Monday, August 31, 2009

Bees love Verbesina virginica on August 31, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Verbesina virginica with bee nectaring. You will be moved to Flickr, where a small tool named all sizes above the photos will allow enlargement all the way to original, which is larger than screen but which will allow moving to see bee LARGE!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why is no one doing a study such as the one below to determine relationship of seasonal wetland and karst geology of Northwest Arkansas?

The Ecological Role of the Karst Wetlands of Southern Florida in Relation to System Restoration
By William F. Loftus1, Maria Cristina Bruno2, Kevin J. Cunningham3, Sue Perry2, and Joel C. Trexler4
1 U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Everglades National Park. Homestead, Florida 33034.
2 South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park. Homestead, Florida 33034.
3 U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Miami Subdistrict, Miami, Florida 33178.
4 Florida International University, University Park, Miami, Florida 33199

Download PDF 2.87 MB
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the report and can be downloaded for free

<--Return to Table of Contents
With the recent funding of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the largest ecosystem restoration program ever attempted, there is a pressing need to be able to detect changes in natural habitats as a result of restoration actions. Human activities, particularly the construction of canals and levees that can either drain or flood wetlands, have affected the natural variability of environmental conditions (Gunderson and Loftus 1993). CERP intends to restore natural hydropatterns to areas that have been damaged by water management. Baseline data on constituent aquatic communities and their ecology are needed before, during, and after the restoration activities commence.
Freshwater fishes and invertebrates are important ecosystem components in the Everglades/Big Cypress system. They operate at several trophic levels in the wetlands, from primary consumers of plant material and detritus to carnivores and scavengers. Factors that influence fish and invertebrate numbers, biomass, and composition therefore affect energy flow through the wetlands. The ecology and life histories of these animals are intimately tied to the hydrology of the wetlands, which is determined mainly by rainfall, but increasingly by water-management practices. Because of the hydrological changes wrought by drainage and impoundment, and the loss of spatial extent and functioning of former wetlands to development (Gunderson and Loftus 1993), there is little doubt that standing crops and overall numbers have declined. Changes to the original ecosystem have also altered the timing and the areas of prey availability to predators. Non-native fishes have colonized natural and disturbed habitats during the past three decades. Non-native fishes have affected native animals through predation, nest-site competition, and habitat disturbance (Loftus 1988) and may divert food-web energy into biomass unavailable to top-level predators.
Aquatic animals in southern Florida wetlands have a variety of ways to cope with environmental variability. These include movements to find refuge from drying habitats in winter and spring, and dispersal away from those refuges with the onset of the wet season (Kushlan 1974, Loftus and Kushlan 1987). This pattern of movements among habitats with fluctuating water depths is common to seasonal wetlands in the tropics (Lowe-McConnell 1987, Machado-Allison 1993). The major natural refuge habitat most-studied by scientists in southern Florida is the alligator hole (Craighead 1968, Kushlan 1974, Nelson and Loftus 1996). Canals and ditches offer a relatively recent but spatially extensive form of artificial refuge for aquatic animals on the landscape (Loftus and Kushlan 1987). In this study, we are studying the function of other types of aquatic refuges in the Everglades.
The Rocky Glades, or Rockland, habitat is a karstic wetland unique to Everglades National Park (ENP) in southern Florida (Figure 1), although similar habitats exist elsewhere in Yucatan, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Approximately half of the original area of this habitat occurs outside of ENP where agricultural and urban development has forever altered its geological structure and ecological function. This region is a high priority for restoration in CERP because it is the largest remnant, short-hydroperiod wetland in the eastern Everglades. That habitat has been disproportionately lost from the ecosystem. Unfortunately, the habitat remaining in ENP has been degraded by water management (Loftus et al. 1992).

Figure 1. Locations of the study sites within the Rocky Glades and Atlantic Coastal Ridge in southern Florida. The numbers indicate the drift-fence arrays on the main park road, and the stars on the coastal ridge are the well sites with Miami cave crayfish.
The highly eroded karst structure of the Rocky Glades appears to be responsible for the persistence of aquatic-animal communities by offering dry-season refuge in thousands of solution holes of varying depths, (Loftus et al. 1992). Their work was the first to indicate a tight relationship among the biological, geological, and hydrologic components of this region. Loftus et al. (1992) also found evidence that aquatic animals disperse, feed, and reproduce on the wetland surface during the short flooding period, then retreat below ground for periods of months to years. They also reported that several introduced species, particularly the pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus), walking catfish (Clarias batrachus), Mayan cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus), and black acara (Cichlasoma bimaculatum) were common in the Rocky Glades (Loftus et al. 1992). Unfortunately, their study was interrupted by Hurricane Andrew and not continued.
In this paper, we report the rationale and results of the first year of a new study in which the primary goal is to define the interactions of the aquatic-animal community with the geologic structure and hydrologic conditions of the Rocky Glades. We are addressing questions that have arisen from past work there. How do composition, size-structure, and recruitment of aquatic animals change during the flooding period? Are the dispersal patterns of animals related to water flow? Are the animals dispersing from the main sloughs to recolonize the Rocky Glades, or is the Rocky Glades a source of animal colonists for the sloughs? Do roadways act as barriers to movement? The objectives of this study segment are:
• Collect baseline ecological data on the epigean aquatic communities in the karst landscape of the Rocky Glades.

• Quantify the direction and degree of dispersal by fishes and invertebrates during the wet season.

• Document the seasonal changes in species composition, size structure, and reproductive patterns of animals on the wetland surface.

• Survey the topography of representative areas of the Rocky Glades, particularly around the sampling sites, to provide depth-distribution data for the simulation model of the region.

• Develop a visual survey method for sampling fish communities in open, rugged terrain to follow community dynamics in the Rocky Glades in the wet season.

