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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.
Sincerely,
Rodger Schlickeisen
President
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

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/AboutFall.html
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
479-575-8253
125 W. Mountain Street
Fayetteville AR 72701
www.accessfayetteville.org

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
http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/08/05/news/080608fzsustainableyards.txt
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.