Sunday, April 6, 2014

Climate discussion at OMNI Center TODAY 1:30 p.m.


OMNI-350 - Climate Change Task Force
WhenSun, April 6, 1:30pm – 3:30pm
WhereOMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology, North Lee Avenue, Fayetteville, AR, United States (map)
DescriptionMonthly meeting of environmental group. Come get educated, and find out what you can do to help save the Earth. Note: For this month only, the meeting will be at the OMNI Center instead of the public library.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Frank Sharp succeeds in building consensus resulting in many acres of Kessler Mountain being set aside as major city natural area

Fayetteville City Council Approves Mount Kessler Purchase

Posted: February 19, 2014 at 5 a.m.
STAFF PHOTO ANDY SHUPE Bob Caulk, left, chairman of the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, leads a standing ovation Tuesday for Frank and Sara Sharp during a meeting of the City Council where the council voted to dedicate $1.5 million in partnership with the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association and the Walton Family Trust to buy 376 acres atop Mount Kessler in southwest Fayetteville. Frank Sharp was instrumental in the effort to conserve the property.
 — The city will add 376 acres atop Mount Kessler to its stock of publicly owned land.
Fayetteville aldermen on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $1.5 million out of reserve to buy the hillside property near the Cato Springs Road interchange on Interstate 540.
The Walton Family Foundation has agreed to kick in $1.5 million for the purchase from Danville-based Chambers Bank.
The land, which features several miles of trails, rock formations, groves of old-growth trees and views of southwest Fayetteville, is next to a planned 200-acre park.
Advocates said Tuesday the land will appeal to hikers, mountain bikers and bird-watchers for years to come, whereas the park will mostly feature soccer fields, baseball diamonds and other types of recreation.

AT A GLANCE

Council Action
Fayetteville’s City Council met Tuesday and:
• Tabled for two weeks ordinance changes allowing female goats, beehives and more chickens and ducks in residential areas and make it easier for urban farmers and backyard gardeners to sell produce from their property.
• Authorized the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration to refund city sales taxes to Karcher North America, a cleaning equipment manufacturer at 2700 S. Armstrong Ave.
• Set a $541,000 Community Development Block Grant program for 2014.
• Approved a $353,000 contract with Garver engineers for Rupple Road design between Starry Night View and Mount Comfort Road.
• Approved a $192,000 contract with Teeco Safety for stun guns for the Police Department.
• Extended the closing date with Kum & Go convenience stores for 2 acres of city land at Huntsville and Happy Hollow roads until no later than April 21.
Source: Staff Report
“This roughly 380 acres … creates a place unlike many in the region or the state,” Jeremy Pate, city development services director, said Tuesday. “We really believe that this network of trails and open space creates almost 600 acres of parkland that, ultimately, will be a legacy acquisition for the city of Fayetteville.”
More than 150 residents filled City Council chambers during Tuesday’s discussion. Many stood in the aisles or huddled outside the doors.
“This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen,” said Adella Gray, Ward 1 alderwoman for more than seven years, before the meeting.
The details of the purchase are complicated. Chambers Bank agreed to sell 328 acres for $3 million. Another 48 acres will be donated and count toward park dedication requirements for any development on the remaining 200 acres the bank owns.
City and bank officials also agreed to trade islands of land that had been held by each respective entity.
“Basically it would make both parcels whole,” Pate said.
As a condition for the Walton grant, the city must come up with a plan for preserving the 376 acres as “green space.” The city also must construct a trail head, estimated at $100,000, within 90 days and commit to maintaining trails on the property. City officials must agree to a real estate contract by April 15.
The city’s expenditure will be lessened if the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association follows through with a commitment to raise $300,000 over the next three years for the Mount Kessler Reserve.
City Council members heard Tuesday from a collection of conservationists, educators and outdoors enthusiasts, who supported the purchase.
About 40 members of Ozarks Off Road Cyclists, a nonprofit group that has built and maintained Mount Kessler trails, rode their bikes to Tuesday’s meeting.
Steve Schneider, group vice president, said the trails provide opportunities to fight obesity and get people outdoors.
Several speakers mentioned research opportunities Mount Kessler provides for University of Arkansas and Fayetteville School District students.
The property is within 3 miles of Fayetteville High School and university. It’s home to various plants and animals, including groves of 300-year-old post oak trees, spotted salamanders and spring peeper frogs.
The land has served as outdoor classroom space for a graduate student studying in the university’s tree-ring laboratory and students enrolled in Fayetteville High School’s advanced placement environmental science class.
“This is just one of the many examples of how students can have hands-on, relevant learning experiences that reinforce the curriculum that’s introduced in the classroom,” said Dana Smith, district sustainability coordinator.
John Pennington, executive director of the Beaver Watershed Alliance, said rainwater from Mount Kessler flows into the Illinois River and West Fork of the White River, which empties into Beaver Lake, the drinking water source for more than 300,000 people in Northwest Arkansas.
Pennington said land conservation is the best long-term way to preserve water quality in the two watersheds.
Tuesday’s vote caps a more than decade-long effort to prevent development on Mount Kessler by resident Frank Sharp. Sharp’s family homestead lies next to the land.
“I certainly want to thank (Sharp) for keeping this in my mind and in my heart,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “What I see with this purchase is 376 acres that will never, ever be touched again.”
According to city records, the Mount Kessler land will add to more than 3,900 acres of parks, trails and lakes in Fayetteville.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Your food all grows from soil!!!!!!!!