• Identify the extent of near-surface voids.
The Atlantic Coastal Ridge is another area affected by urbanization and changing hydrologic management (Figure 1). Aquatic habitats, such as the transverse glades that cut through the Ridge, have been replaced by canals and will not be restored. Ground-water habitats and animal communities may have been less affected. As in karst areas elsewhere, deeper geological formations (>5 m) beneath the Rocky Glades and the Atlantic Coastal Ridge have voids of various dimensions known to house truly subterranean aquatic species (Radice and Loftus 1995, Bruno et al., this volume). These include the Miami Cave Crayfish (Procambarus milleri), known only from a few wells in southern Florida (Hobbs 1971). The composition, distribution, and abundance of other hypogean animals are poorly known. Ground-water withdrawal and saltwater intrusion (Leach et al. 1972), limestone mining, and pollution may threaten these communities before they have been fully catalogued. Elsewhere in the world, such communities are known to be very sensitive to changes in their delicately balanced physical environment. The second goal of this project is to identify the composition, distribution by depth and space, and ecological relations of this subterranean fauna. The objectives of the second study element include:
• Develop effective traps to capture invertebrates and possibly fishes from subterranean habitats.

• Inventory hypogean communities and relate the composition and distribution to environmental factors.

• Collect life-history data for the Miami cave crayfish from a large captive population.
This first project year has been a pilot study to test designs and methods. The study is divided into two elements with several components each.
Element 1: In the Rocky Glades, we selected four sites along the ENP main road (Figure 1) to test the use of drift-fence arrays to describe directional animal dispersal and community successional patterns in the wet season. The four X-shaped arrays had 12-m wings made of black plastic ground cloth (Figure 2) to direct animals into one of 3 traps that faced east, north, and west, based on the direction that they were moving (Figure 2). The road shoulder formed a barrier to the south of each array. The 3-mm mesh minnow traps were fished overnight for 24 h to provide data on fish relative abundances, movements, and catch per unit effort (CPUE).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Morning News reports: A Penn State prof says expensive new buildings don't improve student performance

PRINTED headline in Northwest Arkansas Times accurate:
Study: Construction costs, student success separate

Morning News HEADLINE missed the point, however:
Construction No Problem For Student Performance

By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE — A Pennsylvania State University professor said Friday other factors impact student achievement more than the cost of the schools they're in.
Starting with a certain level of quality among students and buildings, the impact between student achievement and construction costs is lower, said Steven A. Peterson, a professor of politics and public affairs.
Prior students' achievement and percentage of minority students both have solid associations with student performance, Peterson said.
More school choices — such as charter schools, vouchers, and magnet schools; teacher salaries or other resources and administrative decentralization — have more to do with impacting student performance, he said.
There is an indirect benefit: Students and staff feel better when the building is newer.
Peterson's comments give credence to a resident's comment made Thursday night at the Fayetteville School Board that there is no research to show school construction impacts student performance. Michael Wolf's statement was intended to support his position Fayetteville is spending too much for a proposed new high school at $113 million.
Peterson's report doesn't differentiate between schools under construction or new schools which are finished.
The topic is timely for Fayetteville residents who go to the polls in three weeks to cast their votes for increasing property taxes by 4.9 mills to finance construction of a new high school on the existing site.
Some members of a group that supported putting the school at a different location said they didn't want their children going to school in a construction zone.
The attendance Friday for Peterson's talk outpaced the number of seats available in the classroom where the speakers usually meet with University of Arkansas graduate students. The program was part of the education reform lecture series.
Reed Greenwood, former dean of the College of Education and Health Professions and a former Fayetteville School Board member, said early research shows content knowledge of teachers is an important part of student achievement.
"We need to have careful alignment of what students need to be taught and the content knowledge of teachers," Greenwood said. "We have not identified what teachers need to do to be the best. It's an area that needs more research."
Principals need to be empowered to run their schools and make more autonomous decisions affecting their own school rather than working under an micromanaging centralized supervisor, he said.
At A Glance
Summary of Peterson's Findings
• None of the analysis indicators show building construction expenditures have anything to do with students' performance, contrary to what some previous research has suggested
• Prior students' achievement and percentage of minority students have a solid association with student performance.
• Other major theoretical perspectives on what might enhance students' performance seem to be supported, such as school choice, administrative decentralization, and resources.
Source: Building Construction Expenditures and Student Performance

Ward 4 meeting Monday to include discussion of status of Red Oak Park

Ward 4 meeting on Monday, August 31st at 7 pm in room 111 in the City Administration Building.

1. Paul Becker Finance Director will be there to talk about the Cities Finances

2. Up date on Mt. Comfort and Roads

3. Status of Red Oak Park

4. City Council Agenda

5. Neighborhood issues

6. Miscellaneous

from City Council Members
Shirley Lucas
Sarah Lewis

Julie McQuade
Volunteer Coordinator
City of Fayetteville
TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) 479-521-1316

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Betty Boudrey walks the almost complete Pinnacle Foods Inc. wet prairie trail with her dog as a viceroy butterfly rests on a trailside bush

Please click on image to go to Flickr for options to ENLARGE and view viceroy up close.
DSCN7750 B Boudrey viceroy butterfly
DSCN7751Boudrey & man working
DSCN7749betty boudrey viceroy bfly
A Viceroy Butterfly rests on a bush along the Pinnacle Prairie trail on August 28, 2009, white a resident of the Town Branch Neighborhood walks her dog on the as yet incomplete trail.
Viceroys are similar in appearance to monarchs, but their caterpillars depend on willow trees and a few other species for sustenance, explaining why on this day more were around than the popular monarchs also frequently seen on Pinnacle Prairie. Monarch caterpillars must have milkweed, which also is plentiful on the Pinnacle Prairie wetland and on adjacent World Peace Wetland Prairie.

