ” he said.
Wimberly said a lot of research is being done on soybeans to create biodiesel, and that it’s a good fuel. However, he said fuel users need to broaden their horizons.
“ We need to quit being worried about planting a future around traditional approaches to biofuel, ” he said.
The state has the forest and farmland to support biofuel operations, which makes it already an attractive location to bioenergy companies, Wimberly said, but Arkansas and its cities need to work towards sealing the deal with the green fuel producers.
“ We are in competition with neighboring states, ” Wimberly said.
Financial incentives as well as getting state landowners and far mers on board with the idea could be the key, Wimberly said.
“ It’s not going to happen unless (farmers ) can make at least as much money as they do growing traditional crops, ” he said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Only 8 polling places open today for school-board election

Polling Places

Zn # 1 Precincts 6, 19, 22, 28, 30, 39
Prairie Twp 1-A
Northeast Baptist Church
2578 Oakland Zion Road

Zn #2 Precincts 7, 8, 11, 12, 21, 29, 42,
Elkins, Prairie Twp 1-B,
Prairie Twp 2, Richland,
Richland-S, Wyman
First United Presbyterian Church
695 Calvin

Zn #2 Goshen City, Goshen Twp,
Brush Creek Twp
Goshen Community Center

Zn # 3 Precincts 2, 20, 27
Covenant Church
4511 W. Wedington

Zn # 3 Precincts 1,9,10,15,26,35, Center Twp
Farmington, Prairie Twp 3
Wiggins Methodist Church
205 W. 6th Street/MLK Blvd

Zn # 4 Precincts 13, 14, 23, 31, 37, 38, 40,41
Johnson City, Johnson Twp,
Prairie Twp 4 Wheeler
Trinity Methodist Church
1021 W. Sycamore

Zn # 4 Precincts 17, 18, 32
Sequoyah Methodist Church
1910 Old Wire Road

Zn # 5 Precincts 3, 4, 5, 24, 25, 33, 34, 36
Central Methodist Church
6 W. Dickson Street

Or call the County Clerk's office

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Small moths and butterflies on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008

Please click on images for larger view of moths and butterflies on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008.

Pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Painted lady nectaring on World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of painted lady butterfly on zinnea on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 23, 2008.

For Painted lady information
please click the link.
For Painted lady and Red Admiral information please click the link.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Morning News reports that school-board supports new high school on old site

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

New High School Gets Green Light On Current Site

By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE -- A 21st century high school will be built on the current site of Fayetteville High School.
Please click on
High school to be rebuilt on site to read the rest of the story of copy and paste the code below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

City Council to consider allowing Hill Place student-apartment developers to dredge out portion of tree-protection area and an existing trail area

Please click on image to ENLARGE and read. The photo is from August 3, 2008, when we found several youngsters swimming and fishing in the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River in the hole immediately downstream from the big culvert.
The city council agenda session Tuesday night will include include discussion of putting a revision of the PZD already approved for the Hill Place student apartments to be built on the site cleared in 2003, 2004, and 2005 for the Aspen Ridge condominium project.
Members of the Town Branch Neighborhood Association are uncertain that this change in the PZD will help reduce the flooding threat south of the Hill Place project. The value of that stream crossing is undeniable. People have walked it for decades. Wildflowers, understory vegetation used for roosting and nesting by many species of birds, and some large trees will be removed if the walkway is removed. Logically, this walkway should be listed as a future trail site, to connect the Cherokee Trail that is to pass beneath the railroad and cross the old east-west rail trestle with the trail to be builgt by the Hill Place developers along the Brooks Avenue right of way previously cleared and dredged-out through the Pinnacle Foods Inc. wetland prairie south of Hill Place and west of World Peace Wetland Prairie, an existing city nature park and turn south to connect to 12th Street. The stream crossing is important. The hole of water immediately south of the big culvert is the deepest hole for fish and for people who want to swim between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Fifteenth Street. Pinnacle Foods Inc. has offered to donate the 2 acres closest to World Peace Wetland Prairie to increase the size of WPWP.

Big Culvert featured in Free Weekly on July 15, 2004

Please click on images to ENLARGE and read article.

