Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cedar waxwing eats berry of nonnative privit on December 28, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of cedar waxwing with privit berry on WPWP on December 28, 2008.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

January 25, 2009, annual meeting of FNHA features water-quality presentations

"Troubled Water: Preserving and Restoring Arkansas' Most Valuable Resource"

will be the program theme for FNHA’s annual meeting at 2:00 pm on January 25, 2009,

in the Walker meeting room of the Fayetteville Public Library.

Two leading experts on water issues in Arkansas, Martin Maner and Marty Matlock, will discuss Arkansas’ persistent water concerns and will talk with us about what they are doing and what we, as citizens, can do to protect the quality of our water and to help restore water quality where it has deteriorated.

Martin Maner is Director of Watershed Management with Central Arkansas Water, a metropolitan system which traces its history to the springs and wells of the early 1800s and which currently provides water to nearly 400,000 users. Central Arkansas Water, which is publicly owned, emphasizes a regional approach to water needs and has won numerous EPA awards for its commitment to water quality. Before becoming Director of Watershed Management for the utility, Maner was chief of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Division.

Marty Matlock is Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Arkansas and has conducted research on a variety of ecological issues. One groundbreaking project which has drawn national attention combines urban stream ecological services restoration with outdoor classrooms, greenway trails and park development. Matlock's ecological engineering group collaborates closely with the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, in the School of Architecture, as well as with city and state officials to demonstrate more natural designs for stormwater systems. Among other activities, he will be working with the Springdale water utility in 2009 on the Clear Creek stream restoration project.

Please plan to join us the afternoon of January 25, and encourage your friends and neighbors to come along. Refreshments will be served. The annual business meeting will be brief, and there will be opportunities to learn more about an essential resource on which we and all living things depend.

Barbara Elaine Boland
Green Infrastructure Planning, Project Coordinator
Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association
148 E Spring Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 521-2801 home
(479) 387-6724 cell

"Green Infrastructure is our nation's life support system - an interconnected network of waterways, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitats, and other natural areas; greenways, parks and other conservation lands; working farms, ranches and forests; and wilderness and other open spaces that support native species, maintain natural ecological processes, sustain air and water resources and contribute to the health and quality of life for America's communities and people." USDA Forest Service, Green Infrastructure Working Group's definition of Green Infrastructure.

Friday, December 26, 2008

If you think that Fayetteville residents weren't trying to protect the environment 30 or more years ago, please see

parts of the sample of old outdoor columns in several posts at
Aubrey Shepherd Outdoors
and then go to
Northwest Arkansas Arkansas Environment Central
to check a few old Eco-Logue columns from the Northwest Arkansas Times of the mid-1970s.
If you think the world's problems were less serious or unlike today's problems, check out the news pages from the paper from those same years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

October 15, 2008, meeting of green-infrastructure planning Environmental working group

Environmental Working Group (EWG) -Minutes

Meeting: Oct. 15, 2008, The Nature Conservancy office

Attendees: Delia Haak, Chairman; Matt Van Eps; Robert Cross; Bob Morgan; Bruce Shackleford; Judy Combs; Doug James; Elizabeth Adam; Joe Neal; Barbara Boland; Aubrey Shepherd

Delia Haak called the meeting to order at 7:00PM

Minutes of the Oct. 2, 2008 meeting were approved.

Barbara (project coordinator) explained that this is the third step in the Green Infrastructure Plan.
1. Urban Ecosystem Analysis Benton and Washington Counties, Arkansas
2. Urban Forest Conservation Assessment for Fayetteville, AR
3. Green Infrastructure Planning – Linking Arkansas Communities

The purpose of the Environmental Working Group is to:
1. Identify the environmental resources that are important for the communities to preserve for the future.
2. Complete a map identifying where key environmental areas are and the linkages and hubs to access them.
3. Identify to the best of our abilities “what the community wants” and what ecosystems require.

