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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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

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

Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery

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

This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joe Neal suggests less shopping, more protecting

less shopping, more protecting‏
Joe Neal (

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

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
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.
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
Brad Fisher (202) 720-4024

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 .
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 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 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.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beaver Water District announces results of 2009 Secchi water-clarity study

NEWS RELEASE: Beaver Lake Monitoring Results Released-Nov 10 2009‏
From: Amy L. Wilson (
Sent: Tue 11/10/09 4:30 PM

Amy L. Wilson, Director of Public Affairs
Beaver Water District
According to sampling and measurements conducted on Aug. 29 by 32 teams of volunteer citizen scientists at 34 sampling points, the water quality of Beaver Lake in 2009 compares well with results from sampling and measurements from the past three years of data. More than 200 people participated in the 4th Annual Secchi Day (pronounced like “Becky”). The event is co-sponsored each year by Beaver Water District, Audubon Arkansas, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Beaver Lake, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Secchi depth is a measure of water transparency that involves lowering a black and white disk into the water and recording the measurement when the disk is no longer visible. Deeper depths indicate water that is clearer than shallower depths. In addition to Secchi depth readings, volunteers also collect water samples that are tested by Beaver Water District’s lab.
“As usual, the measurements show we have good water quality in the northern portion of Beaver Lake, nearer the dam and poorer water quality upstream, which is what you would expect. That’s because water quality in large, manmade reservoirs improves as the water moves downstream and sediment and pollutants settle out,” said Dr. Robert Morgan, Manager of Environmental Quality for the District.
Secchi measurements this year ranged from less than one meter (a little over three feet) in the White River arm of the lake to more than 5.8 meters in the area of the Beaver Dam.
“The transparency of water is related to the concentration of particles, either organic, such as algae, or inorganic, such as sediment,” Morgan explained. “During most years, sediment has settled out of the water by August so transparency is mostly related to algae on Secchi Day. A shallow Secchi depth measurement indicates more algae in the water. Algal growth is not a health concern in Beaver Lake, but it can lead to taste and odor in drinking water. ”
Morgan said water transparency also may be related to weather conditions. Flooding causes lots of sediment to flow from tributaries into the lake. Increased sediment may also cause clarity of the water to decrease. For example, in 2008 Northwest Arkansas experienced two significant floods in the spring during which the flood gates at Beaver Dam were opened. The greatest Secchi depth recorded that year was 3.4 meters, more than 2 meters less than this year’s maximum. That makes sense, considering the fact that total rainfall for 2008 was almost 11 inches above average.
Each year, Beaver Water District’s lab technicians measure chlorophyll a, total phosphorous, and nitrate in each of the water samples. Chlorophyll a is a pigment in algae that is used to measure the density of the algal population in water. This year, the lake had chlorophyll a concentrations ranging from greater than 20 parts per billion in the headwaters of the lake to less than 3 parts per billion near the dam, which illustrates the gradient of water quality through the reservoir. Studies indicate that the potential for taste and odor events increases dramatically when chlorophyll a concentration reaches about 10 parts per billion. Phosphorous and nitrate are both nutrients that promote algal growth. As would be expected, the lake exhibited decreasing total phosphorous concentrations as samples moved from the headwaters of the White River to Beaver Dam. Nitrate concentrations increased from the headwaters to the dam as they have the past three years.
“Phosphorus from fertilizer and other sources attaches to soil particles. Storm water runoff carries with it a lot of soil particles and phosphorous. This is what is meant by the term ‘non-point source water pollution,’ ” Morgan said. “We want to reduce the amount of phosphorous that is entering Beaver Lake. We all need to understand that each of us contributes to pollution entering the lake. We all need to take responsibility for the actions we take that add to the pollution in the lake.”
Water quality is impacted by many human activities, including fertilizer runoff from lawns, erosion from unpaved county roads, and erosion from stream banks. Where residents have cleared stream side vegetation (also known riparian buffers) it is easier for the banks to erode. Eroding banks contribute sediment to the stream and degrade the water quality.
“All of these activities can negatively impact water clarity and water quality in Beaver Lake,” he said. “The District and its partners in Secchi Day are committed to educating the community about best management practices that will curb impacts from these activities and protect the lake’s water quality. After all, Beaver Lake is our drinking water. And abundant, quality drinking water is necessary for good health. It’s also essential for a strong economic base and for quality of life for Northwest Arkansans.”
Citizen scientists are the heart and soul when it comes to the success of Secchi Day, Morgan added.
“It simply wouldn’t be possible for one or two people to get this many measurements in one day,” he said. “I don’t have enough lab technicians to get it done in the time frame of a day. With the public’s help, we will have a whole decade of annual snapshots of Beaver Lake by 2015. This long-term data collection will allow us to evaluate trends in Beaver Lake. And it will be in large measure because we had an interested citizenry that cared about helping us monitor their drinking water source.”
Michelle Viney, Director of Conservation at Audubon Arkansas, agrees.
“We were very excited to see this many people getting outside, enjoying the lake, and participating in the hands-on activities of the event. Over the past four years, we’ve been able to grow and keep participation at about 200-plus people on the day of the event. In addition to hands-on sampling and measurement activities, Secchi Day offers watershed residents educational exhibits and networking opportunities. It’s a way for families and children to rally together to ensure that Beaver Lake continues to thrive for years to come.”
Viney added that a new activity this year was the opportunity to build and take home rain barrels; 29 people registered, built barrels, and are now capturing and using rain water instead of allowing it to rush off their property unused.
“This is a great way to reuse rain water and divert it so that it soaks into the ground where you live, rather than letting it potentially carry sediment with phosphorous and other nutrients into tributaries that then flow into Beaver Lake,” she said. “Getting involved like this and doing something that allows you to have a personal impact helps people invest in keeping Beaver Lake clean. It promotes awareness about how important Beaver Lake is for the health and economic welfare of Northwest Arkansas.”
As it stands today, Beaver Lake water quality is good, but it will take education and people changing behaviors and practices to make sure the water quality stays as good tomorrow as it is today.
“Any scientist will tell you that to be good stewards of our source water, we have to keep an eye on the lake so that we know how it changes over time,” Morgan said. “Only by collecting this and other data can we make a good analysis of the lake’s condition.”
A more detailed report and maps concerning Secchi Day 2009 may be accessed via the Beaver Water District website at Next year’s event will be held on Aug. 21, 2010. For more information and a photographic slide show set to music, visit

