Friday, August 29, 2008

Diverse plants and wildlife call World Peace Wetland Prairie home on August 29, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of butterflies and flowers and tall grass on August 29, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

First and second photos above feature a monarch butterfly nectaring on native thistles on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Native thistles are NOT outlawed and are exceptionally valuable to butterflies, bees and numerous species of birds.
The following two photos (below) feature Centaurea Americana, the American basketflower, surrounded by Demaree's gaura or Gaura demareei, and Dematree's gaura is seen up close in the fifth photo.

Gaura demareei above.
A small, pale butterfly rests on tall grass in the sixth photo (below).

Florida lettuce above (Latuca floridana) above.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blast from past: Reasons for protecting wetland not common knowledge among politicians

Posted 8/29/04 on
First posted on http"// in 2004
Coody finally keeps promise but doesn't stay long

Aubrey's Notebook:
Mayor's Request Would Have Council Ignore Task Force Report
Recommends Putting All Tree, Trail Money Into One Purchase
Mayor Dan Coody visits Town Branch watershed August 23, 2004, fullfilling a promise made in March.

It seems that Mayor Dan Coody is in a big rush to get the Fayetteville City Council to ignore the recommendation of the city's Tree and Trail Task Force and use the full remaining $100,000 from the Steele Crossing lawsuit settlement to acquire 2.44 acres of mostly steep woodland on South West Avenue from renowned architect Fay Jones.
The reason is that there is a deadline to act on the offer to Fay Jones. If that deadline were extended, then maybe there could be a bit more discussion.
I agree that Jones' property must be protected. He bought it more than 35 years ago and has kept it in nearly pristine condition ever since.
I admire and respect Fay Jones for protecting the land all these years and believe he should be paid properly for it. However, both parcels are important and environmentally sensitive and must be protected for their conservation value. There has to be a way to acquire and protect both areas. Such places are disappearing rapidly inside Fayetteville and all over Northwest Arkansas.
Many people who have known me a long time realize that I can't imagine how anyone could disturb Jones' parcel and can't really understand why this progressive city hasn't gotten further in developing ordinances that would protect steep slopes, woodland and wetland.
I believe that the city of Rogers got several steps ahead of us with its recently passed storm-water regulations, which require a bit more than ours.
The wonderful thing is that Fayetteville still has many creeks, while Rogers and Springdale have ditched and paved many of theirs. Rogers is trying to restore a portion of the Osage Creek through the city to something similar to the meandering stream it was originally, after many years as a giant, paved ditch.
The situation reminds me of the rush in the 1980s and 90s to channelize a magnificent bayou through Little Rock!
I read that some portion of that cypress-lined stream is now under public protection. I floated and waded much of it before the Gazette closed in 1991. I caught a lot of bass but ate none of them!
Springdale has a plan to UNCOVER a portion of Spring Creek downtown to become a part of its revitalized downtown. Those cities recognize their mistakes and are trying to re-create part of what was destroyed at great cost. Basically, we need to provide stronger regulation of stream riparian zones and the adjacent wetland areas.
This brings us back to the topic at hand. The Tree and Trail Task Force decided in the fall of 2003 to try to buy the 2.46 acres of wetland prairie off S. Duncan Ave. An appraisal came in lower than the developer expected, but the task force was under the impression that public money could be used only to pay the appraised price, thus the members suggested that Mayor Coody try to negotiate. Negotiation stalled because the developer needed more than the appraised price to cover his losses.
At the developer's request, I met with the mayor in his office and invited him to walk the Town Branch watershed with me. He was busy in March but said he would come out later in the spring.
Dan finally spent 45 minutes or so with me in the Town Branch watershed Aug. 23, 2004, but I wasn't able to share with him all the reasons that this prairie wetland deserves city protection.
The nice thing was that the mayor got to see a DRY wetland prairie, something that would have been impossible in spring or early this summer. Some of the wettest land had dried and cracked in the few places where the vegetation was exposed.\
There was a small spot where one of the neighbors had mowed a path into the 2-acre wetland prairie off S. Duncan between 11th and 12th streets and knocked over three or four chimneys created by Ozark burrowing crayfish. I tried to explain that these are not the stream or swamp crawdads of the south that I knew in Louisiana or Dan knew growing up in southeast Texas.
These are crawdads that live in the aquifers under the prairies and partially wooded wetland areas paralleling the streams in many places in the Ozarks. They are also known as Osage burrowing crayfish, if one searches online.
Yes, some are big enough to eat! If you toss them into the creek they will try to find their way back to the prairie!
Such prairies as the acreage around our home, including our yard, absorb water and allow it to drain into the aquifer.
When the ground dries out as it finally did in mid-August this year, that land is ready to soak up several inches of rain when it comes. That was what I was trying to explain to Dan Coody. The floods of late April and early July occurred after the wetland prairie areas in Fayetteville, especially in the watershed of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River, were holding all the water they could because of almost daily rain.
The failure of stormwater detention ponds designed to slow runoff from newly roofed and paved areas contributed to the worst muddying of Beaver Lake since the dam was built in the 1060s. Smallmouth bass can be expected to fail to reproduce in the streams affected by the siltation. Many less well-known species will be in the same situation. Life thrives in clear water running over clean rock.
Engineering can't replace that natural storm-water protection. Protecting every vegetated acre that can be protected is the only key to keeping a bit of Northwest Arkansas as it was when I first lived here in the '60s.
There will be grant money to help restore such areas not only to protect people such as some of my neighbors whose home flooded three different nights in 2004 but also to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and to offer wildflowers and other natural beauty.
Anyone who has studied our Web site, , can imagine how many hours Lauren and I spent last year documenting just a few species of native flowering plants and typical prairie grass on the 2 acres behind our home, the part of the 2.46 acres that was approved by the city planning commission for 36 apartment units in May 2003. In June 2003, the Corps of Engineers issued the developer a permit for the site.\
However, James Mathias, the developer, agreed to delay development to give our neighborhood's Town Branch Neighborhood Association time to buy the land for preservation. In May 2004, his development permit was renewed for another year and he agreed again to delay work on the project to give us more time.
With the few wooded and prairie acres to the north between 11th and 6th streets along the Town Branch west of Hill Avenue slated for development and the many acres being developed on the west arm of the Town Branch west of Razorback Road, such small parcels of prairie wetland become increasingly important in storm-water protection along the Town Branch and in preventing further siltation of Beaver Lake.
I can't possibly share a lifetime outdoors with others well enough to make them understand why I care about these things. But Stormwater II regulations spell out the federal rules. Links to those rules may be found on this Web site.
Over and over, I have been told by employees of the Corps of Engineers and national and state environmental agencies that "your city can make stronger rules."

