Friday, August 29, 2008

Diverse plants and wildlife call World Peace Wetland Prairie home on August 29, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of butterflies and flowers and tall grass on August 29, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

First and second photos above feature a monarch butterfly nectaring on native thistles on World Peace Wetland Prairie. Native thistles are NOT outlawed and are exceptionally valuable to butterflies, bees and numerous species of birds.
The following two photos (below) feature Centaurea Americana, the American basketflower, surrounded by Demaree's gaura or Gaura demareei, and Dematree's gaura is seen up close in the fifth photo.

Gaura demareei above.
A small, pale butterfly rests on tall grass in the sixth photo (below).

Florida lettuce above (Latuca floridana) above.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Benton County Quorum Court votes FOR watershed protection

The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Quorum Court Approves Curtis
By Scarlet Sims
BENTONVILLE -- The Benton County Quorum Court appointed environmentalist Mark Curtis to the Planning Board on Thursday night over the objection of property-rights advocates.
Curtis, 57, of Rogers will begin serving next month.
"I'm very happy," said Planning Board member Bill Kneebone. "He's going to be a good addition."
The Quorum Court rejected County Judge Gary Black's recommendation last month 6-5. Black decided to ask the Quorum Court to reconsider Curtis after receiving calls from supporters.
Several residents spoke for and against appointing Curtis on Thursday.
Black picked Curtis from about 19 applicants who submitted resumes last year after a board member resigned. Curtis works in public and private finance, according to his resume. He has a degree from University of Minnesota in urban geography. He studied city and regional planning at Memphis State University from 1977 to 1979, according to his resume.
Curtis is the Association for Beaver Lake Environment treasurer. The group is dedicated to preserving the lake's quality.
Curtis supported a watershed ordinance about two years ago opponents say would have greatly restricted property owners' ability to use their land. He also sued Benton County after the county approved 15-story condominiums to be built on the lake.
Curtis said Thursday the watershed ordinance is a tool to protect the lake. As the county grows, the county must plan to protect agriculture, residents and resources, he said. Planning may mean more regulations or changing current regulations, Curtis said.
He said he had opinions but would change his mind if his opinion is proven wrong. Other planning board members have opinions, Curtis said. He said he stood by his past decisions.
Beaver Lake association members said wanting to protect Beaver Lake should be an asset, not a drawback, to the Planning Board.
"How is it that someone who is interested in protecting the environment should be disqualified when Planning Board regulations promote protecting Beaver Lake?" asked Doug Timmons, Beaver Lake association president.
Opponents worried Curtis has an agenda to increase regulations around the lake and push the association's issues.
"We do not need a man as polarized as Mr. Curtis on the Planning Board," said Bob Kossieck, a property-rights member.
Whether to appoint Curtis to a board that may influence land use ideas that go before the Quorum Court is at the heart of the issue. In the days leading up the Quorum Court meeting, property rights advocates pressured justices of the peace to vote against Curtis, while environmentalists pressed justices of the peace to vote for him.
Justice of the Peace Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, said whether to approve Curtis is a "lightning rod issue." The nuisance abatement ordinance is the only other issue that provoked so much response among constituents, he said.
Winscott voted against Curtis both times. He made a motion to table the vote early in the meeting but the motion failed.
"My concern was: Can he be objective on the board due to his past with land-use issues?" Winscott said. "I want him to be objective."
Justice of the Peace Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, voted against Curtis in July but changed her vote to support Curtis on Thursday. She said she is still concerned about potential bias on the board but pointed out developers can appeal the board's decision. Curtis is only one of seven on the planning board, Hobbs said.
Justice of the Peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, and Justice of the Peace James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, left the meeting shortly after the Quorum Court approved Curtis. Hubbard said the Quorum Court made a mistake in approving Curtis.
Curtis supported the watershed ordinance that included fees for homeowners and would have hurt farming communities by not allowing farmers to move dirt on their property, Hubbard said. What a committee or board recommends to the Quorum Court is usually approved, which could mean more or increased building or planning fees, he said.
"This county is taking a step backward in helping agriculture in this county -- especially on the western side," Hubbard said. "(Curtis) is an extremist, I don't care what anybody says."
How They Voted
The Benton County Quorum Court voted Thursday to appoint Mark Curtis to the Planning Board. Justices of the peace Frank Harrison, R-Rogers, David Hill, R-Bentonville, Debbie Hobbs, R-Rogers, Kurt Moore, R-southwestern Benton County, Bob Stephenson, R-southwestern Benton County, Beverly Williams, D-Bella Vista, Tim Summers, R-Bentonville, and James Wozniak, R-Bella Vista, approved Curtis. Justices of the peace Bobby Hubbard, R-northwestern Benton County, Craig Brown, R-Rogers, Chris Glass, R-northeastern Benton County, and Frank Winscott, R-southeastern Benton County, voted against Curtis. Justice of the Peace Marge Wolf, R-Rogers, was absent.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species