Soils of Arkansas Book Explores Characteristics of Key Resource

Agriculture, timber and tourism industries depend on soil

Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Soils of Arkansas, published by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Soils of Arkansas, published by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has released Soils of Arkansas, a 136-page book with maps, photos and commentary based on 50 years of soil surveys across the state. The Division published the book through a cooperative agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"This publication is meant to fill some of the knowledge gaps regarding soil by highlighting the soil and other resources of Arkansas," said Kristofor Brye, one of the book's four editors. Brye is professor of applied soil physics and pedology in the Division's Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.
The book's other editors are Edgar Mersiovsky, a senior regional soil scientist with the NRCS in Little Rock; Luis Hernandez, NRCS soil survey regional director for several northeastern states, and Larry B. Ward, a retired soil correlation specialist with NRCS and a registered professional soil classifier in Arkansas.
Information in the book originated with federal agencies' efforts mapping land areas over several decades, followed by collaboration with university faculty, researchers and other agencies that analyzed the soil's characteristics.
"There are numerous prominent industries in Arkansas that heavily rely on the soil resources in the state, namely production agriculture, timber and tourism," Brye said. "Soils of Arkansas was conceived to provide a wide audience -- from policy makers to natural resource planners to educators to students to the citizens of Arkansas and even to visiting tourists -- with a basic exposure to Arkansas' soil resources."
Much of the book includes information about each of the state's 11 Major Land Resource Areas, geographic areas comprised of similar geologic patterns as determined by NRCS. Photos of soil series from each of the areas depict characteristics explained in accompanying soil profile descriptions.
The book also contains information about the five factors affecting soil formation in Arkansas -- parent material, topography/relief, climate, organisms and time -- with several illustrative photos and maps.
Copies of the book can be obtained by contacting Brye at kbrye@uark.edu or 479-575-5742 or Mersiovsky at edgar.mersiovsky@ar.usda.gov or 501-301-3163.
Keywords: Agriculture Outreach

Contacts:

Dave Edmark, Interim Coordinator
Agricultural Communication Services
479-575-6940, dedmark@uark.edu