Open for reuse

Monday, September 1, 2008

Town Branch neighbor in the news

Ozark Profile : Creel intertwines her life with process of birth
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Monday, September 1, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/68701/
Apositive aura glows around Jennifer Creel. This is a woman who’s spent her existence bringing new life into the world. This is a woman whose passion is empowering other women in the birthing process. Most of all, she’s a woman who wants women to have the choice to give birth the natural way.

“ I see myself as a protector of natural birth, ” Creel said.

Creel was born in Dalton, Ga., and spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Franklin, Tenn. It wasn’t until college that she found herself in Fayetteville. In 1993 she came to the University of Arkansas to play soccer and major in zoology.

“ I was a goalie, ” she said. “ It was short lived. ”

Creel found out she was pregnant with her first daughter in 1995 and made the decision to move home to have the baby. It was nine months later that she had her first experience with childbirth at a hospital in Nashville.

“ I felt like I was completely informed. Of course, when you don’t know all your choices, you have no options, ” she said.

Overall, Creel described the birth of her daughter Greenley as a very painful experience with echoing negative effects on her body. Creel said she felt like she had no control over the decisions the doctors made, what medications they gave her and what procedures they did during labor.

At that point, Creel’s new life began.

She joined the Northwest Arkansas La Leche League, a support group for breastfeeding mothers and after discussing her childbirth experience with a few other new mothers she found that there was an underlying connection.

“ A lot of them had home births, ” she said. “ They didn’t have the same feelings of pain or loss of control. ”

Creel went back to the UA and started to research the concept of home birth. She found that a lot of countries, especially Scandinavian ones, preferred home birth to hospitalization, which pushed her further towards her ultimate decision.

While at school finishing her zoology degree, Creel had another realization. She said she was a single mother, and she just didn’t see herself working away in a laboratory.

“ It didn’t have much contact with people, which I love so much, ” Creel said.

In 1998 during her last semester at the UA, she started an apprenticeship with the Arkansas Midwives School and Services. During the two-year program, Creel married Curt Richardson and eventually had her own home birth.

“ It was just an awesome experience, ” she said. “ I was able to do it uninhibited. It really solidified in my mind that I could facilitate empowering safe births for families. ”

Creel said the program wasn’t easy. In fact, she said the very first home birth she attended, she beat her mentor to the scene and was worried that she’d have to deliver the baby on her own.

“ I was 22; (the mother ) was in the bathroom. When I walked in, she looked at me very calmly and said, ‘ The head is right here, ’ and then she showed me, ” Creel said with a chuckle.

After that, Creel was sold. She passed her certifications in 2000 and went from there. But it wasn’t a simple task. Creel said she delivers about four to five babies per month and most come in the same week.

“ They don’t like to be born in the nine-to-five hours, ” she said laughing.

Creel now has an apprentice of her own, Maria Chowdhury, and together they run the Birthroot Midwifery organization in Fayetteville. Creel has delivered more than 250 babies.

One family even flew Creel to Japan to help them out. She said she’d helped the mother give birth to her first child, and that when she was contacted by the family to help them deliver the second child, she began her normal nine-month monitoring process. Unfortunately, the father’s job transferred the family across the Pacific Ocean late in the term, and the traditional Japanese midwife would not take such a late-term newcomer.

“ So they called me and asked me if I would fly out, ” Creel said.

There were a few clients she was looking after, but Creel said she could help if those babies came quickly, which they did. Suddenly she found herself on a plane to Japan.

“ I traveled for 36 hours, and when I got off the plane and saw (the mother’s ) face, I said to her, ‘ I got here just in time, ’” she said.

Ten hours later the baby was born.

Creel’s journey has not been without difficulty. Three years ago in July, she lost her second child, Elleya, to a sudden infection. Creel left midwifery for 14 months and debated even coming back to the profession. She called her decision to come back the dividing point in her career. She said when she first became a midwife she felt love and joy for the experience. After her tragedy Creel said she could really see what drove her to do what she does and be who she is. She can even remember one of the first births she delivered after she came back.

“ The mother was siting on the toilet backwards. She looked at me, and she calmly said, ‘ I’m having really strong contractions, ’” Creel said. “ Then she quickly stood up and gave birth to a beautiful baby. It was really overwhelming. Coming back to work and getting to be part of another positive life experience was a good thing. ”

Creel’s family often gets the brunt of her profession. She said long days with birthing mothers leave her kids with their father to cook for them. She said when her oldest daughter, now 13, hears her mom leave in the night she stops her and asks for cooking ideas once her dad’s standard two-meal rotation is over.