Joe Neal listed grassland areas that were formerly prairies to be included on a map by this group.
1. Stonebridge Meadows Golf Course: Low wet prairie plants on approximately 10 acres next to Course on south side of Hwy.16E.
2. Lake Fayetteville: North of Environmental Study Center, 30/40 acres of City owned land with native grasses of big blue stem and Indian grass.
3. Wilson Springs: Clabber Creek mitigation site. Audubon Society owned land, 120 acres south west of 540 and Hwy 112. This wet prairie land is not being actively managed.
4. Zion Road: Sweetser owned land south of Zion Road – app. 5 acres.
5. Woolsey Wet Prairie: 30 acres of wetlands mitigation with 70 acres just west of plot. Owned by City of Fayetteville next to the west-side sewage treatment plant. Could be expanded by another 30 acres.
6. Wedington Unit Forest: Grassland restoration on the west side of Ozark National Forest.
7. World Peace Wetland Prairie Park south of Hwy. 16 on Duncan.
8. Pieces of prairie grasslands in the South Industrial Park on Armstrong (Combs Park).
9. South of Hwy. 16 large oak barren (savannah).
10. University of Arkansas Farm on Garland has grassland fields.
11. Woolsey Farm Rd. next to school in Farmington, 60 acres owned by Carl Yates. 320 acres owned by the City WWTP.

Bruce reports that the Woolsey site will be proposed as a wetland mitigation bank. He will introduce the project later to EPA, City of Fayetteville and Corps of Engineers for approval. The proposal will include a deed for perpetuity, performance standards and mitigation credits for the wetland bank.

Aubrey says that the Pinnacle Foods Plant promised the World Peace Garden 2 acres of land and that has not happened. He also added that this site for consideration – Hollywood Ave. south of Hwy. 62 as prairie/grassland area.

The EWG recommends people become educated on the history and importance of prairies.

Bruce handed out copies of a list of native trees and shrubs that are suitable for planting here instead of planting an invasive species that later spreads uncontrolled.

Bruce is manager for the Woolsey Site. He reports that the City of Fayetteville isn’t spraying the fields next to the Sewage Treatment plant with effluent. Also the inventory of plants at the site increased from 47 species in 2002 to 323 species in 2008.

Delia recommends that we look at the use of carbon credits as it relates to forests and into the use of conservation easements. She asked Bob Cross to look at ordinances that pertain in these cities. Delia has the ordinances for the City of Johnson. Bob agreed to do so.

Sub-group self-selection of assignments:
Upland Forests - Doug James, Judy Woltjen

Watersheds/Water Quality – Bob Morgan, Matt Van Eps, Delia Haak

Prairie/Wetlands – Bob Cross, Joe Neal, Aubrey Shepherd, Erin Billlings and Bruce Shackleford

Caves – Judy Combs and Frances Hime

Prior to our next meeting, each sub-group is to have its own meeting to prepare maps and bring the maps back to our next EWG Meeting.

Awareness needs: Education on native prairies and wetlands. Need to tell historical stories of the area.
Information from Bruce Shackleford on native plants and invasive plants.

Additional information requests included:
1. Location of natural springs.
2. Percentage of tree canopy
3. Regional stormwater reports ie. Red Oak Park erosion example
4. Percentage of pervious to impervious surfaces
5. Information on conservation easements: land purchase or donation?

Bring info to next EWG Meeting which will be:


Respectfully submitted,

Judith E. Woltjen, Scribe

October 2, 2008, meeting of green-infrastructure planning group

2008 - 2009

Meeting: Green Infrastructure Planning – Linking AR Communities (GIP) working groups held their first meeting on October 2, 2008 in the cafeteria at Mt. Sequoyah Assembly. Sponsored by Fayetteville Natural Heritage (FNHA) .

Participants were assigned to a working group and each individual received a packet of information explaining the organization and the project goals and timeline. Barbara Boland is the Project Coordinator and she introduced the other resource team members.

This meeting is part of Phase II of the project which is to develop network maps for future presentation to the study area jurisdictions for adoption.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) – Minutes

Attendees: Aubrey Sheperd, Bob Cross, Doug James, Elizabeth Adam, Frances Hime, Delia Haak, Judy Woltjen.

Bob Cross, Acting Chairperson, asked for members to introduce themselves and after intros the
group selected these members to serve as officers:
Chairperson Delia Haak; Vice-Chairperson Frances Hime; Scribe Judy Woltjen.

Members reviewed the assignment for the group as presented on the paper Environmental Working Group: Definition, Assignment and Food for Thought Questions

Doug reported for Joe Neal that he has 5 grassland areas that are important as bird and plant habitat in Northwest AR and need to be considered in this study.

Delia suggested that the group form working sub-groups such as environmental, flora and fauna, water quality and quantity, and habitat health. Doug suggested that the sub-groups be grasslands/prairies, watersheds of streams, upland forest, and wetlands. Frances suggested caves could also be a focus of this region.