A portion of Pinnacle Prairie trail being dug up to repair minor damage

Please click on image to follow the photo to Flickr and use option to ENLARGE view of a portion of Pinnacle Prairie trail being dug up to repair minor damage.
IMG_0657dug out for repair
Will the trail coordinator also have the red dirt and rock and debris such as a crushed silt fence and numerous buried fence posts dug out before accepting this trail? It is a nature trail through the Pinnacle Foods Inc. wet prairie where native species of plants and a wide range of butterflies, birds, deer and other wildlife abound. The plants there are a source of native species seed and are increasingly rare in Northwest Arkansas. NO nonnative grass or flowers or ANY trees should be planted. The seed base is ancient. No cultivars of any species should be brought in. The adjacent land will provide the native seed to vegetate the filled land along the trail. None of the so-called topsoil that the city and contractors use in parks and other areas should be added there. The things that grow there must be what comes from the adjacent prairie land. The deer and birds will spread the seed naturally.
IMG_0643silt fence post

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thanks to John Gore of The Morning News for reminding me of a wonderful reason to visit constantly changing Benton County: Susie Q's in Rogers

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Iconic Malt Shop To Remain Open

By John Gore
ROGERS — Longtime residents driving along Second Street noticed the Susie Q's Malt Shop at the intersection of Arkansas 12 and Second Street had been closed for several weeks.

Many residents speculated the Rogers icon had closed for good.
Susie Q's opened Monday. Patsy Head Simmons, Susie Q's owner, said Wednesday she leased the restaurant to former employee Sheila "Goldie" Williams.

The lease is saving the longtime eatery from the wrecking ball that demolished many highway cafes, restaurants and drive-ins from the 1960s and 1970s to make room for fast-food franchises that sprang up to serve a new generation.

"That landmark is going and will keep going for a while," Simmons said.

"Goldie is very excited because she worked there for years when J.B. (Head) ran the restaurant. She's been working with J.B. to get all the original recipes from him so she can do it the same way he did," Simmons said.

The property has been in the Head family for more than five decades. Joe Head had a fruit stand at the location in 1950. Susie Q's was built in 1960, Williams said.

Williams and the man she is dating heard Susie Q's was closed down and was going to be sold.

"We were looking for restaurant equipment to buy," Williams said. "Patsy heard I was interested in the equipment and called me. I went over to talk to her and she offered to lease the Susie Q to me," Williams said.

"I talked to her and now I feel like I'm at home," Williams said through the sliding window where customers walk up to order food at the restaurant.

Susie Q's is much the same as it was in the 1960s and 1970s when teenagers made the place a hangout in the summer. The original neon sign still marks the restaurant, although the lights haven't worked in years.

John Sampier, a Rogers native, former mayor and now executive director of Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority, said he has fond memories of Susie Q's as a young man.

"It is an iconic landmark in a community like Rogers," Sampier said. "It's like a Route 66 landmark."

The restaurant has been part of the business community in Rogers for more years than Sampier can remember, he said.

"The Head family has been involved for generations in the business of community affairs in Rogers. I'm glad it's going to continue. It's a place people like to come back to," Sampier said.

Sampier remembers when he was mayor he went to Susie Q's for a burger and ran into somebody he was surprised to see.

"I looked over at one of the benches and Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt was sitting there eating a burger," he said.

Raymond Burns, executive director of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, confirmed Hammerschmidt ate at Susie Q's just about every time he was in town.

Derk Wilson, another Rogers native, remembered taking his wife to Susie Q's for cherry soda.

"She would tell me she wanted a cherry soda and we'd go to Susie Q's. It was the only cherry soda she liked." Wilson said.

Likewise Lanie Hines remembers her whole family going to Susie Q's when she was a child.

"We would all load up in the car and off we'd go. It was a special treat for us," Hines said. She said she always had the same thing, "A Susie Q burger, Susie Q curly fries and Coke."

Johnny Kirkendall, dressed in overalls, wearing a baseball cap, and driving a car hauler for a dealership in Van Buren stopped Wednesday afternoon at Susie Q's.

"This is my third time here," Kirkendall said. "The first time I stopped here to get something to eat, I had a burger. It was the best burger I've ever had. Generally, I don't like hamburgers."

The second time he stopped Susie Q's was closed.

"I thought I'd try Susie Q's one more time and today it was open. I wanted my partner to try one of these burgers. I know he is going to love it, too," Kirkendall said as Williams handed him burgers and fries through the sliding window.

Favorites From Susie Q's Menu

• Chili made from scratch

• Susie Q burger and fries

• The Big Pig, a freshly breaded pork tenderloin on a toasted bun

• Mom's Special, a quarter-pound cheeseburger topped with quarter-pound shaved smoke ham

• Susie Q barbecue

Source: Staff Report

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liatris aspera a showy Arkansas native prairie plant

Please click on images of blazing star to go to Flickr and use magnifying tool above pictures to enlarge one or two sizes!

DSCN7074blazing star EXC

DSCN7032liatris aspera EXC

DSCN7033blazing star

Move on to a truly effective health-care plan: You can help this afternoon!

Let's make our voices heard for real health-care reform on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009, at 4:00 PM in Fayetteville at the Washington County Courthouse.

A group of concerned citizens in favor of health-care reform with a government-supported public option needs YOUR help. Let us show our support for President Obama and the plan to achieve health-care reform that will truly make a difference for generations to come from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today in front of the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville at the corner of College Avenue (71B) and Dickson Street. Our task is to be visible with a show of signs targeting the traffic during rush hour. During the event it is our responsibility not to impede traffic either foot or auto and to behave in an orderly manner.

We ask that you bring a sign that you can carry. Here are some ideas…. HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW!
CALL SENATOR LINCOLN…501-375-2993 CALL SENATOR PRYOR….501-324-6336 AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL SENIORS FOR A PUBLIC OPTION We ask that you wear a blue top or shirt (if you can) to be recognized by our group.

