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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.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO PROTECT In this photo:
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.
http://aquaplant.tamu.edu/database/emergent_plants/buttonbush.htm

WWW AQUAPLANT
Plant Identification

Bulrush
Cattail
Buttonbush

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
Arrowhead
Banana Lily (Floating Heart)
Blue Flag
Bulrush
Bull Tongue
Buttonbush
Cattail
Common Reed
Cow Lily (Spatterdock)
Dollar Bonnet (Water Shield)
Floating Heart (Banana Lily)
Fragrant Water Lily (White Water Lily)
Frog's-bit
Giant Reed
Horsetail
Lizard's Tail
Maidencane
Mexican Water Lily (Yellow Water Lily) Pickerelweed
Sedges
Smartweed (Water Pepper)
Soft Rush
Southern Watergrass
Spatterdock (Cow Lily)
Spike Rush
Three-Square
Torpedograss
Waterleaf
Water Pennywort
Water Pepper (Smartweed)
Water Primrose
Water Shield (Dollar Bonnet)
White Water Lily (Fragrant Water Lily)
Willow
Yellow Water Lily (Mexican Water Lily)
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