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."