“ Apparently breakfast for dinner gets old, ” Creel said with a laugh.

Creel said other tough parts about her on-call job include missing school events, birthdays and family get-togethers, but her husband said that’s just something the family works through.

“ It’s part of our family life, ” Richardson said. “ If our babies were still nursing when she left, I’d have to go find out where she was and bring the nursing baby. ”

Aside from the hectic nature of the job, Richardson said he’s nothing but proud of his wife.

“ I think she just has a complete understanding of the process of birth, ” he said. “ It’s her gift. ”

Creel said midwifery has just taken over who she is. She said her house is right next to her office, and the profession has taught her to be a strong, resolved woman. She enjoys every second of it.

“ Getting to know the families and getting to witness the birth of the family, it’s positive pain working towards a positive experience, ” Creel said. “ Being fully present for your life experiences, whether they are joyful or painful, is the most fulfilling way to live. ”

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Friday, August 29, 2008

Special art gathering on north edge of the neighborhood

Diverse plants and wildlife call World Peace Wetland Prairie home on August 29, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of butterflies and flowers and tall grass on August 29, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

First and second photos above feature a monarch butterfly nectaring on native thistles on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Native thistles are NOT outlawed and are exceptionally valuable to butterflies, bees and numerous species of birds.
The following two photos (below) feature Centaurea Americana, the American basketflower, surrounded by Demaree's gaura or Gaura demareei, and Dematree's gaura is seen up close in the fifth photo.

Gaura demareei above.
A small, pale butterfly rests on tall grass in the sixth photo (below).

Florida lettuce above (Latuca floridana) above.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blast from past: Reasons for protecting wetland not common knowledge among politicians

Posted 8/29/04 on www.aubunique.com
First posted on http"//www.aubunique.com in 2004
Coody finally keeps promise but doesn't stay long

Aubrey's Notebook:
Mayor's Request Would Have Council Ignore Task Force Report
Recommends Putting All Tree, Trail Money Into One Purchase
Mayor Dan Coody visits Town Branch watershed August 23, 2004, fullfilling a promise made in March.