They KNOW that the federal rules are a weak compromise.

The bulk of the Wilson Spring prairie wetland is doomed to be developed. The part that remains can help educate the public about the value of such places in the Illinois River watershed.
Our neighborhood wetland prairie offers similar value as a demonstration area for owners of parcels small and large in the White River watershed. It was never plowed by the farmers in the first half of the 20th century and it was never built upon when the land was subdivided in the 1950s. The reasons are obvious.
Aubrey James Shepherd
Fayetteville, AR © 2003, 2004, 2005

Site design by Lauren Hawkins' LDHdesign

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Links to learn about and discuss Jim McGinty's candidacy for Fayetteville board of education at-large seat

James McGinty's campaign for school board Web site
A site for discussion of James McGinty's campaign for school board Web site

Oil-drilling madness continues to dominate political thinking

The Drill of It All
Did you know that oil companies are already sitting on 68 million acres of leases that they aren't even drilling? Which kind of makes you wonder: Why are Big Oil and its allies suddenly desperate to get their hands on the last few places that are still protected -- our natural treasures, wildlife refuges, and pristine coastlines? They wouldn't use the concerns caused by high gas prices as an excuse to grab it ALL, would they?

Check out our map showing how much of our country Big Oil has already got and spread the word by forwarding it to friends who agree: Enough is enough.

So far, one woman has stood up to Big Oil. Let's thank Speaker Pelosi for keeping a cool head and holding out for real solutions.

| Discuss |

Make Your Travel Matter
Sierra Club founder John Muir believed deeply that conservation begins with experiencing nature's grandeur firsthand, and that's still the guiding principle of Sierra Club Outings. Sure, you could spend another vacation in a high-rise at an overcrowded beach. Or, you could study retreating glaciers from your kayak in remote eastern Greenland, maintain hiking trails in Puerto Rico, or support grassroots environmental efforts in Costa Rica.

Travel with us, and you'll have much more than a vacation. We've just launched our 2009 lineup of international trips, plus a few select domestic itineraries.

Our most popular trips fill up quickly, so have a look now and discover your next life-changing experience.

| Discuss |

The Thirty Percent Solution
Homes and other buildings are America's largest consumers of energy and a major contributor to global warming. That's why the Sierra Club's Cool Cities Campaign is joining with local governments, businesses, and energy-efficiency advocates to support a bold new proposal to adopt "green" building codes for new homes: the Thirty Percent Solution.