Soil: what your food comes from


Soils of Arkansas Book Explores Characteristics of Key Resource

Agriculture, timber and tourism industries depend on soil

Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Soils of Arkansas, published by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Soils of Arkansas, published by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has released Soils of Arkansas, a 136-page book with maps, photos and commentary based on 50 years of soil surveys across the state. The Division published the book through a cooperative agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"This publication is meant to fill some of the knowledge gaps regarding soil by highlighting the soil and other resources of Arkansas," said Kristofor Brye, one of the book's four editors. Brye is professor of applied soil physics and pedology in the Division's Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.
The book's other editors are Edgar Mersiovsky, a senior regional soil scientist with the NRCS in Little Rock; Luis Hernandez, NRCS soil survey regional director for several northeastern states, and Larry B. Ward, a retired soil correlation specialist with NRCS and a registered professional soil classifier in Arkansas.
Information in the book originated with federal agencies' efforts mapping land areas over several decades, followed by collaboration with university faculty, researchers and other agencies that analyzed the soil's characteristics.
"There are numerous prominent industries in Arkansas that heavily rely on the soil resources in the state, namely production agriculture, timber and tourism," Brye said. "Soils of Arkansas was conceived to provide a wide audience -- from policy makers to natural resource planners to educators to students to the citizens of Arkansas and even to visiting tourists -- with a basic exposure to Arkansas' soil resources."
Much of the book includes information about each of the state's 11 Major Land Resource Areas, geographic areas comprised of similar geologic patterns as determined by NRCS. Photos of soil series from each of the areas depict characteristics explained in accompanying soil profile descriptions.
The book also contains information about the five factors affecting soil formation in Arkansas -- parent material, topography/relief, climate, organisms and time -- with several illustrative photos and maps.
Copies of the book can be obtained by contacting Brye at kbrye@uark.edu or 479-575-5742 or Mersiovsky at edgar.mersiovsky@ar.usda.gov or 501-301-3163.
Keywords: Agriculture Outreach

Contacts:

Dave Edmark, Interim Coordinator
Agricultural Communication Services
479-575-6940, dedmark@uark.edu

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mary Alice Serafini's speech about the late Marion Orton's role in making recycling a major goal in Fayetteville, Arkansas

View video including Mayor Lioneld Jordan's speech at the opening of Fayetteville's new Marion Orton Recycling Center and most of Mary Alice Serafini's presentation on You Tube at this link. My SD card filled up and I failed to take a backup camera, so battery also went dead. Sorry for my poor planning. 