It seems that Mayor Dan Coody is in a big rush to get the Fayetteville City Council to ignore the recommendation of the city's Tree and Trail Task Force and use the full remaining $100,000 from the Steele Crossing lawsuit settlement to acquire 2.44 acres of mostly steep woodland on South West Avenue from renowned architect Fay Jones.
The reason is that there is a deadline to act on the offer to Fay Jones. If that deadline were extended, then maybe there could be a bit more discussion.
I agree that Jones' property must be protected. He bought it more than 35 years ago and has kept it in nearly pristine condition ever since.
I admire and respect Fay Jones for protecting the land all these years and believe he should be paid properly for it. However, both parcels are important and environmentally sensitive and must be protected for their conservation value. There has to be a way to acquire and protect both areas. Such places are disappearing rapidly inside Fayetteville and all over Northwest Arkansas.
Many people who have known me a long time realize that I can't imagine how anyone could disturb Jones' parcel and can't really understand why this progressive city hasn't gotten further in developing ordinances that would protect steep slopes, woodland and wetland.
I believe that the city of Rogers got several steps ahead of us with its recently passed storm-water regulations, which require a bit more than ours.
The wonderful thing is that Fayetteville still has many creeks, while Rogers and Springdale have ditched and paved many of theirs. Rogers is trying to restore a portion of the Osage Creek through the city to something similar to the meandering stream it was originally, after many years as a giant, paved ditch.
The situation reminds me of the rush in the 1980s and 90s to channelize a magnificent bayou through Little Rock!
I read that some portion of that cypress-lined stream is now under public protection. I floated and waded much of it before the Gazette closed in 1991. I caught a lot of bass but ate none of them!
Springdale has a plan to UNCOVER a portion of Spring Creek downtown to become a part of its revitalized downtown. Those cities recognize their mistakes and are trying to re-create part of what was destroyed at great cost. Basically, we need to provide stronger regulation of stream riparian zones and the adjacent wetland areas.
This brings us back to the topic at hand. The Tree and Trail Task Force decided in the fall of 2003 to try to buy the 2.46 acres of wetland prairie off S. Duncan Ave. An appraisal came in lower than the developer expected, but the task force was under the impression that public money could be used only to pay the appraised price, thus the members suggested that Mayor Coody try to negotiate. Negotiation stalled because the developer needed more than the appraised price to cover his losses.
At the developer's request, I met with the mayor in his office and invited him to walk the Town Branch watershed with me. He was busy in March but said he would come out later in the spring.
Dan finally spent 45 minutes or so with me in the Town Branch watershed Aug. 23, 2004, but I wasn't able to share with him all the reasons that this prairie wetland deserves city protection.
The nice thing was that the mayor got to see a DRY wetland prairie, something that would have been impossible in spring or early this summer. Some of the wettest land had dried and cracked in the few places where the vegetation was exposed.\
There was a small spot where one of the neighbors had mowed a path into the 2-acre wetland prairie off S. Duncan between 11th and 12th streets and knocked over three or four chimneys created by Ozark burrowing crayfish. I tried to explain that these are not the stream or swamp crawdads of the south that I knew in Louisiana or Dan knew growing up in southeast Texas.
These are crawdads that live in the aquifers under the prairies and partially wooded wetland areas paralleling the streams in many places in the Ozarks. They are also known as Osage burrowing crayfish, if one searches online.
Yes, some are big enough to eat! If you toss them into the creek they will try to find their way back to the prairie!
Such prairies as the acreage around our home, including our yard, absorb water and allow it to drain into the aquifer.
When the ground dries out as it finally did in mid-August this year, that land is ready to soak up several inches of rain when it comes. That was what I was trying to explain to Dan Coody. The floods of late April and early July occurred after the wetland prairie areas in Fayetteville, especially in the watershed of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River, were holding all the water they could because of almost daily rain.
The failure of stormwater detention ponds designed to slow runoff from newly roofed and paved areas contributed to the worst muddying of Beaver Lake since the dam was built in the 1060s. Smallmouth bass can be expected to fail to reproduce in the streams affected by the siltation. Many less well-known species will be in the same situation. Life thrives in clear water running over clean rock.
Engineering can't replace that natural storm-water protection. Protecting every vegetated acre that can be protected is the only key to keeping a bit of Northwest Arkansas as it was when I first lived here in the '60s.
There will be grant money to help restore such areas not only to protect people such as some of my neighbors whose home flooded three different nights in 2004 but also to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and to offer wildflowers and other natural beauty.
Anyone who has studied our Web site, http://www.aubunique.com , can imagine how many hours Lauren and I spent last year documenting just a few species of native flowering plants and typical prairie grass on the 2 acres behind our home, the part of the 2.46 acres that was approved by the city planning commission for 36 apartment units in May 2003. In June 2003, the Corps of Engineers issued the developer a permit for the site.\
However, James Mathias, the developer, agreed to delay development to give our neighborhood's Town Branch Neighborhood Association time to buy the land for preservation. In May 2004, his development permit was renewed for another year and he agreed again to delay work on the project to give us more time.
With the few wooded and prairie acres to the north between 11th and 6th streets along the Town Branch west of Hill Avenue slated for development and the many acres being developed on the west arm of the Town Branch west of Razorback Road, such small parcels of prairie wetland become increasingly important in storm-water protection along the Town Branch and in preventing further siltation of Beaver Lake.
I can't possibly share a lifetime outdoors with others well enough to make them understand why I care about these things. But Stormwater II regulations spell out the federal rules. Links to those rules may be found on this Web site.
Over and over, I have been told by employees of the Corps of Engineers and national and state environmental agencies that "your city can make stronger rules."

They KNOW that the federal rules are a weak compromise.

The bulk of the Wilson Spring prairie wetland is doomed to be developed. The part that remains can help educate the public about the value of such places in the Illinois River watershed.
Our neighborhood wetland prairie offers similar value as a demonstration area for owners of parcels small and large in the White River watershed. It was never plowed by the farmers in the first half of the 20th century and it was never built upon when the land was subdivided in the 1950s. The reasons are obvious.
Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

Site design by Lauren Hawkins' LDHdesign

A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species

CREDO Action from Working Assets is proud to bring you an urgent alert from our friends at Defenders of Wildlife.