Next month, building-code officials from around the country will meet in Minneapolis to vote on whether to strengthen building-code energy-efficiency standards in new homes by 30 percent. By 2030, that would save an estimated 8 quadrillion BTUs of energy and $88 billion in energy costs; reduce CO2 by 464 million metric tons; and create new clean-energy construction and service jobs in the building trades and energy-efficiency product industries.

Make sure your community will be represented at the meeting -- contact your mayor or county leader today.

| Discuss |

Winds of Change in West Virginia
The residents of the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, with the support of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, are proposing the development of a 440-megawatt wind farm as an economically viable alternative to a planned mountaintop-removal coal-mining operation. If the mountaintop-removal coal-mining proceeds as planned, it will destroy ten square miles of the mountain, pollute waterways, devastate the surrounding communities, and eliminate the vast wind potential the mountain now holds.

Add your signature to the petition asking West Virginia Governor Manchin to protect Coal River Mountain and bring clean energy and green jobs to West Virginia!


Stand Up to Skeptics
The Sierra Club has joined forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council in smacking down global-warming skeptics at a new website called

Take a look at all sides of the argument, recommend your favorite ones, and post comments.

"Staring Down Doomsday"
From Sierra Magazine: High school students from the Bronx hit the Appalachian Trail and face their fears.


Support the No Child Left Inside Act
Tell your Representative to support the No Child Left Inside Act to provide students with quality environmental education.

If we act now, we can ensure more American children become adults ready to face the environmental challenges that lie ahead.

Sierra Club
85 Second St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Firewood taken to camp sites can infect local timber with insects and other problems

GREENTIPS - Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood (8/08)‏
From: Greentips - Union of Concerned Scientists (
Sent: Tue 8/19/08 10:28 AM

Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood
August 2008
Read this issue of Greentips online

Did you know that by transporting firewood you may unintentionally spread invasive insects and diseases that can destroy trees and reshape entire forests? State and federal quarantines attempt to prevent such damage by prohibiting firewood transport into or out of certain areas, or limiting transport to a specified radius.

Examples of invasive species that can travel in firewood include:

The emerald ash borer, a beetle from Asia that kills American ash trees within one to four years of infestation. It is spreading throughout the Midwest and some southern and mid-Atlantic states, but has also shown up at campgrounds outside of these regions.

The Asian longhorned beetle, whose larvae kill mature trees by feeding on the heartwood and inhibiting the trees’ vascular system. It has been found in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, and poses a tremendous threat if it spreads.

Sirex noctilio, a wood-boring wasp that can kill trees (mainly pine) in a matter of months by injecting a fungus into the wood to feed its larvae. An adult wasp can carry the fungus as far as 100 miles. It has been found in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Sudden oak death, a forest disease caused by the fungus Phytophthora ramorum, which has affected several tree species in California and Oregon.
While each of these infestations is currently limited to specific regions, this is a national problem. Therefore, in addition to following whatever quarantines or regulations are in place, be sure to adopt the practices listed below when using firewood. Because the pests described here can survive cold temperatures, these tips apply throughout the year:

Purchase locally harvested firewood at your destination rather than bringing any with you. This has the added benefits of saving you money through increased fuel economy and reducing the amount of pollution generated in delivering firewood to retail outlets.

If you must transport firewood look for a U.S. Department of Agriculture label that certifies the wood is safe to move.

Lumber that has been processed for building material (“two-by-fours,” for example) is safe to move and burn because the bark has been removed and the wood has been dried. Lumber that has been stored outside, however, or wooden packing materials such as pallets, skids, or crates may harbor pests and should not be transported. Pressure-treated wood and particleboard should also be avoided because they can release harmful fumes when burned.

If you have already transported firewood that does not meet these criteria, burn it as soon as possible.

Let others know about this issue and encourage them to sign our pledge to avoid transporting firewood (see the related links).
Related Links

Don’t Move Firewood Campaign

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources—Firewood Facts, Rules & Advice

Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases

Union of Concerned Scientists—Firewood Pledge

Ward One meeting views project planning in Beaver Lake watershed

The desiginated Fayette Junction area is south of the Town Branch neighborhood starting at 15th Street. Old maps actually show Fayette Junction as including the southwest portion of the Town Branch neighborhood along the railroads that historically joined in that area.

