Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arkansas officials say 'Don't Do Fescue'

Arkansas “Don't Do Fescue" is theme of AGFC public campaign
JONESBORO - Tall fescue is a widely used forage crop. It is insect resistant, tolerates poor soil and climatic conditions well and has a long growing season. Unfortunately, tall fescue also has a downside.

With approximately four million acres of pasturelands planted in tall fescue, Arkansas has a great deal of this crop. According to David Long, agricultural liaison with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency is working diligently to help the public understand the shortcomings of this type of grass.

"The AGFC has developed a new tool in its effort to educate landowners about the toxic and negative effects of Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue to farm wildlife. A new bumper sticker entitled 'Don't Do Fescue' is now being distributed to agency employees and others interested in spreading the word," Long said. Tall fescue is a common forage grass that has been planted across Arkansas for over 40 years.

Estimates are that about 70 percent-95 percent or 4 million acres of the pasturelands planted with tall fescue in Arkansas are infected with an endophyte fungus. The fungus causes declines in bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, grassland songbirds and also limited other game populations such as white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

"The fact that the plant is actually toxic to both domestic livestock and farm wildlife species is accepted by agriculture extension specialists and wildlife biologists alike," Long said. "The plant produces chemicals causing the fescue to have very toxic qualities. The alkaloids are found throughout the plant, but are especially concentrated in the seeds and leaves," he explained.

In cattle, the fungus causes excessive body temperatures, elevated respiratory rates, loss of appetite, body weight loss, lowered fertility rates and abortion of fetuses. Dairy cows often show sharp declines in milk production. Horses are affected also with more aborted fetuses, foaling problems, weak foals and reduced or no milk production. The CES estimates that this endopytic toxin cost American beef producers up to $1 billion a year in lost profits.

"It's very important for private landowners who desire viable wildlife populations on their property to know the effects of planting fescue," Long noted. "Many species of wildlife would directly suffer these same negative effects if they were confined to the pasturelands as are livestock. However, since they are free ranging, they simply avoid the fungus infected fescue pastures, but nevertheless, this results in loss of farm wildlife habitat on these acres. You may have deer and turkey travel through tall-fescue pastures, but they rarely find food sources available they can utilize, since the aggressiveness of the fescue usually results in solid stands of the plant," Long concluded.

The grass is a sod-forming turf with thick matted growth that also limits movement of young bobwhite quail, turkey and cottontail rabbits, provides no nesting habitat for wild turkey or quail, and is extremely poor habitat for many declining grassland species of songbirds. "Bottom line, fungus infected tall-fescue pastures offer little food, cover or nesting habitat to a broad range of farm wildlife," he said.

"Tall fescue has been planted in an estimated 4 million acres of the 5.4 million acres of pasture scattered over the state and for all practical purposes is of no value to farm wildlife. With the widespread establishment of tall fescue pastures, a great loss of wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, cottontails and grassland songbirds has occurred.

Many landowners now recognize this problem and are interested in eliminating tall-fescue on some or all of their acreage. However, many landowners continue to plant tall-fescue, not knowing the detrimental effects it will have to wildlife. (There is an endophyte-free variety of tall fescue available for planting but it is less viable and hardy, and still provides very limited habitat for wildlife.)

We want to educate all landowners regarding this fact because there are other planting options to providing livestock forage and wildlife habitat on their farms," Long explained.

Please help spread the word to landowners "Don't Do Fescue!" by requesting a bumper sticker to place on your vehicle. Especially if they have an interest in managing for wildlife on their farm. For more information contact David Long at 877-972-5438 or

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Illinois River Watershed Partnership's Appreciation Day set for Saturday June 6, 2009, at Lake Fayetteville

Illinois River Watershed Appreciation Day
Enjoy our watershed, meet new friends, greet old friends ... Bring the Family!

WHEN: June 6 from 2 pm to 7 pm.