Women's Equality Day all day August 26: Seven calls will help


In honor of Alice Paul, the author of the ERA, we’re hosting a nationwide house party with Congress! Where ever you are today, please take 10 minutes to make 7 quick calls to Congress in support of the 3-state strategy for ERA! (10 states – 7 calls = 3 states)

"In celebration of Women’s Equality Day, I want to thank you for advocating for women’s rights and give you an exciting option to consider. Refrain from hitting the reset button on ERA’s ratification efforts when we already achieved 92% of the states required. INSTEAD, Strike down ERA's deadline of June 30, 1982, so that the final THREE states may complete ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. 222 years of exclusion from our Constitution has been a long and bumpy road. Give EQUALITY for women a clear path to victory in 2009. THANK YOU!"

1) Rep. Robert Andrews: DC Office (202)-225-6501 - Author of 3-state strategy
2) Rep. Keith Ellison: DC Office (202)-225-4755
3) Rep. Maxine Waters: DC Office (202)225-2201
4) Rep. Hank Johnson: DC Office (202) 225-1605
5) Rep. Mel Watt: DC Office (202)-225-1510
6) Rep. Steve Cohen: DC Office (202)-225-3265
7) Rep. Robert Wexler: DC Office (202)225-3001

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Secchi Day this Saturday at Beaver Lake

Secchi Day this Saturday at Beaver Lake

Michelle Viney sent a message to the members of Secchi Day on Beaver Lake.

Subject: Secchi Day this weekend!

It is finally here!

Secchi Day on Beaver Lake, this Saturday, August 29th.

Not signed up to be on a team? Come on out anyway! There will be plenty to do at the Prairie Creek Recreational Area!! Join us for boat tours, children's activities, educational exhibits and Secchi dips! Lunch will be served to the first 250 participants. Dan Skoff will join us as the emcee and we will hear Secchi dip readings from teams coming in from the lake.

Visit; to learn more! See you there!

Alderman Shirley Lucas asks park officials what happened to restoration of Red Oak Park during agenda session Tuesday for the Sept. 1 council meeting

The city-council agenda-session heard a couple of fine reports on matching grants for stream restoration in Fayetteville park areas, which would require use of a part of the money set aside three years ago or so for restoration of Red Oak Park in Ward 4. She asked what happened to the promised work on Red Oak Park that was going to be overseen by the Game and Fish Commission stream team restoration expert, Dave Evans.
Park officials explained that he had been ill for some part of the past two years and was unavailable and thus the project had not gone forward.
Strangely, the three trips that Dave Evans made to north Fayetteville's Kitty Creek neighborhood included a chance for me to ask him in December and again in the spring of this year what happened to the Red Oak Park project, and he told me that he hadn't heard anything about the city being ready to proceed with it.
Evans was disgusted withe the dredging of Kitty Creek, which was the previous administration's solution to the threat of flooding of the low-lying neighborhood. It was the opposite of a stream-restoration project. And now the park department is talking about getting part of the cost-share from the Engineering Department to do a piping system to take water north (downstream) and maybe protect a few of the park's mature trees.
If the Corps of Engineers approves the city park and engineering departments' pipe plan, this will result in a lot of digging that could easily damage the park more than it would help. Piping surface water is no longer a method of choice in such matters. A pipe could take the water downstream and avoid the park and even prevent erosion of the northern neighbor's property, but the pipe would end somewhere. At that point it would have to spread the gush of water over several acres of former prairie farm and pasture land OR washout a portion of the main Hamestring Creek, a significant tributary of the Illinois River.
I suggested from the first time I heard about the Red Oak Park problem and saw a video of it and a description of its condition before upstream (to the south) prairie plateau land was developed that rain gardens be developed with the cooperation of property owners upstream and that curbs and gutters that caused the damage to the park be reworked in a few areas to eliminate flow down the streets and stormdrains to the park.
But the neighbors wanted quick action and none apparently learned enough about the several ways to restrain and even utilize rain water upstream to demand that solution.
By this time, the neighborhood could have been taught how a natural system would work and the raingardens could have been created in open space in the Southeast flat, open area of the park and in many yards. Some would have chosen cisterns and rain barrels where space with absorbent soil wasn't available and most of the flash-flood threat could have already been eliminated.
Obviously, it is not too late for that option, because nothing has been done.
Another interesting point made during the discussion was that certain money dedicated to the parks can be used for "promotion." The Government Channel does a great deal of promotion of the city parks. It would seem, then, that the park department could provide some of that money to bolster the Government Channel's budget during this trying economic time, even though they can use it for restoration of Red Oak Park!

Red Oak Park photos on Flickr

View Larger Map

Please see links of interest at right for Red Oak Park photos and rain-garden brochures.