The environmental working group will meet Wed. Oct. 15 at 7 pm. at The Nature Conservancy at 675 Lollar Lane. Our agenda will be to:
1. Decide areas of focus for the environmental working group
2. Self select area of focus sub-group
3. Break into subgroups for working session
4. Make individual assignments
5. Decide date, time, location of next meeting

Judy Woltjen, Scribe

Monday, December 22, 2008

Environmental Working Group minutes of December 10, 2008, meeting

Environmental Working Group (EWG) – Minutes

Meeting: 7 PM Dec. 10, 2008; Bell Engineering Center, Rm.2267, University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Attendees: Aubrey Shepherd, Barbara Boland, Bruce Shackleford, Bob Morgan, Doug James, Elizabeth Adam, Chris Wilson, James Gibson (guest), Bob Cross (room set-up), and Judy Woltjen as scribe.

Delia Haak, chairman, was unable to attend.

Group met informally with Barbara Boland, Project Coordinator for Green Infrastructure Planning – Linking Arkansas Communities (GIP)

Barbara presented a new map designed as a working overlay for the EWG to add to, change and eventually complete based on the work of this committee.

The map identifies the planning area; differentiates the streams/creeks and their flow from ephemeral to substantial and their 100-year flood plains; forested areas; a public cave; easements that are owned by City of Fayetteville, Humane Society, and Ozark Regional Land Trust.

Barbara said that all the important information cannot be added to the map and that there will need to be some accompanying reports to complete the work of this group.

Bruce Shackleford and other committee members have been visiting and evaluating sites based on the natural conditions that are present. Bruce marked numerous sites of interest on the working map. He reported on remnant prairie areas, and marshy areas that have been visited. He also said that savannahs are very rare.

Bruce recommended that the areas near the West Side Treatment Plant and the Paul Noland Treatment Plant were the best candidates for larger restoration areas. Near the West Side Treatment Plant there is dry prairie and wet prairie that combined could be large enough to provide significant prairie habitat for native plants and animals. In his opinion, the 300 acres at the Paul Noland Treatment Plant could be restored for riparian forest and prairie.

Watersheds/Water Quality:
Bob Morgan marked greenbelt areas to the west along Clear Creek from Lake Fayetteville connecting to the Ozark National Forest Wedington Unit, and two other forested corridors west of I-540.

Upland Forests:
Doug James added greenbelt areas to the map going from Lake Wilson south to the boundary of the Ozark National Forest and a greenbelt from Kessler Mountain to the SSW. (See: report of the Northern Upland Hardwoods Subgroup, Oct. 29, 2008)

Several members asked for City parkland and U of A land to be added to the map.

Barbara will make changes to the map and when complete will ask for a future meeting with the EWG. She thinks that the Design team will be having another meeting for all the groups about Jan. 15, 2009.

The active sub-groups were asked to give a written report in addition to the information they have provided for the EWG map overlay. Doug James has completed the Northern Upland Hardwoods Subgroup report. Reports from watersheds/water quality and prairie/wetland subgroups would complete the needed information.

Judy Woltjen has observed that Hamestring Creek has erosion problems (Red Oak Park) that will only get worse with the further development of the watershed and that the Creek could be a good restoration program.

Judy also suggested that more land owners need to participate in the CRP program and plant trees along the White River and its tributaries.

Meeting ended at 8:45 PM.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Green-infrastructure map developing at December 10, 2008, meeting

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of green-infrastructure map

Monday, December 8, 2008


General Site Information
Date of site evaluation:

EWG member name:

Site Name/Designation
Location/Street Address/lat&long
Property Owner & contact info

Has Owner been contacted and informed of GI strategy?
Map available for site?

