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.

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