CREDO Action from Working Assets is proud to bring you an urgent alert from our friends at Defenders of Wildlife.

The Bush administration has announced a new proposal that would gut the Endangered Species Act — one of America's most important environmental laws. Now Defenders of Wildlife needs our help to preserve the vital checks and balances that protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled animals.

I urge you to read the message below from Defenders of Wildlife's president, Rodger Schlickeisen, and take action today to save our endangered species.

Michael Kieschnick
President, CREDO Mobile
Emergency Action
A new proposal by the Bush/Cheney Administration would gut the law that protects polar bears, wolves and other endangered species.
Urge your Representative and Senators to help stop the Bush/Cheney plan to gut the Endangered Species Act.
Dear Wildlife Supporter,
With less than 160 days left in power, the Bush/Cheney Administration has launched an unprecedented backdoor assault on America's endangered species!
Don't let them get away with it. Urge your Representative and Senators to do everything in their power to stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's eleventh-hour assault on America's wildlife.
For more than 30 years, the Endangered Species Act has protected wildlife at risk of extinction. Now the Bush/Cheney Administration wants to eliminate vital checks and balances that are crucial to protect our polar bears, wolves and other imperiled wildlife.
Please help protect endangered animals from the Bush/Cheney Administration's attack. Take action now.
Announced earlier this week, the Bush/Cheney proposal would severely limit scientific review by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service of projects that could harm imperiled wildlife. And it would explicitly limit the ability of these expert agencies to consider how greenhouse gas emissions from such projects could impact polar bears, wolverines and other wildlife that may go extinct due to global warming.
Instead, agencies proposing projects such as highways, dams, mines, oil or gas drilling and virtually any other activity would be allowed to decide for themselves whether a project is likely to impact any of the nearly 1,400 species currently protected by the Endangered Species Act — without the crucial independent review now provided by scientific experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Many of these agencies do not even have biologists or other qualified staff to make such a determination.
Even worse, the new regulations would impose a brief 60-day review period for agencies, making it even less likely that anyone involved in the process will have the time or expertise to fully evaluate the potential harmful effects of a given project on sensitive wildlife or the habitat it needs to survive.
Help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's assault on protections for our endangered species. Please take action now.
There are less than 160 days left in the Bush/Cheney Administration — and even less time for your Members of Congress to act. Please take action now to help stop the Bush/Cheney Administration's last-minute attempt to eliminate effective protections for the wildlife that you and I love.
Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Two years ago, Defenders of Wildlife led the fight that stopped Congressional legislation that would have gutted the Endangered Species Act. Now we need your help to stop the Bush Administration from trying to do the same thing. Please take action now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monarchs mating now produce generation that goes to Mexico in October
Monarchs migrate south in fall

Please don't mow or cut your milkweed. If the leaves are being eaten away, that means that a new generation of monarch butterflies will be appearing in time to migrate to Mexico in October and return in spring to produce next year's monarchs. Their caterpillars must have some species of milkweed to survive on!