Our friend, Marion Orton, was an educator, a visionary, and a tenacious, brave, kind, and determined leader. She taught a lot of us how to impact public policy, especially on environmental issues. In 1971, she had already served on the City of Fayetteville Board of Directors so she was quite savvy about the needs of this community and its potential to commit to environmentally sound waste management while being a steward of the city’s resources. While Marion made an impact locally, she was a very global thinker and made impacts far beyond the city limits of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
As the citizens of Fayetteville pondered the ideas of recycling and reclaiming waste products, the League of Women Voters of Washington County studied with Marion. A comment from League member, Gene Tweraser is “My only thought is that I had never heard of recycling till Marion began talking about it. I had always re‐used things like aluminum foil, boxes and bottles, but was glad to learn that it was a positive thing to do to help the environment.”
Working with a sub‐committee of the city of Fayetteville’s Pollution Control Committee, Marion took the lead in establishing a recycling center, which opened on West Street in October of 1971. There was also a newspaper collection substation at Butterfield Trail School. Martha Agee of Uptown School, remembers:
“Not long after Uptown School, Fayetteville's first alternative school, began in the fall of 1972 Marion Orton and her helpers opened the first recycling center in an old building located behind or where the back part of the Walton Art Center is now located, she came to Uptown and talked to the students and staff members.
She told us about the startup program and what she and others hoped to accomplish by opening the recycling center. She asked if some of the students could find time to volunteer there. Several did, sometimes on their lunch hour or during a study period. Others were curious about what they were doing and many of them helped spread the word in the community.”
Marion’s neighbor and friend, Ethel Simpson, recalled: “My sons and I participated in Marion's first effort at community recycling, one summer in the early 1970s. Mike and Chris spent some time at the Center, which was along West Avenue, I think, in an old factory warehouse building. They sorted out bottles from other stuff.
League member, Libby Wheeler, remembers Marion saying that so many of the volunteers were young people and that they really enjoyed smashing the glass bottles.
Marion’s friend, Elizabeth Reagan, reported that she put her kids in the car and they all went to volunteer at the recycling center. She said it was staffed by all volunteers, and it didn't always smell so good.
We know that Marion was on a path to improve the quality of life in Fayetteville. She volunteered hours of her time to keep the center open and functioning and used this time to educate citizen after citizen, child after child. She absolutely loved it and was re‐elected to the City Board of Directors in 1972. The result of her first efforts were reported as follows:
NWAR Times – February 24, 1972 Ninety days of recycling in Fayetteville is less than 1% effective
90 days collection results in the recycling of approximately one day's solid waste. Its chief value is focusing attention on the idea of recycling."
Grapevine November 3, 1971 On the recycling project: "The purpose of the project is to show the public that the public is wasteful."
The overall goal was to reduce the amount of waste that went into our landfills (does this not sound like our present day goal?) and Marion taught us all that education was the key. Her neighborhood even benefited in an exceptional way with a recycled materials pick up staffed by children in the neighborhood.
Well, Marion got the Washington County League engaged and we arrived at a consensus in 1972 that recycling was good for the community. The League of Women Voters of the United States followed suit shortly thereafter. Marion thought big and was part of the larger picture along with quite a team of women in Fayetteville Arkansas who tackled community issues with vigor!
In October 1973, LWVAR received a grant for $4,225 from the National LWV Education fund and the Environmental Protection Agency to be used for better management of solid waste disposal in Arkansas. The state League proceeded to survey every county in Arkansas. Now, a survey to Marion was going out and interviewing community leaders and using this format to educate them on the possibilities of change, including recycling. The survey was accomplished with leaders like Peg Anderson, Sylvia Swartz and Marion with a published report which ended with this conclusion: “Separate trash and take recyclables to a recycling center. Buy beverages in returnable bottles and refuse to purchase over packaged items. Take a reusable shopping bag to the supermarket. Donate second hand items. Compost food and plant wastes. As federal regulations regarding solid waste disposal become more stringent, cities are going to have to do more. But, the study says, in the final analysis it is up to each individual to do his part.” Sound familiar? This was 1973!
As Mayor, Marion Orton did her part as an individual, as a good citizen and as a believer that even young children could make a difference and contribute to improving the environment.
Today, Marion would approve of this Recycling Center, with or without her name on it. I know she would be knocking on every door in this neighborhood, talking kindly with each individual,

teaching recycling to young and old and carrying out her mission to cherish our environment and our city.
Every individual who uses the Marion Orton Recycling Center honors the wonderful legacy of our friend, Marion Orton
October 26, 2013
Mary Alice Serafini
Marion Orton Recycling Center Fayetteville, AR 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Democrat/Gazette reports EPA scrutiny of Arkansas discharge-permit law


NWAonline

Discharge-permit law draws EPA scrutiny

Rules violate water act, state panel told

The state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission on Friday asked the Department of Environmental Quality to share with state legislators correspondence from federal regulators over mineral-discharge permits.
The request was made after the department warned that the Environmental Protection Agency might “federalize” 14 mineral-discharge permits issued by the state. Federal officials say a new Arkansas environmental law conflicts with the CleanWater Act.
Department Director Teresa Marks said federal officials are prepared to intervene in February if Arkansas officials do nothing. The permits are required before businesses and municipalities can discharge pollutants into the state’s waterways.
“It’s very much a conundrum for us, too, because even if we wanted to issue these permits the way they would be acceptable under federal law, we can’t because we’re prohibited under state law,” Marks said.
Act 954, which was approved by the Legislature earlier this year, removes the default drinking-water designation for Arkansas waterways and alters how the department monitors mineral discharges. Those changes, the department and EPA have said, put the state’s monitoring out of compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.
Critics of the new law have said it could endanger drinking-water sources by allowing an increase in minerals, including chlorides and sulfates, in state waterways.
Marks said the department has no discretion on whether to follow the law without action by the Legislature.
Charles Moulton, the pollution commission’s administrative law judge, reminded the commission that no action could be taken by the Legislature when it is not in session. The Legislature could take up the issue during a special session or the forthcoming fiscal session, but Moulton said that was unlikely.
If the EPA decides to “federalize” the mineral-discharge permits, federal regulators could do the same with 10-15 permits a year as they come up for renewal. But if the EPA changes stream designations, it could require all permits to be reviewed, said Ryan Benefield, the department’s deputy director.
Commissioner Bill Thompson of Cabot said he wanted to be sure that legislators were aware of the EPA’s findings and “the position the commission is in.” He said he felt litigation was inevitable.
“I don’t want to offend anyone; I don’t want to make them mad. I just want them to be aware of [the findings],” Thompson said.
Several commission members said representatives in the industry would prefer continued state control of the permits instead of having the process turned over to federal regulators.
“I’m sure when it finally hits these permittees that they’re going under federal, instead of state [regulation] … then they’re going to be unhappy,” Thompson said.
Northwest Arkansas, Pages 9 on 09/28/2013