The Bush administration has announced a new proposal that would gut the Endangered Species Act — one of America's most important environmental laws. Now Defenders of Wildlife needs our help to preserve the vital checks and balances that protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled animals.

I urge you to read the message below from Defenders of Wildlife's president, Rodger Schlickeisen, and take action today to save our endangered species.

Michael Kieschnick
President, CREDO Mobile
Emergency Action
A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species.
Urge your Representative and Senators to help stop the Bush/Cheney plan to gut the Endangered Species Act.
Dear Wildlife Supporter,
With less than 160 days left in power, the Bush/Cheney Administration has launched an unprecedented backdoor assault on America's endangered species!
Don't let them get away with it. Urge your Representative and Senators to do everything in their power to stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's eleventh-hour assault on America's wildlife.
For more than 30 years, the Endangered Species Act has protected wildlife at risk of extinction. Now the Bush/Cheney Administration wants to eliminate vital checks and balances that are crucial to protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled wildlife.
Please help protect endangered animals from the Bush/Cheney Administration's attack. Take action now.
Announced earlier this week, the Bush/Cheney proposal would severely limit scientific review by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service of projects that could harm imperiled wildlife. And it would explicitly limit the ability of these expert agencies to consider how greenhouse gas emissions from such projects could impact polar bears, wolverines and other wildlife that may go extinct due to global warming.
Instead, agencies proposing projects such as highways, dams, mines, oil or gas drilling and virtually any other activity would be allowed to decide for themselves whether a project is likely to impact any of the nearly 1,400 species currently protected by the Endangered Species Act — without the crucial independent review now provided by scientific experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Many of these agencies do not even have biologists or other qualified staff to make such a determination.
Even worse, the new regulations would impose a brief 60-day review period for agencies, making it even less likely that anyone involved in the process will have the time or expertise to fully evaluate the potential harmful effects of a given project on sensitive wildlife or the habitat it needs to survive.
Help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's assault on protections for our endangered species. Please take action now.
There are less than 160 days left in the Bush/Cheney Administration — and even less time for your Members of Congress to act. Please take action now to help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's last-minute attempt to eliminate effective protections for the wildlife that you and I love.
Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Two years ago, Defenders of Wildlife led the fight that stopped Congressional legislation that would have gutted the Endangered Species Act. Now we need your help to stop the Bush Administration from trying to do the same thing. Please take action now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monarchs mating now produce generation that goes to Mexico in October

Monarchs migrate south in fall

Please don't mow or cut your milkweed. If the leaves are being eaten away, that means that a new generation of monarch butterflies will be appearing in time to migrate to Mexico in October and return in spring to produce next year's monarchs. Their caterpillars must have some species of milkweed to survive on!

PLEASE CLICK on image to ENLARGE photo of a pair of monarch butterflies mating in the Town Branch neighborhood on August 26, 2008. The flower is a rose of sharon bush, a favorite of many pollinators and, when allowed to grow strong and at least 6 feet tall provides nesting habitat for cardinals and other species of songbirds in Northwest Arkansas. Although nonnative, it is a valuable and harmless species, especially outside a bathroom or kitchen window because bird nests in these bushes may be easy to watch from indoors without disturbing parents or baby birds This plant is on Don Hoodenpyle's property and is only 150 feet from the stream. Hoodenpyle has a south American native milkweed in the vicinity and the caterpillars resulting from the mating of these two monarchs are likely to eat the leaves of the milkweed and be ready to head southwest in October.

Free weekly cover and story and photos on Town Branch neighborhood's 2004 effort to protect watershed

Please click on image to ENLARGE and read.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ward One meeting views project planning in Beaver Lake watershed

The desiginated Fayette Junction area is south of the Town Branch neighborhood starting at 15th Street. Old maps actually show Fayette Junction as including the southwest portion of the Town Branch neighborhood along the railroads that historically joined in that area.