PLEASE CLICK on image to ENLARGE photo of a pair of monarch butterflies mating in the Town Branch neighborhood on August 26, 2008. The flower is a rose of sharon bush, a favorite of many pollinators and, when allowed to grow strong and at least 6 feet tall provides nesting habitat for cardinals and other species of songbirds in Northwest Arkansas. Although nonnative, it is a valuable and harmless species, especially outside a bathroom or kitchen window because bird nests in these bushes may be easy to watch from indoors without disturbing parents or baby birds This plant is on Don Hoodenpyle's property and is only 150 feet from the stream. Hoodenpyle has a south American native milkweed in the vicinity and the caterpillars resulting from the mating of these two monarchs are likely to eat the leaves of the milkweed and be ready to head southwest in October.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Links to learn about and discuss Jim McGinty's candidacy for Fayetteville board of education at-large seat

James McGinty's campaign for school board Web site
A site for discussion of James McGinty's campaign for school board Web site

Oil-drilling madness continues to dominate political thinking

The Drill of It All
Did you know that oil companies are already sitting on 68 million acres of leases that they aren't even drilling? Which kind of makes you wonder: Why are Big Oil and its allies suddenly desperate to get their hands on the last few places that are still protected -- our natural treasures, wildlife refuges, and pristine coastlines? They wouldn't use the concerns caused by high gas prices as an excuse to grab it ALL, would they?

Check out our map showing how much of our country Big Oil has already got and spread the word by forwarding it to friends who agree: Enough is enough.

So far, one woman has stood up to Big Oil. Let's thank Speaker Pelosi for keeping a cool head and holding out for real solutions.

| Discuss |

Make Your Travel Matter
Sierra Club founder John Muir believed deeply that conservation begins with experiencing nature's grandeur firsthand, and that's still the guiding principle of Sierra Club Outings. Sure, you could spend another vacation in a high-rise at an overcrowded beach. Or, you could study retreating glaciers from your kayak in remote eastern Greenland, maintain hiking trails in Puerto Rico, or support grassroots environmental efforts in Costa Rica.

Travel with us, and you'll have much more than a vacation. We've just launched our 2009 lineup of international trips, plus a few select domestic itineraries.

Our most popular trips fill up quickly, so have a look now and discover your next life-changing experience.

| Discuss |

The Thirty Percent Solution
Homes and other buildings are America's largest consumers of energy and a major contributor to global warming. That's why the Sierra Club's Cool Cities Campaign is joining with local governments, businesses, and energy-efficiency advocates to support a bold new proposal to adopt "green" building codes for new homes: the Thirty Percent Solution.

Next month, building-code officials from around the country will meet in Minneapolis to vote on whether to strengthen building-code energy-efficiency standards in new homes by 30 percent. By 2030, that would save an estimated 8 quadrillion BTUs of energy and $88 billion in energy costs; reduce CO2 by 464 million metric tons; and create new clean-energy construction and service jobs in the building trades and energy-efficiency product industries.

Make sure your community will be represented at the meeting -- contact your mayor or county leader today.

| Discuss |

Winds of Change in West Virginia
The residents of the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, with the support of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, are proposing the development of a 440-megawatt wind farm as an economically viable alternative to a planned mountaintop-removal coal-mining operation. If the mountaintop-removal coal-mining proceeds as planned, it will destroy ten square miles of the mountain, pollute waterways, devastate the surrounding communities, and eliminate the vast wind potential the mountain now holds.

Add your signature to the petition asking West Virginia Governor Manchin to protect Coal River Mountain and bring clean energy and green jobs to West Virginia!


Stand Up to Skeptics
The Sierra Club has joined forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council in smacking down global-warming skeptics at a new website called

Take a look at all sides of the argument, recommend your favorite ones, and post comments.