Newspaper reports storm water-runoff emphasis at Beaver Lake watershed-protection meeting in Huntsville, Arkansas

NWAonline

Tame runoff, say watershed experts

HUNTSVILLE - As the population within the Beaver Lake Watershed continues to grow, residents will need to take increasing measures to mitigate the side effects of paving and construction, experts said Friday.
The importance of controlling storm-water runoff - a term for rainwater that can’t be absorbed into the soil because the land is covered with impermeable surfaces such as asphalt - was emphasized throughout several presentations during the Beaver Lake Watershed Symposium Friday at theCarroll Electric Building in Huntsville.
More than a dozen experts in hydrology, aquaculture and other biological sciences spoke before a crowd of about 60. While the topics of individual presentations ranged from the development and implementation of the Beaver Lake Watershed protection strategy to methods of stream restoration and water-quality testing, many of the speakers reiterated that one of the best ways to protect the region’s drinking water is to find ways of redirecting storm water into absorbent soils, rather thanlet it flow freely into open surface waters.
Katie Teague, an agent with the Benton County Extension Office, touched on several factors addressing water-quality protection while asking the audience to participate in a trivia game focused on water-pollution issues.
According to data provided by Teague and others, about 20 percent of rainfall in rural areas remains on the surface of the land as runoff when construction has made at least10 percent of the area impermeable. Teague said that a 1,000-square-foot house will displace 623 gallons of water from 1 inch of rainfall.
“From the homeowner side, it’s just the sheer volume of storm water that’s generated ontheir property, and pollutants that they can introduce that can be carried off their site, into a storm drain, untreated, into the nearest creek or stream,” Teague said. “We encourage ways to break up that path and slow down that water so it cansoak in.”
When water is allowed to permeate vegetation and existing soil, a natural filtration process can remove or reduce excess nutrients and other pollutants from the water as it makes its way into aquifers, and eventually into an area’s drinking water.
John Pennington, executive director of the Beaver Lake Watershed Alliance, has said he hopes the symposium will become an annual event. The alliance, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, aims to promote awareness of factors that affect the quality of the drinking water in Beaver Lake,which is provided approximately to 420,000 people and sources its water from a watershed covering more than 1,200 square miles.
Brad Hufhines, an environmental technician with the Beaver Water District Treatment Plant, discussed how the use of “rain gardens” can help homes and businesses offset their impermeable footprint by creating areas of vegetation where storm-water runoff will pool and percolate into soil.
“We’re gaining 30 residents every day in Northwest Arkansas, so we’re becoming much more populated, much more built-out,” Hufhines said.“We’re covering up the natural land with impervious surfaces, and that’s causing a lot more water to flow into our streams rapidly. We’re getting more intense flooding and sediment from erosion that’s occurring at an increased level.”
Hufhines said the gardens, which are constructed in depressions to allow runoff to flow toward them, are effective and low-cost ways of trapping and filtering sediment and pollutants.
“I think that’s not the answer for everybody, but it’s one of several best management practices that can be used throughout the watershed.”
Northwest Arkansas, Pages 9 on 09/28/2013