The first photo I posted (bottom photo) was a view from the street south of the park showing the south end of the park. From that spot I heard water loudly pouring from the storm-drain outlets that drop water into the park. The Night Shot function of my camera and my built-in flash don't work at a significant distance. And, without someone to on hand to rescue me, I didn't choose to got down into the gully for better pictures of water leaving the storm sewer from the upstream subdivisions.
The middle photo shows a small flow after several bursts of heavy rain had ended.
The top photo shows the upstream (south opening) of the pipe that carries water under New Bridge, which is near the north end of the Red Oak Park. This spot must become a big pond for a brief time when a really heavy, extended period of rain occurs.
The WARD FOUR meeting between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Monday Feb. 11, 2008, got something accomplished. The relatively small group of people who attended — during a significant thunderstorm with the threat of ice to follow — agreed (mostly quietly) that the two City Council members representing Ward Four — Councilwoman SHIRLEY LUCAS and Alderman LIONELD JORDAN — should go ahead and bring up to the full council a Red Oak Park plan that would include allowing the Game and Fish plan prepared by Dave Evans to go forward as soon as practical for the park division of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
Additionally, LUCAS AND JORDAN agreed that the plan should go forward with a plan to continue to provide information about the value of rain gardens to residents of the surrounding subdivisions and make an effort to bring about the creation of enough new areas where water is encouraged to soak in upstream (to the south) that the speed and amount of water rapidly reaching the park during heavy rain would no longer create a dangerous flash flood in the park.
My plan would be the same but in the opposite order — save the money and keep the removal of trees and widening of the streambed until the rain-garden plan is executed. Then we will know whether any or how many trees have to be removed to "save the trees."
But I would have voted for the combined plan if I lived in the neighborhood (and got to vote) and used that park. And especially if I lived downstream and was watching my land be covered by debris and gravel every time the stream flow is heavy.
Widening the channel and trying to force the stream to meander will help. However, the land is so steep that it would take pretty big reservoirs in the flow area rather than a batch of boulders and small channel changes to make a real difference. Dave Evans' Stream Team plan works great where there is enough space to create WIDE meanders and where the drop in the stream is relatively gradual. And it will work fine during light rain such as we had last night (Monday evening during and after the meeting).
One has to remember, however, that piling rocks in the Arkansas River, White River, Red River and Mississippi River to redirect the flow is a specialty of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And the corps frequently has to redo that activity in those big rivers.
The stream through Red Oak Park is different in several ways. It is dry 99 percent of the time. If you don't go there early this morning you may not find even a small flow. At this minute, 2:07 a.m. Tuesday, there is probably a lot more flow than when I visited at about 9 p.m. Monday. Precipitation, frozen and wet, continues to fall where I live in south Fayetteville.
Also, the stream at Red Oak Park is narrow, and it is extremely steep and the bedrock is exposed for the full length of the park because of the past few years of erosion. As in the case of snowfall and other matters of major significance to human beings and Mother Nature, one can't predict how much satisfaction will come from this renovation project or how long its effects will last.
We may not have enough extended periods of heavy rain in 2008 to create flashfloods that would continue the damaging erosion of the park. Everyone knows that 2004 was the year that most streambed erosion occurred everywhere in the area. Multi-inch rains of up to 6 inches in far less than 24 hours occurred three times in this area during 2004, once in the last week of April and twice in the first week of July. A story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette documented the surprise of people living in a high-dollar subdivision on the White River upstream from Beaver Lake when the lake itself rose into their ground-level rooms. Their title-companies hadn't explained at closing on their purchases of their homes that flooding of the area would be permitted any time the Corps of Engineers decided the flood gates at Beaver Dam needed to be closed to protect property in far north Arkansas and southern Missouri from White River flooding.
We may see the year that Beaver Lake gets so little rain that we'll be like Atlanta, Georgia, wondering where the reservoir went, and the rural people in the surrounding four counties will be wondering why they disconnected the pump from their old well or pond or spring and made themselves dependent on an artificial, manmade storage facility and miles of pipes. So, whatver we do now may be sufficient for some time. Maybe nothing will actually be needed for years!
However, in the four meetings (three Ward 4 meetings and one council meeting) I have attended and spoken about the problem, I have been the ONLY person who has volunteered to walk the neighborhood, knock on doors and hand out copies of a brochure on rain gardens and try to explain why they need to keep the water on their property. It has been said that people in some of the subdivisions there are concerned about saving the trees to allow the area to continue to serve as a nature park. But I haven't seen anyone express this concern since a few appeared at a council meeting months ago. If someone knows any of those people, please bring them to this Web log and let's hear it from them!
We first talked publicly about ways to keep the water where it falls to stop the flash floods nearly six months ago. A video shown a few times on Government channel showed people walking the park and discussing trying to save it long ago!
If the neighborhood representatives and property-owners' associations in the area haven't turned up a few people willing to make the effort to put in rain gardens or at least speak at the many public meetins, I don't know that I would benefit by starting to canvass the neighborhod on my own — so many problems, so little time.
I went to check the flow in the park after the meeting. I hope others did, too. There were some hard bursts of rain; but, as of 11 p.m. there had not been enough extended periods of heavy rain to create the kind of flash flood that has created the problem of major stream-bed erosion in the past.
So my photos from last night don't show a dangerous flow. If I could stay up all night and sit in my car on New Bridge Drive or Road or Street until dawn, I might get photos that would show the situation well enough to get people interested. But it may not rain any more tonight.
So, if you are one of the neighbors who has commented or at least found and read this site and maybe looked at our photos on Flickr (see list of links of interest at right for more Red Oak Park photos, please share this site and offer your comments here. Just click on the word "comments" below this post and don't hold back. Say what you think.
It it is raining hard when you wake up, please take a camera to New Bridge and photograph it yourself. I will assist you in posting your photos if you e-mail me or comment on this site that you have some. The coding is simple to copy and paste if you have photos online elsewhere.
If not, the best thing would be to email a photo or two and let me post them. I promise to do that as soon as they appear in my e-mail.
Shirley Lucas, Lioneld Jordan and the rest of the Fayetteville City Council have patiently waited for interested citizens and the park division of the Fayetteville Department of Parks and Recreation to offer a reasonable plan. If this is the best we can do, then let it go to the council and let's get to work on it.

Red Oak Park is the vertical winding wooded area near the center of the aerial photos. Water flows north from the subdivisions south, east and west of the park and drops into the wooded area from two unrestricted pipes with no retention or detention pond.
Over recent decades, the powerful concentration of water that formerly soaked into the now flattened and paved over fields and pasture has washed out a few trees and created a deep channel through what used to be moist-soil, forested wetland with a gentle flow before development turned it into a raging torrent.
Completely dry for weeks on end, the new "stream" becomes deadly during heavy rain. Photos of the flash floods are unavailable because the water falls on the houses and yards and driveways and streets and runs through a far-too-efficient storm-sewer system and is gone before anyone can dare expose a camera to the elements. The evidence of the power of the water is in the debris in the streambed and caught in riparian-zone vegetation.
Although the thick understory vegetation in the south end of the park is good for nesting and roosting song birds, it is inhospitable to all but the hardiest of hikers and adventurous youngsters searching for sites to build "forts" or play Tarzan.
Elderly people, small children, the faint at heart and the physically handicapped people can't travel from one end to the other. There is a relatively large open area, however, with a smooth, handicapped-accessible paved biking, hiking or jogging trail circling it, at the southeast corner (upstream) and a small basketball court at the north end (downstream).
One proposal offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission would require removing many riparian-zone trees from the new stream's banks and constructing a meandering streambed with boulders and such brought in to create deep areas where water will be slowed slightly during flash floods. But the same volume of water would pass downstream and its velocity would be decreased very little.
An alternative proposal of creating a large storm garden in a portion of the open area upstream and smaller rain gardens on private property all over the watershed would keep a lot of water out of the park by allowing it to soak in naturally. This would keep most of the trees standing in the park and would bring diverse species of beautiful native wildflowers and butterflies and song birds to space now managed by the "grow and mow" philosopy.
A special Ward 4 meeting at the Ozarks Electric Coop at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, 2008, is to discuss ways to stop the erosion, protect the timber and generally make the park safer and more usable for man and beast — especially for children and wildlife.
For information or to offer suggestions, call Jim Bemis at 479-444-9825 or Aubrey Shepherd at 479-444-6072.
More photos of the park will posting daily between Feb. 1 and Feb. 11. Please offer comments on this Web log and plan to attend the meeting.