Please click on images to ENLARGE:

In the top photo, the Stonebridge Meadows project is shown with north to the right and west at the top. The project is near the West Fork of the White River and drains to the stream.
In the second photo, developer Hank Broyles has turned the concept drawing to put north at the top. Dead Horse Mountain Road runs north and south along the left side in this photo.
Fayetteville City Council members Adella Gray (left) and Brenda Thiel listen to presentations by the developer after hearing an explanation of the city planning division's rationale for its proposed master plan for the Fayette Junction area of south Fayetteville in the third photo. A series of meetings has been scheduled in south Fayetteville to familiarize residents with the concept and to hear public comment.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ward One meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 18, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE.

There will be a Ward 1 Meeting - Monday, August 18, 2008
6:30 PM Room 326, City Administration Building

The Fayette Junction Complete Neighborhood Plan will be discussed as well as any other issues regarding Ward 1.

Julie McQuade
Neighborhood Coordinator
City of Fayetteville
Planning Division
125 W. Mountain Street
Fayetteville AR 72701

Fayette Junction master plan material on city Web site.

Why isn't this a rain garden instead of a raised garden?

Please click on IMAGE to ENLARGE view of a raised island flower garden with rain water standing around it. There are thousands of such expensive, wasteful "unsustainable" put-and-take flower gardens in Northwest Arkansas. City planning regulations should FORBID such abominations.

A raingarden in the same spot would be created BEFORE the lot was covered with red dirt for paving, using the natural soil found in all the former prairie areas such as along Fayetteville's Martin Luther King Boulevard. Paving would be sloped to allow water to flow into these gardens instead of into storm drains. This would allow these original-soil patches to harbor native species of grass and wildflowers that would NEVER require watering. The excess water could soak through to the natural aquifer and be cleansed by the soil and plants. In dry periods, the plants would become dormant but revive when moisture returns. Landscape architects and planners know how to do these things. Why are they not required by law?
Someone might suggest that cars would drive into the ground-level or depressed garden spots. But a simple barrier a few inches off the ground instead of a concrete curb would prevent this and would not cost any more than a curb.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monarch butterflies visit World Peace Wetland Prairie to lay eggs on milkweed so that caterpillars can eat and grow

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of monarch butterfly August 10, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Please click on link to ENLARGE tall-green milkweed, Asclepias hirtella, at World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 10, 2008.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Zinnea with bee on World Peace Wetland Prairie eastside peace circle garden

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of bee on zinnea at World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 7, 2008.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sustainable yard committee offers sanity to code-enforcement decisions

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville Wants Neat Yards, Sort Of
By Skip Descant
The Morning News
FAYETTEVILLE - The finer points of lawn maintenance, such as hairstyles or fashion, is anything but cut and dry.

Which is why one of Fayetteville's newest city-organized committees - the Sustainable Yard Maintenance Committee - is working to draft an ordinance to give the code enforcement department clearer direction regarding which front yards need a visit from the lawn mower and which ones can remain somewhat unkempt.

"Some of those naturalized landscapes look very nice and we don't want to prohibit that," said Bernie Kurz, who works with the Washington County Extension office and serves on the sustainable yard committee.

"Some people have really nice vegetable gardens in their front yards - not a lot - but a few," said Lisa Netherland, who serves on the committee. "And then other people will have these beautiful English cottage gardens."

City code doesn't particularly allow for some of these natural landscape schemes. Once grass gets taller than eight inches, property owners can be cited by the city, said John Coleman, Fayetteville sustainability coordinator, and the Sustainable Yard Maintenance Committee chairman.

But with the committee in the early stages - Tuesday was its third meeting - a large part of the work involves sifting through and defining the proposed ordinance language.

For example, what's the difference between "noxious plants" and "evasive plants." Luckily, half of that job has already been done. State law identifies the following non-native plants as noxious and are banned: purple loosestrife, giant salvia, water Hyacinth and Japanese blood grass.

Clearly defining what qualifies as controlled nature and what's simply neglect will be up to the committee as it slogs through these types of discussions in the coming weeks before the draft gets legal review and ultimately hits the front steps of the city council.