About Beaver Water District
Beaver Water District supplies drinking water to more than 250,000 people and industries in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and surrounding areas. These cities then resell the water to surrounding towns and communities. The 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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

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

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green Groups Guild meeting Thursday

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

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

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

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Veterans' Memorial 5K race set for November 7, 2009, in Town Branch neighborhood: Sponsorship information below

The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation (RNCIC) is organizing a Veteran’s Memorial 5K race on Saturday, November 7th at the National Cemetery in Fayetteville. The purpose of this 5K race is to raise funds for purchase and clearing of land to expand the Cemetery and, even more importantly, to raise the awareness of the Cemetery and the ongoing threat of closure.
We write to ask that you consider sponsoring the event.
The sole mission of the nonprofit RNCIC is to secure and clear land adjacent to the Fayetteville National Cemetery to ensure that the cemetery can continue to receive veterans for burial. Established immediately after the Civil War, the Fayetteville National Cemetery is an important part of the history of this region and the country. Veterans living in Northwest Arkansas, as well as many veterans from here but now living outside our region, have planned their final resting place here. But that may not be possible in the near future.
The Veteran’s Administration maintains the Cemetery, but the purchase of new land to expand
existing National Cemeteries has not occurred in decades.
When the RNCIC was organized only seven unfilled grave sites remained at Fayetteville National
Cemetery and the Cemetery was soon to be permanently closed to new interments. We have kept the Cemetery open and increased its size by over 120 percent in the ensuing 25 years, but with the passing of the World War II generation of veterans, the Cemetery will be full in a few years and closed to new burials.
Unless, of course, we act now to prevent that.
The recent controversy over the possible rezoning and development of the adjoining property has regularly been on the front page of local newspapers this summer. The massive turnout of veterans and non-veterans alike to public hearings demonstrates the deep emotional currents that surround the National Cemetery. We are grateful for past commitments to support veterans made by this community. We plan to make the race an annual event and, in this inaugural year, we are happy to give you the opportunity to associate yourself with keeping an important part of this region’s and nation’s heritage alive and to honor those who guarded us. We hope that you will see your way clear to sponsor this event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Respectfully submitted,
Wesley Stites, Race Organizer
Tel: 479-871-7478
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702
Veterans' 5 K race November 7, 2009, in Fayetteville, Arkansas: Sponsorship details below
2009 Veteran’s Memorial 5K Race Sponsorship Levels
We thank you for considering sponsorship of this fundraising event. As you may know, all
proceeds of the race go to purchase and clear land for the expansion of Fayetteville National
Cemetery. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation is a registered nonprofit
with a 25-year history. Through the efforts of this group and, even more importantly, the
generosity of past donors, land has been purchased, cleared, and donated to the Veterans Administration increasing the size of the National Cemetery by 120% and keeping it open for
burial of veterans. However, without additional purchases of land, the cemetery will be closed in 14 years or less.