Center for Watershed Protection free download of stream-protection brochures

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tomorrow's announcement in Rogers of federal aid to restore Illinois River Watershed riparian areas comes late in the game to save urban Osage

Please click on images of typical Benton County stormwater protection efforts along the Osage Creek in the Illinois River watershed on Oct. 15, 2007. Photos first published on this Web log and others months ago.
Ir is great news that a big multisource grant to reforest the riparian areas of the Illiinois watershed in Rogers is to be announced tomorrow, but how about making sure that highway contractors are educated and that those who plan highway projects and maintain them later are educated on the importance of keeping red-dirt silt and other foreign matter out of our streams?

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Stormwater violations so common in Benton County that this headline sounds like a really bad joke. The lead sentence is misleading.

Benton County Meets Stormwater Requirements

Benton County has met all state and federal stormwater requirements, said Aaron Sadler, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality spokesman.
The agency sent County Judge Dave Bisbee a letter April 13 that shows the county's 2008 annual report has been reviewed and is compliant. The county is required to submit a stormwater plan report annually but had not done so since 2006, according to state records. Sadler said the plan submitted this year appears to be complete.
The county adopted an "enforcement mechanism" as part of its stormwater plan Jan. 30, according to county reports. Bisbee signed a court order just before the Feb. 1 state deadline.
The stormwater regulations are meant to curb sediment runoff from construction sites in the county's designated area. That area is 3 square miles of the most densely populated unincorporated areas, including Monte Ne and Prairie Creek. Federal regulations already apply to all construction sites disturbing 1 acre or more, and those that are smaller and part of a larger development, stormwater officials have said. However, the county must enforce regulations in the designated area.
The stormwater regulations mostly affect builders.
OBVIOUSLY, the ADEQ didn't investigate Benton County stormwater-violation sites or even send someone to drive the county's highways and take a peak at its construction sites. But some ADEQ person probably did read the report. I would love to read it. But it would be a laugh and cry situation.
Electing a Democratic governor hasn't changed a thing in the way stormwater regulations are enforced by ADEQ.

Chicken waste not the only threat to riparian area of the Illinois River tributaries; Construction worse

Please click on images to enlarge view of Scull Creek Trail between Cleveland and Maple Streets.

Illinois River Watershed to get huge boost to restore riparian forest

Tuesday, August 25, at 9:00 am at the Embassy Suites in Rogers
Governor Mike Beebe will announce a historic $30 million
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
to benefit the Illinois River Watershed and volunteer landowners.

The 15-year Voluntary CREP Program includes
$24 million federal contribution from USDA
$3 million in-kind State match
$1.5 million from Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
$1 million from the Walton Family Foundation and
$500,000 in local public and private funds
including the Arkansas Poultry Federation.
The Illinois River Watershed CREP seeks to establish or restore ripar ian forest buffers and wildlife habitat buffers by planting native grasses, trees, and shrubs. The goal of the IRW CREP is to conserve, restore and protect water quality, enrolling up to 15,000 acres of eligible marginal pasture and cropland within the Illinois River Watershed.
Join us for Tuesday's historic announcement at

9:00 am. Embassy Suites, Rogers, Arkansas

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Drivers make illegal left turns at MLK and Royal Oak Drive Hill Place entry

Drivers risk own lives, lives of others by illegally turning left in and out of Hill Place split, one-way entry on August 22, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of dangerous left turns at MLK Boulevard and Royal Oak Drive ( where the huge oak used to be) on August 22, 2009.

Box turtles plentiful and active in World Peace Wetland Prairie area

Please click on images of apparently very old box turtle at World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 22, 2009. She is female and her shell shows more wear and damage than than any I have ever seen on a live box turtle. During the 2005 clearing of the timber and the grading down of the land where Hill Place student-apartment complex now stands, hundreds of box turtles were displaced from 30 acres. Silt fences along the creek and other edges prevented them from finding soil into which they could dig or vegetation or worms to eat or water to drink, so many died. The state Game and Fish Commission failed to outlaw turtle harvesting in Arkansas and the habitat of many species is being destroyed. Development in northwest Arkansas continues to destroy box-turtle habitat by land grading and dredging and filling prairie and wetland. The habitat of many aquatic turtles is being damaged and even destroyed by the silt running off construction sites into streams leading both to the White River and the Illinois River.