WHERE: Lake Fayetteville Veteran’s Pavilion entrance on Zion Rd just east of Lowe's

* Geocaching GIS treasure hunt with USGS water quality experts 2 pm – 4 pm

* Family games, canoe races, volleyball tournament 2 pm – 4 pm

* Free delicious barbecue dinner 4:30 pm

* Recognition of IRWP StreamTeam Volunteers 5 pm

* Free family folk music concert by local artist Marshall T. Mitchell 5:30 pm

Co-sponsors USGS, AWRC, Washington County Environmental Affairs, UA Cooperative Extension Service

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

June 3-5 conference in Atlanta to focus on green roofs

Extraordinary Policy Maker Sessions at Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities - Atlanta 2009‏
From: Jordan Richie [GRHC] (
Sent: Tue 5/26/09 8:40 AM
1 attachment
image001.jpg (11.5 KB)

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American industry association for green roofs, is pleased to bring you some extraordinary, leading edge policy maker sessions at its 7th Annual Conference - Pushing the Envelope - in Atlanta Georgia, June 3-5, 2009. See for details. Highlights include:

Wednesday June 3, 2009

9 am - 12 noon Green Infrastructure Workshop - Presented by the Green Infrastructure Foundation.

Learn the basics of green infrastructure and leading edge policies to support it. These include:

· The major elements of green infrastructure.

· Research on the benefits of green infrastructure.

· Policy case studies and how to information.

9 am -12 noon Policy Round Table Session: Exploring Opportunities to Use the New

GRP Designation Discussions topics will include:

I. License Objectives:

1. Industry Credibility for the Consumer
As the greenroof industry expands consumers are looking for assurances about the quality of those working in the green roof business community, a GRP certification is part of establishing industry standards.

2. Confidence/Knowledge for the Reviewers
The growing use of greenroofs to meet various Municipal, County, State and Federal mandates for stormwater management, air quality standards, energy efficiency standards etc means that the Agency Staff, Regulators, Permit Reviewers, Contract Officers, Project Managers and others must increase their own education and confidence level with the technology. Would requiring GRP certification help Agencies tackle this?

3. Organizing Professional Skills
Some in the profession start from the green side, landscaper architects, horticulturalists etc and some start from the roofing side, roofers, water proofers etc or the structural/engineering side. A single GRP certification establishes that everyone in the industry has mastered the same range of material.

4. Promoting Green Jobs
Can the GRP certification be linked to green job corps programs emerging.

The District could be a test case for this idea.

II. Points for Discussion and Questions around the Green Roof Professional (GRP) certification:

1. Discuss how this certification squares with other professional certifications such as LEED and what, if any views and/or endorsements the professional societies like ASLA and ASCE have offered. Have they been involved in the review process? Do their licenses compete or complement the GRP designation?
2. Discuss how municipalities should interpret the Green Roof Professional Certification. What does the certification endorse about those that receive it? Is this equivalent to a general contractor’s license, a design license, etc…
3. What kind of background does an applicant for the Green Roof Professional Certification need? Is it possible to take/pass the GRP exam without the GRHC courses? Are there other study programs available for the exam? How could the District channel graduates of the green jobs program into a GRP certification program?
4. How are other municipalities viewing the GRP certification? Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia, etc.. How are our neighbors in MD and VA looking at the GRP certification and how are our regional partners in the Chesapeake Bay viewing/thinking about the certification. We don’t want to stifle the growing community of practitioners working in the District, is there a danger of a “preferred certification” policy doing this?
5. How does the GRP certification support, or is supported by, the Federal stimulus funding green set asides for the awards from the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). The GRP certification could play a role in the implementation of the new Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) that requires all Federal Facilities to manage their stormwater runoff on site to pre-development hydrology conditions.

1:00 - 6:00 pm From Sites To Communities - Developing an Evaluation Matrix For Community Scale Benefits of Green Roofs

Science meets public policy as we gather together to understand how to generate better biophysical and socio-economic data from widespread green roofs implementation. Discussion topics to include:

1. How much of the existing research can be used in other communities?
2. What are the unique attributes of a community that require additional studies?
3. What is the best scale, or scales to conduct biophysical/social-economic research on benefits?

Thursday June 4
Track 1 - Policy and Program Development
Learn from policy makers and researchers about their efforts to implement green roofs and other forms of green infrastructure throughout the day.
One Day Passes Available. See
We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!
Steven W. Peck
Founder and President
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
406 King St. E, Toronto, Canada, M5A 1L4
(416) 971 4494 ext. 233

Saturday, May 2, 2009

FarmToTable theme of today's program in the Rose Garden of the Walton Art Center with renewable-energy lecture at Night Bird bookstore at 2 p.m.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of OMNI Springfest poster.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.