Business name and logo prominently on front and back of race shirt
Business name and logo on all race materials and race website
Sponsorship noted in all press releases
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
10 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Business name and logo prominently on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business name and logo on finish line banner
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
5 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Business name and logo on back of race shirt
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of marketing materials and/or product samples in race goodie bags
3 complimentary entries and/or race shirts

Business name and logo on back of race shirt if room allows
Business name and logo on race website
Business recognized at award ceremony
Distribution of product samples in race goodie bags
1 complimentary entry and/or race shirt
CONTACT Information:
Wesley Stites 479-871-7478
All checks should be payable to Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation or to R.N.C.I.C.
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation
P.O. Box 4221
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Webcast on Clean Water Act quality standards FREE by registration

Still Time to Register!
To register, visit
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.
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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video from the Fayetteville National Cemetery with Washington County Livestock Auction barn in the background

Please go to
to see some of today's photos online. My picasa gigabite is full!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Green Faith Alliance of Central Arkansas to meet by telephone with like-minded or curious Northwest Arkansas residents at UA business school

The Green Faith Alliance of Central Arkansas will meet with us by
telephone on Monday, August 3, at 5:30 pm. Our meeting will be held in
Willard J. Walker Hall, room 546 (fifth floor) on the Business School Campus area at the
University. Attached are directions (from I-540) to the Harmon
parking garage, which is directly across from Walker Hall. The cost
to park there is about $3 for an hour.
As you may recall from my previous email, we talked briefly about the
possibility of having a Green Faith Alliance of Arkansas (dropping the
word “central”) instead of forming a second group called Green Faith
Alliance of Northwest Arkansas. This way, there would be one group,
instead of two, and we might accomplish more by working together than
we can separately.
I am currently on vacation in Georgia. Vivian Hill from St. Paul’s
will be your host for this meeting.
Please RSVP accept or regret to Vivian at as
soon as you can.
We hope that you will be able to join us for this meeting. Again, the
details are:
· Monday, August 3rd
5:30 pm
Willard J Walker Hall, Room 546, U of A Campus
Many thanks to you and thanks for your ministry for the planet that we share.
Michele Halsell

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Adopt your watershed or update your organization's contact information and description

On June 22nd, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined several Cabinet
members in launching the United We Serve campaign, President Obama’s
summer service initiative. United We Serve is a call to all Americans to
join a volunteer effort this summer and be part of building a new
foundation for America, one community at a time. Administrator Jackson
was joined by Missouri River Relief, Blue River Watershed Association,
the Missouri Stream Team and Friends of the Kaw at the kick-off event in
Kansas City.

As part of this new service initiative, EPA is directing volunteers to
our Adopt Your Watershed Web page (, an on-line database
of local watershed organizations. Your organization is currently listed
in our database. Since we expect an increase in traffic and visibility
to the Web site and database, we need your prompt assistance in making
sure your group's information is accurate and up-to-date. Please take a
few minutes to review the information below, including your group’s
contact information, Web site, mission statement, and geographic
information, etc. Please take a few minutes to review the information
below, including your group’s contact information, Web site, mission
statement, and geographic information, etc.

EPA is promoting the President’s new service initiative as a way to
encourage volunteer monitoring and watershed stewardship. Please also
consider registering your program at You may get
contacted by a number of volunteers eager to help. For more information
on President Obama’s United We Serve initiative:

EPA's Adopt Your Watershed program challenges you to serve your community by taking part in activities to protect and restore your local watershed.

Visit our on-line Adopt Your Watershed database of more than 2,600 watershed groups to learn about opportunities to get involved in activities such as volunteer water monitoring, stream cleanups, and storm drain marking. Once you locate your watershed, simply click on "citizen-based groups at work in this watershed" to find a list of organizations.

If you can't find a group to join or want to organize your own activity, we've included a Watershed Stewardship Toolkit with eight things you can do to make a difference in your watershed.

*The full Adopt Your Watershed database file is available as an XML file for download. (Right click and download to your computer. 2.2MB)

Adopt Your Watershed is part of the President's UNITED WE SERVE initiative.