Missouri's Two Box Turtles
If wildlife were to compete in popularity contests, reptiles would probably lose. People naturally find furred or feathered creatures more appealing.
Box turtles are perhaps the one exception. People who'll recoil from other reptiles will take to box turtles. They are non-threatening; even their eyes have a responsive quality compared to the cold, unnerving stare of snakes.
Box turtles even have qualities we admire, such as the persistence and perseverance of the famous tortoise in Aesop's Fable.
We've heard the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Mother nature seems to have applied this principle to turtles. The fossil record tells us that turtles have been on earth some 200 million years, and in that time have changed little. Box turtles won't win any races. But then again, if you've been around for a couple hundred million years, why hurry?
Box turtles differ from other turtles in several ways. They are terrestrial (land-dwelling) turtles. Their high, domed shells and unwebbed feet are adapted for life on land, not water.
But to discover the unique feature from which box turtles get their name, you have to turn them over. The bottom shell, known s the plastron, is equipped with a hinge. This hinged shell permits box turtles to close their lower shell against the inside edge of the upper shell (called the carapace). The turtle's head, tail and limbs are pulled inside - as if enclosed in a box.The three-toed box turtle is a land-dwelling turtle; its domed shells and unwebbed feet are adapted for life out of the water. The box turtle's hinged bottom shell (left) allows it to retreat inside the shell as if enclosed in a box - hence the name box turtle.
Missouri is home to two species of box turtles:
The three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) is found statewide, excluding the northwestern corner and extreme northern Missouri. Adult thee-toed box turtles are 4.5 to 6 inches long (115-145mm).
Three-toed box turtles, as their name implies, typically have three hind toes - but some individuals have four. They are a forest species, although they may also be found along forest edges and brushy fields. They consume earthworms and insects, but adult three-toed box turtles tend to be more vegetarian, eating a variety of plants, berries and mushrooms. This is the common box turtle of Ozark woodlands.
The ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornate ornate) is a smaller (four to five inches), more colorful box turtle. Its Missouri range includes all but the Bootheel. While ornate box turtles sometimes share the same habitat as three-toed box turtles, they have different needs.
The ornate box turtle prefers more open country: pastures, prairie and open woodland. Although ornate box turtles consume some plant matter (especially berries), 90 percent of their diet is insects - made up mostly of grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars.

Three-toed Box Turtle
Underside of a three-toed box turtle
Easily distinguished from young three-toed box turtles by the color pattern on the bottom of the shell which is similar to that of the top.
The differences between a young three-toed box turtle and a mature turtle are obvious, easily visible to people as well as to other turtles. Changes in color, wear and size are gradual and can vary tremendously among individuals.

In both species, adult male turtles can generally be identified by their more colorful heads and forelimbs, a slight depression in the plastron and bright red eyes.
The patterns of color on the head and neck of box turtles vary with age and from turtle to turtle. While the head color ranges from yellowish-brown to blackish-brown, it may be patter end with black, white, yellow or orange.
In general, males have irises of some shade or red, with mottling of yellow, white, purple or purple-own. Females generally have brown irises, which may be solid, or splotched or ringed with yellow, gold, orange, blue, pale red or purple. The combination of eye color and facial mottling is so variable, it may be distinctive to each turtle.

How old is it?
Like counting tree rings, annual growth rings on every scute of the turtle shell can help age young turtles. Unfortunately, these rings become smooth and hard to count with age. Growth rings are easy to count to age 5, but by the time the turtle is 15 years old the growth rings have been obscured by wear. The bottom (or plastron) of the shell may even have a polished appearance. precise aging of wild turtles is difficult. These are three-toed box turtles.
A close examination of each individual plate (or scute) of a box turtle's shell can reveal the turtle's age. Box turtles exhibit growth rings on each scute similar to the annual rings of trees; one ring equals one year's growth. On young turtles up to 10 years old, the rings are conspicuous and easily counted.
However, older turtles gradually wear these rings smooth. A turtle with a completely smooth lower shell with no visible growth rings can be estimated to be at least 30 years old.
Just how long box turtles live is uncertain. Estimates range from 32 to more than 80 years. Three-toed box turtles of over 50 years have been documented with certainty a number of times Estimates of box turtles living more than 100 years are probably not accurate.

The life of a box turtle:
Most box turtle mating takes place in the spring. Two to eight white eggs are laid in the spring or summer. Young turtles hatch in two to three months; however, some clutches laid in summer may not hatch until the following spring.
Hatchling box turtles, slightly more than one inch long, are vulnerable. They are secretive and seldom encountered.
Good box turtle habitat may have surprisingly high population densities of up to 10 or more turtles per acre. Box turtles are usually homebodies with small home ranges of about two to five acres. However, some turtles do travel. These are the turtles that drivers encounter crossing roads in the spring.
Research has shown that road-crossing box turtles are typically young (not yet sexually mature) turtles or young adult male turtles. Adult females and older males make up but a small percentage of these wanderers.

Box Turtles
So the question, "Why does the box turtle cross the road?" can be answered two ways. Immature turtles are establishing their own home ranges - wanderlust, in other words. Young adult male turtles are out looking for mates - just plain lust, you might say. Unfortunately, many thousands of these wanderers are killed by vehicles.
While some collisions red unavoidable, drivers who watch both the road and their speed can spare box turtles. Remember, if you see one turtle crossing the road, you'll likely encounter more. The main cause of mortality in adult box turtles, other than vehicles, are sudden freezes early or late in the year.
Box turtles are often victims of their own popularity. Many are captured and brought home as pets only to die from improper care. This is particularly true when box turtles are kept through the winter months.
The next time you encounter a box turtle in the woods, pick it up. A close look can reveal a lot about an individual turtle. See if you can determine if it is male or female, a youngster or and old-timer.
Look around a few hundred yards in each direction. The turtle in your hand may live for decades and near venture beyond what you see. Then put it down and let it slowly go on about its life.
Box turtles don't need much from us. By simply leaving them alone and keeping our eyes on the road, we can help ensure that these popular reptiles will continue to have a place in Missouri's outdoors for a long time to come.
Copyright ©2009 Conservation Commission of Missouri. All Rights Reserved.

Jewel weed the best antidote after poison ivy exposure

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of flower of the shade-loving jewel weed, the best remedy or preventative for poison ivy in the natural world.