"That's how this all started," said Coleman. "We don't have solid language of what constitutes a managed yard."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Neighborhood's namesake stream offers relief from 100-degree heat

Please click on link to Enlarge photos of boys enjoying city stream about 200 yards south of Sixth Street, the Martin Luther King Boulevard, which is adjacent to the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on August 3, 2008.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Build a rain barrel, help reduce erosion in the watershed and water plants free

Beaver Water District To Conduct Rain Barrel Building
Workshops July 26th at Fayetteville Farmers Market

For immediate release: July 15, 2008
Beaver Water District will conduct three rain barrel building workshops at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 26th, at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on the downtown square in Fayetteville. Those participating will learn how to build a rain barrel and leave with step-by-step instructions. Additionally, barrels built that day will be given away in a drawing to those who attend. Rain barrels are a water conservation tool. Positioned under a gutter of a home, a rain barrel will capture runoff during rain events. Water may then be used to water the lawn and flowers. For more information, e-mail Amy Wilson, Director of Public Affairs for Beaver Water District at awilson@bwdh2o.org.
Audubon Arkansas also will be on the Fayetteville Square that day with a stream table conducting demonstrations showing how erosion occurs in a watershed setting and how this impacts the watershed and receiving streams and lakes. Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Beaver Water District’ s mission is to serve our customers in the Benton and Washington County area by providing high quality drinking water that meets or exceeds all federal and state regulatory requirements in such quantities as meets their demands and is economically priced consistent with our quality standards. For more information, visit www.bwdh2o.org.

Amy L. Wilson, Director of Public Affairs
Beaver Water District, P.O. Box 400, Lowell, AR 72745
awilson@bwdh2o.org; 479-756-3651

“Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes – one for peace and one for science.” -- John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Butterflies love coneflowers at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to Enlarge photo of butterfly on coneflower at World Peace Wetland Prairie's Elleya Richardson Memorial Butterfly Garden.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Government protection of wetland pathetic

EPA Enforcement Is Faulted
Agency Official Cites Narrow Reading of Clean Water Act
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 8, 2008; A06
An official administration guidance document on wetland policy is undermining enforcement of the Clean Water Act, said a March 4 memo written by the Environmental Protection Agency's chief enforcement officer.
The memo by Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, was obtained by the advocacy group Greenpeace and released yesterday by two House Democratic committee chairmen. It highlights the confusion that has afflicted federal wetland protections since a 2006 Supreme Court decision.
That 5 to 4 decision, known as Rapanos v. United States, held that the Army Corps of Engineers had exceeded its authority when it denied two Michigan developers permits to build on wetland, but the court split on where the Corps should have drawn the line on what areas deserve protection.
A plurality made of up Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. proposed an across-the-board reduction in the Corps' regulatory role, but Justice Anthony M. Kennedy -- who cast the deciding vote -- called for a case-by-case approach in deciding how the government should proceed. That left the ruling open to interpretation.
In his memo to Benjamin Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water, Nakayama wrote that the document the agency issued in June 2007 to guide regulators' decisions under the Rapanos decision is having "a significant impact on enforcement." Nakayama and his staff concluded that between July 2006 and December 2007, EPA's regional offices had decided not to pursue potential Clean Water Act violations in 304 cases "because of jurisdictional uncertainty."
Much of the controversy centers on what sort of waterway and accompanying wetland should qualify for protection. The administration's guidance instructs federal officials to focus on the "relevant reach" of a tributary, which translates into a single segment of a stream. In the memo, Nakayama argued that this definition "isolates the small tributary" and "ignores longstanding scientific ecosystem and watershed protection principles critical to meeting the goals" of the Clean Water Act.
Chairmen Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee and James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent a letter yesterday to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson saying they have "grave concerns" about the way the agency is implementing the Clean Water Act.
The two noted that Nakayama concluded that in all, the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent guidance document "negatively affected approximately 500 enforcement cases" in nine months. They also questioned why EPA's Grumbles did not raise the issue when he testified before Oberstar's panel less than three months ago.
"This sudden reduction in enforcement activity will undermine the implementation of the Clean Water Act and adversely affect EPA's responsibility to protect the nation's waters," the congressmen wrote. "Yet instead of sounding the alarm about EPA's enforcement problems, the agency's public statements have minimized the impact of the Rapanos decision."
In response to a question about the congressional inquiry, EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said in an e-mail: "We will be reviewing the new request and will work with the chairmen to provide information on our enforcement program."
Eric Schaeffer, who used to head EPA's civil enforcement division and now heads the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group, called Nakayama's memo "very significant. It lays out very clearly why you can't enforce one of the most important parts of the Clean Water Act."
EPA officials are not the only ones growing frustrated with the confusing legal interpretations of the Rapanos decision. Robert B. Propst, a senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, wrote in a Nov. 7, 2007, decision that he was reassigning a wetland case "to another judge for trial. At least one of the reasons is that I am so perplexed by the way the law applicable to this case has developed that it would be inappropriate for me to try it again."
© 2008 The Washington Post Company
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Friday, July 4, 2008