SITE RANK/SCORE (Circle applicable score)
Estimated acreage
< 1.0
1 point 1.0 to 5.0
2 points >5.0 to 10.0
3 points >10 to 20.0
5 points >20.0
5 points/each 10 ac.
Habitat Type disturbed/degraded field
0 points wetland
1 point prairie
3 points wet prairie
5 points savanna
10 points

Rare plants present?
No – 0 points
Good potential – 1 point
Yes – 2 points
Aquatic resource(s) present on site? No – 0 points Yes – 2 points
Aquatic resource type? Heavily used cattle pond
1 point Clean pond
2 points Channelized stream
3 points Minimally disturbed stream
4 points Marsh
5 points
Is aquatic resource is stream, does it have protected riparian zone? Poor
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
Is adjacent resource is wetland, does it have upland buffer zone?
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
Potential as avian nesting habitat Poor
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
Potential seasonal use by migratory songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
Mammal use – Poor
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
Amphibian/reptile use –
0 points Fair
1 point Good
2 points
% Non-native/invasive plant species cover – >50%
0 points 25%-50%
2 points <25%
5 points
Landowner interest in preservation/restoration Poor
0 points Fair
2 point Good
5 points
Environmental features "Landscape Context" of surrounding area, such as topography, geology, soils, water resources, vegetation, zoning districts, land uses, wildlife habitat, Environmental regimes/processes (fire, flooding), Connectivity (ability of organisms to disperse/recolonize), public parks and farmlands: Rank, then describe in comments. Poor
0 points Fair
5 point Good
10 points
Site structure/ecological integrity/unique features: Current ecological conditions indicate site is a rare ecosystem remnant and considers degree of degradation and potential for preservation/restoration. Rank, then describe in comments. Poor
(severely degraded)
0 points Fair
(moderately degraded)
5-10 points Good
10-20 points
(minimally degraded)

Potential to be critical Hub/Link - Poor
0 points Fair
5-10 points Good
10-20 points
Site is: Hub Link
Hub/Link Type Reserve: protected significant ecological site, including wildlife areas typically in their pristine state.
10 points Conservation Corridor: Linear area, such as river or stream corridor that serves primarily as biological conduits for wildlife and may provide recreational opportunities. Greenways and riparian buffer areas are examples of conservation corridors.
10 points
Managed Native Landscapes: Large publicly owned lands, managed for resource extraction as well as natural and recreational values.
8 points Greenbelts: Protected natural lands or working landscapes that serve as a framework for development while also preserving native ecosystems and/or farms or ranchlands. They often act as partitions within a community – a form of visual and physical relief in the landscape – separating adjacent land uses and buffering the impacts of these uses. Farmland preservation areas can be considered greenbelts.
8 Points

Working Lands: Private working lands, including farmland, forests,and ranch lands.

6 points Landscape Linkages: Open spaces that connect wildlife reserves, parks, managed and working lands and provide sufficient space for native plants and animals to flourish. In addition to protecting the local ecology, these linkages may contain cultural elements, such as historic resources, provide recreational opportunities and preserve scenic views that enhance the quality of life in a community or region. Landscape linkages may include streetscapes and recreational trail corridors.
6 points

Site is: Hub (continued) Link (continued)
Parks and Open Space Areas: Landscapes at the national, state, regional, county, municipal and private level that may protect natural resources and/or provide recreational opportunities. Examples include public parks, natural areas, playgrounds, and golf courses.
4 points Traditional Landscaped Area: Is largely landscaped with non-native plant species on public/private lands subjected to routine excessive mowing/brush removal, but has some vegetative cover utilized by wildlife.

4 points
Recycled Land: Land that was previously damaged by intense public or private use and that have since been restored or reclaimed. Mined lands, landfills or brownfields that have been improved in total or in part to provide an environmental function are examples of recycled lands.
2 points Utility Easement: Land where water, sewer, gas, or electrical lines have been constructed and vegetation is largely non-native species and vegetation management does not optimize wildlife habitat.

2 points

TOTAL SCORE Site Category


Category 1 Site: Site size and location make it a prime candidate for preservation/restoration with minimal expenditure of financial and human resources; site may be protected by federal regulations as a “jurisdictional wetland”; site may provide critical habitat for resident and/or migratory fauna and may be inhabited by rare native flora species; site represents an endangered ecosystem such as a prairie or savanna that has been minimally impacted by anthropogenic activities such as grading, filling, structures, removal of vegetation, and or substantial habitat fragmentation; site is owned and operated by city, county, or state entity, or private individual or group willing to consider preservation/restoration; protection of site will very likely have high potential to provide a critical wildlife habitat hub or linkage corridor; protection of site will likely have significant community support.