Please click on images to ENLARGE:

In the top photo, the Stonebridge Meadows project is shown with north to the right and west at the top. The project is near the West Fork of the White River and drains to the stream.
In the second photo, developer Hank Broyles has turned the concept drawing to put north at the top. Dead Horse Mountain Road runs north and south along the left side in this photo.
Fayetteville City Council members Adella Gray (left) and Brenda Thiel listen to presentations by the developer after hearing an explanation of the city planning division's rationale for its proposed master plan for the Fayette Junction area of south Fayetteville in the third photo. A series of meetings has been scheduled in south Fayetteville to familiarize residents with the concept and to hear public comment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NO COAL meeting Wednesday August 13th 7pm

Molly Rawn
OHG Sierra Club, Chair
(479) 879-1620

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Burke
Date: Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 6:05 PM
Subject: Important NO COAL meeting Wednesday August 13th 7pm
Hi everyone,

We had a successful tour traveling the state last week showing the documentary "Fighting Goliath" and talking with community groups about forming a no new coal coalition. Check out these links for an update:
So far we have set up 'Clean Air Arkansas' groups in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Conway, and Hope to oppose the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

This Wednesday August 13th at 7pm we will meet in Fayetteville to discuss in more detail our campaign and delegate roles to people who are committed to this effort. Please join us and invite your friends and family. Time is running out and we need to come together to stop these coal plants

Here is the address for the meeting this Wednesday:
United Campus Ministry
Omni Center
902 W Maple St
Fayetteville, AR

Also, Maggie Bailey, a volunteer in Fayetteville has asked to coordinate events while I am in Little Rock so you can email either her or me for more questions about our campaign. Here is Maggie's email:

Hope to see you at the meeting. Thanks for your support.



Monday, August 11, 2008

Waste Management to Dedicate Arkansasʼ First Landfill-Gas-to-Energy Plant


Waste Management to Dedicate Arkansasʼ First Landfill Gas to Energy Plant and
Announce New Partnership with Audubon Arkansas

Senator Blanche Lincoln, Governor Mike Beebe and Congressman Vic Snyder Scheduled to Attend Event

State and local leaders will join Waste Management executives on Tuesday, August 12, 9:30 am at the Two Pine Landfill to officially dedicate Arkansasʼ first and only landfill gas-to-energy plant. This plant is part of Waste Managementʼs sustainable commitment to Arkansas as well as North America, unveiled this past October as part of Waste Managementʼs 2020 plan.
Additionally, Waste Management officials will announce a new first-of-its-kind partnership with Audubon Arkansas.

What: Landfill Gas to Energy Plant Dedication and Announcement of New Partnership with Audubon Arkansas
When: Tuesday, August 12 at 9:30 am
Where: Two Pine Landfill
100 Two Pine Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72117
Who: Senator Blanche Lincoln
Governor Mike Beebe
Congressman Vic Snyder
Waste Management Executives
Arkansas Audubon Director Ken Smith
The Two Pine Landfill gas-to-energy plant is a 4.8 megawatt facility, providing power for approximately 4,500 homes in North Little Rock. Consisting of six large engines, it was constructed in 2006 and recently achieved full generation. The engines are powered by methane gas, which forms in the landfill as a result of the decomposition of waste.
Approximately two years ago, Waste Management and Audubon Arkansas began discussions regarding the development of a wildlife management plan for the Two Pine Landfill. This first-of-its-kind program between Waste Management and Audubon Arkansas has the potential to expand to other Waste Management landfills. At Tuesdayʼs event, Waste Management officials and leaders from Audubon Arkansas will unveil the vision for Two Pine Landfill.
This past April, Waste Management received the stateʼs approval to expand the Two Pine Landfill. In the coming years, Waste Management plans to build an additional landfill gas-to-energy plant in the expanded landfill area.
These two projects are part of the companyʼs environmental sustainability initiative. Waste Management has committed to the following actions by 2020: doubling its waste based energy generation from the equivalent of generating enough energy for one million to two million homes, quadrupling the number of its sites certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council to 100 as well as set aside 25,000 acres for conservation, nearly tripling the amount of recyclables it manages to 20 million tons; and reducing its vehicle fleet emissions by 15 percent and increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent.
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Our subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. We are also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Our customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America.
For more information, visit or

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monarch butterflies visit World Peace Wetland Prairie to lay eggs on milkweed so that caterpillars can eat and grow

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of monarch butterfly August 10, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Please click on link to ENLARGE tall-green milkweed, Asclepias hirtella, at World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 10, 2008.