What YOU Can Do to Make A Difference
A Watershed Stewardship Toolkit for Volunteers
Become a volunteer monitor. Monitor water quality conditions, build community awareness about water pollution, and help identify and restore problem sites. Visit our directory of volunteer monitoring programs or learn how to start out in volunteer monitoring.

Organize your own trash cleanup (PDF) (19 pp, 751K, About PDF) or join a nationwide river cleanup campaign (National Rivers Cleanup ) or an international beach cleanup campaign (International Coastal Cleanup ).

Build a Rain Garden : Rain gardens planted with native vegetation help reduce the adverse effects of storm water runoff by soaking up excess rainwater.

Organize a Stream Drain Marking Project: Rain water that flows into storm drains goes untreated to nearby streams, lakes, and bays. Produce a flyer or door hanger to encourage pollution prevention. Visit EPA's Stormwater Web site for educational materials that can be downloaded or ordered for free.

Greenscape Your Yard: GreenScaping is a set of landscaping practices that can improve your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources.

Educate Your Community About Water Quality Protection: Use this collection of Public Service Announcements and downloads from effective advertising campaigns to raise awareness about water pollution and stormwater runoff.

Advocate for Local Impact Development in Your Community: Low Impact Development is an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage the adverse impacts of storm water.

Start a Watershed Organization: If you are interested in starting your own watershed organization with partnerships, organizational priorities, a watershed plan and more, here are some things to consider before you get started.

See our Adopt Your Watershed Brochure (3 pp, 447K, About PDF)

Or check out Ten Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed for more project ideas. Also, find out what Girl Scouts are doing to help protect their local watersheds through the Water Drop Patch Project.

Information presented in the Adopt Your Watershed database does not constitute an official endorsement by EPA of any particular group's policies, activities, or positions on federal or state legislation. Disclaimer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beaver Water District holding budget, expenses down

Amy L. Wilson, Director of Public Affairs
Beaver Water District



For immediate release: July 16, 2009

Beaver Water District’s Board of Directors met in the District’s newly constructed Administration Center today and approved a fiscal year 2010 personnel budget that is near 2009 levels.

“We appreciate management holding the line on the personnel budget for next year,” said Chris Weiser, Secretary-Treasurer of the Board. “The action we took today falls into step with our earlier vote in April to defer the planned 2-cent per thousand gallon increase in water rates.”

The personnel budget is $3,301,000 for 2010, just $9,000 more than the 2009 budget, or a 0.27% increase. While hourly employees of the District will receive an average 2% increase in pay, managerial staff salaries have been frozen at 2009 levels. In addition, savings have been realized in other areas, such as reduction of budgeted overtime.

“We take our financial stewardship of District resources just as seriously as we take stewardship of Beaver Lake and the natural resources the lake and its watershed provide to us,” said Alan D. Fortenberry P.E., CEO. “It’s important to continue a conservative outlook for the near future in light of the continued economic downturn. We want our employees to know they are appreciated and valued while also staying fiscally responsible for the near term.”

Today’s meeting marked the first time the Board met in the new Administration Center, designed and constructed in line with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED guidelines. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The District is seeking LEED certification for the project which had a construction cost of approximately $4.5 million.

“The new building offers the public the opportunity to visit the plant and take advantage of educational opportunities,” said Larry Lloyd P.E., COO of the District. “Visitors will see a scale model of the water treatment plant in the educational area, where they can view the actual plant outside beyond the fencing that defines the secure campus. Additionally, one wall of the room features an 8-by-12 foot aerial photographic map of Beaver Lake Watershed.”

Building and site features of note include the use of pervious pavement in parking lots; natural lighting and the installation of motion detectors for lighting control; energy efficient heating and cooling systems; recycled content materials in cabinetry and building insulation made from scrap bluejeans; water-saving fixtures such as low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and automatic water faucets in restrooms; a water feature supplied by effluent from the District’s waste process treatment plant and planted with native flowers and shrubs; and infiltration basins that hold and treat water from storm events.

“The infiltration basins on our site resemble bioswales, such as the one constructed at Gulley Park in Fayetteville,” Lloyd said. “These basins offer more capacity for water storage and for filtering of storm water. The plants in the infiltration basin were selected based on their ability to tolerate both submerged and dry conditions, much like those found in rain gardens.”

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Times' July 15 headline two weeks premature; it may be accurate if published on July 22, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of a couple from West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery on July 14, 2009. They were on a self-guided tour of Civil War battlefields and National Cemeteries and such. Many people choose to vacation in cities that have significant historic sites.