Category 2 Site: Site size and location make it a possible candidate for preservation/restoration although requirements for expenditures of financial and human resources may not be optimal on a cost/acre basis; site may be a wetland, but not necessarily protected by federal regulations as a “jurisdictional wetland”; site’s capability to provide critical habitat for resident and/or migratory fauna is moderate, questionable, or unknown and site is not likely to be inhabited by rare native flora species; site does not represent an endangered ecosystem such as a prairie or savanna and/or is a very small remnant fragment of such ecosystems that has been impacted by anthropogenic activities such as grading, filling, structures, removal of vegetation, and/or substantial habitat fragmentation; site is owned and operated by city, county, or state entity, or private individual or group that may not be willing to consider preservation/restoration due to land value, planned site use, or lack of interest; protection of site will provide a minimal to moderate potential to provide a wildlife habitat hub or linkage corridor; protection of site will have questionable or minimal community support.

Category 3 Site: Site size and location make it an unlikely candidate for preservation/restoration since a substantial expenditure of financial and human resources would be required; site is not protected by federal regulations as a “jurisdictional wetland”; site does not provide critical habitat for resident and/or migratory fauna and is not inhabited by rare native flora species; site represents only a remnant prairie or wetland that has been substantially impacted by anthropogenic activities such as grading, filling, structures, removal of vegetation, and or substantial habitat fragmentation; site is owned and operated by city, county, or state entity, or private individual or group most likely not willing to consider preservation/restoration; protection of site will provide little potential to provide even a minimal wildlife habitat hub or linkage corridor; protection of site will likely have little community support.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Southpass, budget pass, Hoskins freeway subsidy delayed

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

SouthPass, Budget Move Forward
By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody cast the deciding vote Tuesday night to extend a sewer line to the SouthPass regional park. The council tied 4-4, with Nancy Allen, Shirley Lucas, Bobby Ferrell and mayor-elect Lioneld Jordan voting against.
Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Fayetteville, Arkansas, city council on December 2, 2008

Because of many issues, such as cost and concern about developing on Mount Kessler, the SouthPass project has been controversial. The move Tuesday night was just another step in its slow march forward. Should the city kill the project -- a large mixed-use residential and park project in southeast Fayetteville -- it has been suggested by the city attorney that Fayetteville could be sued for not following through on contact obligations.
"I don't have any choice but to vote 'yes,' because I don't want to see the city end up in a lawsuit," Coody said.
The cost-share approved Tuesday night means the city will pay roughly $745,000 as its half of the cost of bringing sewer service to the project. The money will come from water and sewer impact fees.
The council also unanimously approved its $119.5 million 2009 city budget.
Jordan, who will be Fayetteville's next mayor and campaigned for cost-of-living raises, said the city could revisit raises in the first quarter of next year when officials know exactly how much surplus money the city finished 2008 with.
A 2 percent cost-of-living raise would cost roughly $800,000, said Paul Becker, Fayetteville's finance director.
Chickens can now legally cluck, scratch and lay eggs in Fayetteville backyards.
By a vote of 7-1 the council approved an ordinance to allow up to four hens per home. Robert Rhoads voted against, saying the ordinance seemed vague. It allows for both the slaughter of chickens, and prevents cruel treatment or killing of the birds.
"What is our business is passing legislation that may be confusing," Rhoads said.
"When it comes to the issue of slaughter, you know, we really haven't addressed it," said Jill Hatfield, superintendent of Fayetteville Animal Services.
A plan to require the chickens be registered with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission did not receive support.
"It would become a permitting process," said Brenda Thiel, a council member. "And I don't think we're really going to have enough chickens to justify that."
By a vote of 5-3, the council voted down an appeal by developers for Amberwood Place, a 40-acre development with 177 dwelling units, some of them slated as attainable housing. Lucas, Jordan and Ferrell supported the project, primarily because it provided homes in the $110,000 to $135,000 range, a house type many say Fayetteville is lacking.
"If we want some (affordable) places -- and we've asked our developers to do this -- we've got a situation right here, and I'm all for it," Ferrell said.
"I really think we need some more homes that people can afford," Lucas added.
Other council members agreed with the city's planning staff and Planning Commission, saying Amberwood Place is contrary to Fayetteville's City Plan 2025. And also, some council members were not in favor of grouping affordable housing as a bloc.
"I have a lot of concern about it being bunched together," Allen said. "I have concerns that today's affordable housing may be tomorrow's slums."
And a move to enter into a $2.16 million cost-share with developer Park West LLC to extend Arkansas 112 into an open field to both encourage and access new development was sent back to the Fayetteville Street Committee for further study.