Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or dlong@agfc.state.ar.us.

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

Association for Beaver Lake Environment to meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, 2009, TODAY

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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How close to Partner's Branch should development occur?

video

A few words about the value of Pinnacle Prairie with night sounds for background

Click on start arrow to view night scene at Pinnacle Prairie and hear a few words about the value of Pinnacle Prairie and similar areas.
video

Association for Beaver Lake Environment to meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is an e-mail from 'Able-Ark.org - Association for Beaver Lake Environment '
Attention all members,
Just a reminder that the annual member's meeting
is at 6"30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12th, at the Rogers Public Library.
We will be electing members for our Board of Directors. Hope to see you there.

Frog songs from Pinnacle Prairie adjacent to World Peace Wetland Prairie

video

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Drinking-water week in the Beaver Lake watershed

BEAVER WATER DISTRICT KICKS OFF DRINKING WATER WEEK
WITH NEW PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

At a time when some areas of the country are facing water shortages, Beaver Water District is making sure our water supply flows into the future. Drinking Water Week 2009 marks the beginning of a new Beaver Water District public awareness campaign that will educate Northwest Arkansans about conservation and water quality.
“Consume, Conserve, Connect—Connecting today’s actions with tomorrow’s planet” is the campaign’s new tagline. The platform aims to open up a dialogue with consumers to teach them that drinking tap water and using it wisely is good for everyone. Radio, television, and print advertising and public service announcements will carry that message to the masses. In addition, the public is invited to participate in the “Consume, Conserve, Connect” quiz, accessible on line at www.bwdh2o.org. Individuals who take the quiz will automatically be entered in a drawing for water-related prizes.
“By consuming this natural resource, we’re making an investment in the future of our region both environmentally and economically. And when we use water with conservation in mind, we ensure that the bounty of Beaver Lake is here for tomorrow,” explains David Short, President of the Beaver Water District Board of Directors.
The benefits continue: Drinking tap water saves money, and there is no time like the present to cut household costs. Plus, the health wave of hydration is still at high tide as nutrition magazines urge Americans to nourish their bodies with plenty of water.
Short adds, “We hope this new public awareness campaign will help Arkansans see water differently, appreciate it, and work to make it last.”
For over 30 years, the American Water Works Association’s Drinking Water Week has brought together communities and the water industry to recognize the role water plays in our lives. Drinking Water Week runs May 3-9, 2009.

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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 www.bwdh2o.org.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.