The July 15 headline below may be accurate if published again on July 22.
"Rezoning of sale barn property postponed
BY ROBIN MERO Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"Consideration of a rezoning request for the Washington County Livestock Auction property will wait until the Aug. 4 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council.
"Developer Campus Crest LLC wants two more weeks to develop a bill of assurance for the request, which will be presented to the council with the aim of making the zoning request more palatable.
"The developer is asking that nine acres be rezoned to downtown general from heavy commercial/light industrial and seeks to build apartments for University of Arkansas students."

The headline and the two graphs above were written after an agenda-setting meeting of the Fayetteville City Council. It may turn out to be accurate if the council tables the issue during the July 21 meeting. No action is taken at agenda sessions beyond setting the agenda for the official council meeting. If the developers actually do ask that it be tabled at the July 21 meeting, then the a member of the council could make a motion to table and, if that were seconded, then they could vote to table or not. If the council approves tabling, then it might not be further discussed.
If the tabling fails, then a motion could be made to vote on the issue of rezoning, which would require allowing developers to present and the public to speak. So there is no guarantee that the issue will not come to a vote at this meeting, but it does appear likely that it will be delayed until the first August meeting.
It would be an embarrassment to the city if apartments were allowed next to the national cemetery. This isn't about property rights. The lack of need for apartments for university students at this time has been well-documented. The obvious need in Fayetteville is for affordable housing such as the single-family homes in the neighborhood nearest the former sale barn and the National Cemetery.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of representatives of the VA and contractors on July 14, 2009, discussing plans to prepare property to be added to the Fayetteville National Cemetery.

On Tuesday, federal officials and engineers and others with experience in cemetery design walked the cemetery and some adjacent land to the west that already has been bought by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation and donated to the VA for cemetery expansion. That land will be prepared after careful study of that land to become part of the burial ground. But it will not meet the projected need for more space for much more than a decade.
The sale-barn ground also would require careful planning and much work if it is added later. But the people on hand yesterday are well-trained and able to do it properly. It will be needed and is in the natural spot to be added to the existing cemetery that was created in 1867, soon after the civil war ended.
Maybe some people would not see the inappropriateness of putting apartments there unless it were allowed and then they actually experienced what it would be like.
Just imagine.

Quoting the NWAT article further: "The council by law is to consider only whether the zoning requested is compatible with the neighborhood.
"Alderman Sarah Lewis asked how the developer can present information about the project when the council is not to consider a specific project.
" 'I don't understand; we're not allowed to talk about the project, but they're allowed to bring a bill of assurance," Lewis said.
"City Attorney Kit Williams said a bill of assurance doesn't describe a project, only limits the range of a zoning.
A bill of assurance places voluntary restrictions on a developer."
"Copyright © 2001-2009 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:"

Regardless of the outcome of the effort to stop this rezoning, the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation will continue its fund-raising effort. There is no guarantee at this point that federal money will be provided to help expand the cemetery even though Senator Blanche Lincoln told me in person that she will work toward that end and even though Congressman John Boozeman told me and several other people recently that he will work to earmark a bill in the House of Representatives to provide money through the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase the sale-barn property to add to protect the future cemetery and the thousands of veterans are eligible for burial there already.
Please make donations payable to the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation and mail to P.O. Box 4221, Fayetteville, AR 72702.
For more information, please go to the RNCIC's Web site at
Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation's Web site

Thursday, July 9, 2009

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


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.

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

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

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
--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

What we have----
--Websites & Links
* Robert Costanza/ Gund Institute Website:
“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."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honeybee on butterfly milkweed on June 30, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of honeybee on milkweed on June 30, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Butterfly gardens easy to grow all over, especially in the black, rich soil of the Town Branch valley in south Fayetteville, Arkansas

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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Washington County found innocent. Watershed degradation being done by state highway department

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department machine digging rich, dark well-vegetated soil out of a ditch on the west side of Arkansas 265 south of Fayetteville. An earlier post quoting a commuting motorist's email contained an error. Washington County is not to blame for this misguided work that threatens to increase the silt load of Cato Springs Branch, the lower Town Branch and the West Fork of the White River entering Beaver Lake. The soil being eroded is typical high-quality prairie topsoil that has washed into the ditch but should be back on farm or pasture or natural prairie land. This soil is hauled away and dumped, allowing more to erode away.

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

Friday, May 15, 2009

Annual War Eagle celebration Saturday near Huntsville

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Audubon Arkansas invitation to the third annual War Eagle celebration tomorrow at Withrow Springs State Park.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Watershed groups must join to fight degradation of all area waterways

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