Downtown General zone? Why not Neighborhood Conservation?

Please click on image of native-stone house and giant catalpa trees uphill from Spout Spring Branch in south Fayetteville, Arkansas. This lot and adjacent blocks in the area would be zoned Downtown General rather than Neighborhood Conservation if the Walker Park Neighborhood Master Plan is not revised.

When I advocated closer study of geography and existing homes in the Walker Park neighborhood before the rezoning plan is approved, I was thinking of many places.
Here is the intersection at the far northeast corner of the Walker Park master plan and it is in blue on the concept plan as "downtown general." I was wrong about that being Mary Carr's house, which is a block north on Huntsville.
Riparian zone of Spout Spring Branch starts part way down this lot this corner lot or it certainly starts in the adjoining lot. Any disruption of soil or anything else on this property would be within what should be the no-build zone to protect the Beaver Lake Watershed and would imperial the quality of the stream.

GIANT catalpa trees are pretty common in this part of town but are being taken down regularly. Here here are examples worth saving.

Native stone houses are disappearing rapidly in this part of town and here is an example worth saving. I know, it isn't of as high quality as the one removed from the land of the late Ray Adams on S. School Ave. to make way for Advance Auto, but it is a wonderful dwelling and of historic value.

Mill Ave., of course, is the extension of E. South Street leading northeastward from the narrow block that was discussed by Tony Wappel in the council meeting this past Tuesday.

Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July is buttonbush month in Northwest Arkansas wetland areas and along streams and ditches

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE PHOTO of Buttonbush inflorescence on World Peace Wetland Prairie on June 2, 2008.

I have been asked why I discourage people from using radical clearing methods on wetland prairies, especially small parcels and urban parcels such as World Peace Wetland Prairie.
One of the main reasons is that some prairie and wetland native species need to grow tall and strong and not be cut bank or burned off if they are to reach their full potential.
The buttonbush is among the easiest to identify in this category at this time of year. The buttonbush is a sure marker of wetland when found growing in the wild. Its value to many species of wildlife is well-documented. And it is among the better native species for protecting riparian zones of streams from eroding.

Read what Texas A&M's Aquaplant Website has to say about the amazing buttonbush.

Plant Identification


Description Management Options Other Photos

Cephalanthus occidentalis
Buttonbush is a woody shrub (3-10 feet tall) that occasionally grows into a small tree and can be found above water or in water up to 4 feet deep. It has shiny dark-green spear-or egg-shaped pointed leaves 3 to 6 inches long. The leaves are opposite or whorled in 3's or 4's along the stem. Flowers of buttonbush are easily identified by their greenish-white tube flowers in dense ball-shaped clusters about 1 inch in diameter. Seed heads are brown.
Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc. ). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called "detritus") for many aquatic invertebrates. Buttonbush seeds are occasionally eaten by ducks but the bush itself is used for nesting by many bird species.

Emergent Plant Index
Alligator Weed
American Lotus
Banana Lily (Floating Heart)
Blue Flag
Bull Tongue
Common Reed
Cow Lily (Spatterdock)
Dollar Bonnet (Water Shield)
Floating Heart (Banana Lily)
Fragrant Water Lily (White Water Lily)
Giant Reed
Lizard's Tail
Mexican Water Lily (Yellow Water Lily) Pickerelweed
Smartweed (Water Pepper)
Soft Rush
Southern Watergrass
Spatterdock (Cow Lily)
Spike Rush
Water Pennywort
Water Pepper (Smartweed)
Water Primrose
Water Shield (Dollar Bonnet)
White Water Lily (Fragrant Water Lily)
Yellow Water Lily (Mexican Water Lily)
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