"Staring Down Doomsday"
From Sierra Magazine: High school students from the Bronx hit the Appalachian Trail and face their fears.


Support the No Child Left Inside Act
Tell your Representative to support the No Child Left Inside Act to provide students with quality environmental education.

If we act now, we can ensure more American children become adults ready to face the environmental challenges that lie ahead.

Sierra Club
85 Second St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Firewood taken to camp sites can infect local timber with insects and other problems

GREENTIPS - Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood (8/08)‏
From: Greentips - Union of Concerned Scientists (
Sent: Tue 8/19/08 10:28 AM

Going Camping? Don't Bring Firewood
August 2008
Read this issue of Greentips online

Did you know that by transporting firewood you may unintentionally spread invasive insects and diseases that can destroy trees and reshape entire forests? State and federal quarantines attempt to prevent such damage by prohibiting firewood transport into or out of certain areas, or limiting transport to a specified radius.

Examples of invasive species that can travel in firewood include:

The emerald ash borer, a beetle from Asia that kills American ash trees within one to four years of infestation. It is spreading throughout the Midwest and some southern and mid-Atlantic states, but has also shown up at campgrounds outside of these regions.

The Asian longhorned beetle, whose larvae kill mature trees by feeding on the heartwood and inhibiting the trees’ vascular system. It has been found in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, and poses a tremendous threat if it spreads.

Sirex noctilio, a wood-boring wasp that can kill trees (mainly pine) in a matter of months by injecting a fungus into the wood to feed its larvae. An adult wasp can carry the fungus as far as 100 miles. It has been found in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Sudden oak death, a forest disease caused by the fungus Phytophthora ramorum, which has affected several tree species in California and Oregon.
While each of these infestations is currently limited to specific regions, this is a national problem. Therefore, in addition to following whatever quarantines or regulations are in place, be sure to adopt the practices listed below when using firewood. Because the pests described here can survive cold temperatures, these tips apply throughout the year:

Purchase locally harvested firewood at your destination rather than bringing any with you. This has the added benefits of saving you money through increased fuel economy and reducing the amount of pollution generated in delivering firewood to retail outlets.

If you must transport firewood look for a U.S. Department of Agriculture label that certifies the wood is safe to move.

Lumber that has been processed for building material (“two-by-fours,” for example) is safe to move and burn because the bark has been removed and the wood has been dried. Lumber that has been stored outside, however, or wooden packing materials such as pallets, skids, or crates may harbor pests and should not be transported. Pressure-treated wood and particleboard should also be avoided because they can release harmful fumes when burned.

If you have already transported firewood that does not meet these criteria, burn it as soon as possible.

Let others know about this issue and encourage them to sign our pledge to avoid transporting firewood (see the related links).
Related Links

Don’t Move Firewood Campaign

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources—Firewood Facts, Rules & Advice

Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases

Union of Concerned Scientists—Firewood Pledge

Ward One meeting views project planning in Beaver Lake watershed

The desiginated Fayette Junction area is south of the Town Branch neighborhood starting at 15th Street. Old maps actually show Fayette Junction as including the southwest portion of the Town Branch neighborhood along the railroads that historically joined in that area.

Please click on images to ENLARGE:

In the top photo, the Stonebridge Meadows project is shown with north to the right and west at the top. The project is near the West Fork of the White River and drains to the stream.
In the second photo, developer Hank Broyles has turned the concept drawing to put north at the top. Dead Horse Mountain Road runs north and south along the left side in this photo.
Fayetteville City Council members Adella Gray (left) and Brenda Thiel listen to presentations by the developer after hearing an explanation of the city planning division's rationale for its proposed master plan for the Fayette Junction area of south Fayetteville in the third photo. A series of meetings has been scheduled in south Fayetteville to familiarize residents with the concept and to hear public comment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NO COAL meeting Wednesday August 13th 7pm

