Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Resources for understanding why the streamside-protection ordinance is needed: It will protect property rights!

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Soup Branch entering the The Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River between South Duncan Avenue and South Ellis Avenue. Photo from Leif Kindred's backyard  with view to the southwest. I took the photo standing where water was 2 feet deep within the past two weeks. I could not have safely walked to that spot during the flash flood.
 Anyone trying to understand the newly passed ordinance to protect the quality of water in the Fayetteville streams that are tributaries of White River and Illinois River may find thousands of photos of interest and a good many words and links to authoritative sources of information on related subjects by starting with some of my sites linked below.
Protecting property downstream requires protecting wetland and streamside vegetation upstream. Keeping natural soil in place and encouraging water to soak in where it falls are the the keys to watershed management.
I've been angry about destruction of streamside vegetation and pollution of waterways for more than seven decades. As an outdoor writer and broadcaster since the 1970s, I have tried to educate people about the importance of watershed protection. People who attended English classes I taught starting in 1964 often comment on the fact that I included natural-resource conservation literature among the topics they were encouraged to read and write about. Doing that didn't have to mean recommending science or outdoor-sports publications. Some of the greatest poets in English and American literature focused on nature.
So spending what are supposed to be my retirement years documenting the need for increased conservation is only natural. The links below are my attempt to educate the public about best-management practices by showing many examples of bad-management practices in Northwest Arkansas.
Buying a century-old house in a wetland area in a neighborhood that shows up as a brightly-lit karst geology spot on the Washington County Karst map of bedrock faults in the mid-1990s seemed like a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of nature without being miles away from the hospitals and other urban features that aging people need.
Then, the developers discovered that the land that had never been developed because of its geography and geology was inexpensive. And there were no ordinances to protect us. In fact, planners and public officials were pushing INFILL as an alternative to urban sprawl without considering the consequences of filling every space with some type of dense housing or commercial building.
I lived through thousands of hours of house-shaking, tree-cutting and dredging of the rich, black soil and even water-course changing that resulted in slimy silt running into my yard after adjacent property was built up for construction.
My property rights were not protected by any of the city's development ordinances. Trees near the street were killed and removed to allow larger power poles, the streams on all sides of my home were silted in by the uncontrolled runoff of fill dirt. Utility work required for the development and the endless parade of dump trucks passing and often totally blocking our street made life far too similar to a war zone.

Please visit the links below to get a better understanding of how much the streamside ordinance is needed to protect PROPERTY RIGHTS. This is an ordinance that can help reduce the threat of others experiencing similar misery.

Aubrey James Shepherd's channel on YOU TUBE. Scroll down for nearly 200 video items.
Ward 4 meeting of Feb. 28, 2011, with Sarah Lewis and and Rhonda Adams, members of the Fayetteville City Council. I spoke twice and the anti-streamside enthusiasts were loud.
Part 2 of the March 1, 2011, Fayetteville City Council meeting ends with vote of 7-1 to pass the streamside ordinance.
Property-rights advocates show they don't have a clue about the importance of the ordinance. John Pennington speaks during this portion of the meeting, I believe.
Part 1 of the March 1, 2011, Fay City Council meeting includes a few items of business but soon goes to the public hearing on the riparian ordinance.
Riparian ordinance set of photos on Flickr. Also, many, many more sets of photos relate to watershed issues from various angles.
Currently I have 71 sets on Flickr. See montage page at this link. There three pages of sets at this link: page two and page three
Also, please see my google profile for a full list of my Web logs.
This video clip is from a meeting of Fayetteville's tree and landscape committee and reveals what I consider an important concern for the future.
 My oldest Web site documents the 2000-2005 period of the Town Branch neighborhood's fight to protect its very critical environment from watershed-damaging development that came at the height of the develop-at-all-cost boom in Northwest Arkansas: The successful fight to make a small but significant parcel into the city nature park named World Peace Wetland Prairie and the unsuccessful fight to prevent the de-vegetation and dredging and filling of many acres north of the park for the failed Aspen Ridge townhouse site, which became the Hill Place Apartment site.
Friends, you may use any of the material in your NONPROFIT video, photos in video, slide show or publications centered on conservation of natural resources if you ask ahead of time. My email is aubreyshepherd  at  hotmail.com
When possible, I would appreciate a credit and publication of links where appropriate.
I will help anyway I can.

Stanley Sullins' house is frequently surrounded by water during flash floods originating on the University of Arkansas campus. Please click on image of his house as seen from Leif Kindred's backyard on the east side of the Town Branch. A small streamside portion of Sullins' yard is actually Kindred's property.

Please click on image below to view Leif Kindred's house as seen from the edge of the Town Branch. Flash floods flow around and under Kindred's house and his hot tub was actually moved several feet to the and made unusable by one such in the past year. The was not informed that his house was in the floodway when he bought it in 2009. His house and Sullins' house both need to be raised much heigher off the ground or the increasing construction and paving and removal of absorbent wetland soil and streamside vegetation will eventually destroy both homes. An ordinance protecting the land a decade ago could have prevented much of the speed and depth of flash floods along the Town Branch and many other streams in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
If these landowners use best-management practices and encourage native grass, trees, shrubs and vines to stabilize their riparian zones other property downstream in a similar predicament can be protected. If the university, high school, national cemetery and other landowners upstream follow best-management practices, Kindred's and Sullins' property may still be kept intact. Education helps. A strong wetland/streamside ordinance must be enforced to make sure the damage stops.

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