Got to see a couple of vehicles more turn left by swinging right with the median and then crossing MLK and swinging west

I don't plan to stay up all night and watch this dangerous intersection register its first fatality. I won't call 911 tonight. The emergency is just the need to educate these upper classmen. I doubt there are enough traffic cops on duty to post one near enough to ticket a few dozen of these and put the fear of FPD into the rest. Maybe a call to Frank Broyles would get him to call the head football coach, whoever that is this year, and have him explain driving rules to the Razorbacks who are living at Hill Place. Frank knows the place well. He spoke in praise of Aspen Ridge not long before he spoke AGAINST a multifamily project in his old neighborhood. And he donated a bunch of Hog memorabilia to Hill Place for its recreational center.
Please click on images to ENLARGE view of north lane of Royal Oak Parkway on August 21, 2009.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hill Place student-apartment residents have been quieter tonight than earlier in the week but driving hasn't improved

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of the full-size, clearly readable left-turn-only sign on Royal Oak Dead (just north of the site where the giant oak for which the street is named stood until the Aspen Ridge contractors killed it).
I watched three student cars use that exit and each turned left. Someone told me that no freshmen or sophomores are allowed to live off campus. So I was surprised to see non-readers driving out of there tonight. Cars passing on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard were honking at the violators, but that seemed to be no deterrent. I don't have time to watch that intersection and don't want to see an accident, so I went home quickly.
There is no excuse for residents off Hill Place student apartments not to go less than a block to Hill Avenue and go up to the traffic light. The lanes for people turning left, right or going straight there are wide and the light offers some protection. Of course, even after the city required the contractors to widen the street by about 2 feet on the west side, that lane for people heading south on Hill Avenue remains the narrowest of the three. That makes it hard to turn in there without using a part of the northbound turn lane, so people traveling east on MLK but planning to turng south have quickly caught on to the east of turning into Hill Place right after traveling under the railroad to avoid the narrow turn lane onto Hill.

University of Arkansas speaker's message won't please those desperate to pass a millage increase during a depression to build a new high school

August 28, 2009
Steven A. Peterson, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg
Lecture Title: Building Construction Expenditures and Student Performance
Suggested Readings
Stephen A. Peterson. "Building Construction Expenditures and Student Performance: A Research Note." Prepared for Presentation at the University of Arkansas, August 28th, 2009.
Eric A. Hanushek "School Resources." Handbook of the Economics of Education, Vol. 2, 2006
Department of Education. "Impact of Inadequate School Facilities on Student Learning." Last updated: April 3, 2000.
Mark Schneider. "Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?" National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, November 2002.
Glen I. Earthman. "School Facility Conditions and Student Academic Achievement." A Research Report prepared by UCLA's Institute for Democracry, Education, & Access, 2002.

Peterson's comments near end of his paper linked above:
"One lesson that I came away with from this and other research that I have done on
students’ achievement is that there really does not appear to be a single “magic bullet” that will
transform the system in terms of effectiveness.
Do the results reported here mean that school districts should not carry out building
construction projects—whether renovations or new construction? Obviously not. We do not
want our children studying and learning in unsafe conditions or in conditions that leave them in
considerable discomfort. So, building projects should be examined on their merits, as to what
makes the most sense for students and the district itself. However, one should not carry out large
scale construction on the belief that that will have a considerable impact on students’ academic
performance. The data here simply do not support that linkage. In other regression equations that
I developed, building construction had little impact on alternative measures of achievement (note
the lack of relationships in the second half of Table 1; even using multivariate analysis to double
check, I detected no effect of building construction on these other metrics of performance)."

Read it all and check Peterson's sources. His conclusions are those I hear from the best-educated people I know

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Karst map of NW Arkansas significant tool for identifying green infrastructure deserving of protection

Please click on images to ENLARGE 10 a.m. Thursday, August 20, 20009,l view of muddy water running from the new trail site carrying silt from red dirt and tan "topsoil" spread in past couple of days on the edges of the trail through Pinnacle Prairie. An intense but short-lived thunderstorm had passed over the area at about 9 a.m.

Despite protests from neighbors, the sifted, tan non-organic "topsoil" was spread on the trail edges on August 19, 2009

Please click on sunset image of Pinnacle Prairie trail on August 19, 2009. The non-natural alleged topsoil has been spread over the non-natural red-dirt, gravel, clay and debris mix and the the big machines are gone for the day. Not a pretty sight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pinnacle Foods' wet prairie trail work disappointing because it disrespects a magnificent natural site

Please click on images of Pinnacle Prairie trail with red dirt and gravel along the right of way and the trail edge cut by truck tires dumping dirt along the edges.
The top photo (view east to 12th Street) shows a pile of silty soil moved from the grading off of the new park land. The contractors insist that the city requires the use of this soil regardless of where a project is done. No one has explained where the tan, sifted dirt comes from or who sells it to the city and the contractors. It may be useful in some parts of town but is WRONG on black-dirt prairie land.

The second and third photos (view south) show damaged blacktop trail edge where truck drove off the trail to unload or load dirt.

The fourth photo shows red dirt packed right over the edge of the Soup Branch, which routes water east under the trail from the western, eastern and northwestern portion of Pinnacle Prairie.

The fifth photo shows a view south.

Exercise in futility costs taxpayers for material and labor

Dumping sifted, tan "topsoil" into people's yards, especially South College Avenue yards where the soil is mostly rich (and rapidly becoming rare around here) prairie black dirt is a waste of city money for the material and for the labor. Doing it at a time when thunderstorms are on the radar is shortsighted (at a minimum) and wasteful and impolite to the homeowners.
Please click on images to ENLARGE view of "soil" piled up ready to erode onto yards and down the street if rain comes tonight or tomorrow.

The real question of course is why was this curb and gutter project not squashed. Surely, the people in the transportation department know that an ordinance\ making curb and gutter only an option is in the works.

Pretty flowers and ugly tan dirt spilled into yards and S. College Avenue

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of nice white flowers and store-bought topsoil spread from curb down into yards along South College Avenue.