Molly Rawn
OHG Sierra Club, Chair
(479) 879-1620

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Burke
Date: Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 6:05 PM
Subject: Important NO COAL meeting Wednesday August 13th 7pm
Hi everyone,

We had a successful tour traveling the state last week showing the documentary "Fighting Goliath" and talking with community groups about forming a no new coal coalition. Check out these links for an update:
So far we have set up 'Clean Air Arkansas' groups in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Conway, and Hope to oppose the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

This Wednesday August 13th at 7pm we will meet in Fayetteville to discuss in more detail our campaign and delegate roles to people who are committed to this effort. Please join us and invite your friends and family. Time is running out and we need to come together to stop these coal plants

Here is the address for the meeting this Wednesday:
United Campus Ministry
Omni Center
902 W Maple St
Fayetteville, AR

Also, Maggie Bailey, a volunteer in Fayetteville has asked to coordinate events while I am in Little Rock so you can email either her or me for more questions about our campaign. Here is Maggie's email:

Hope to see you at the meeting. Thanks for your support.



Monday, August 11, 2008

Fran Alexander's Northwest Arkansas Times column urges governor to persuade commission to use gas money for habitat preservation, restoration

Fran Alexander
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2008

“Anyone who can solve the problems of water will be worthy of two Nobel prizes — one for peace and one for science.” — John F. Kennedy If you read my July 28 article “Frack, rattle, and roll,” about the Fayetteville Shale gas drilling, you know that all that glitters is not necessarily pure gold. In the case of natural gas being released from “fracked” shale strata under several counties in central Arkansas, the big money being made there is awash with serious costs as well. Politicians blinded by the prospect of billions glutting the state economy have generally ignored these costs. So far, none of the money to be garnered from a severance tax on the gas bonanza or from leases has been specifically earmarked for environmental protection costs.
We often read about green issues with a lulled feeling of security that the network of laws and regulations in our country will protect us individually and collectively from dire ecological and financial consequences. It’s time to burst that bubble. Federal oil and gas production exemptions abound to the point that one is left feeling we are living on a wild, lawless frontier where random bullets of enviro horrors whiz by our heads daily. (See: www. earthworksaction. org / pubs / PetroleumExemptions 1 c. pdf ) Most citizens are also on their own financially when dealing with leases, taxes and the complicated jungle of resource prospectors. It seems even the state is not too sure what is in its best interests in regard to resources like oil, gas, bromide, coal or money, and is being especially slow in comprehending what is happening to its water, truly our most valuable resource.
Since my last article, a whole new wrinkle about gas drilling has slithered into the news. Neither the general public nor most of the state’s major environmental organizations (Audubon, Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club ) were asked for any input before the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission signed two gas leases. One lease covers 7, 579 mineral acres and 15, 500 surface acres in the Petit Jean River Wildlife Management Area near Ola, in Yell County; the other for 3, 949 mineral acres and 11, 683 surface acres in the Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Van Buren County. Chesapeake Energy Corp. is parting with $ 29. 5 million and a 20 percent royalty interest to get to drill in these public lands.
Keep in mind that land surface (and therefore, habitat) is severely affected where cleared drilling pads, which range from one to five acres in size, are located, and by many miles of roads needing to be improved, expanded, or built for the hundreds of truck trips servicing drilling sites. Compressors hum loudly day and night, so noise can be a problem for humans and animals. And major impacts from pipeline rights of way, which can vary from 20 to 50 feet in width, occur because their pathways denude vast swaths of land. Many people do not realize that mineral leasing confers dominant use of the surface for extraction of underground minerals, no matter who owns the surface or whether they want drilling on their land or not. But on public lands the public should at least have been asked.
“What are we thinking?” is pretty much the question that environmentalists, snugly wrapped in our straitjackets, mutter to ourselves as we rock back and forth banging our heads into walls. I ended my last article asking, “Will we do anything about this situation?” meaning will we find a way to get at least some of the tax revenue from this gas production directed into preventing and repairing the environmental harm that will affect Arkansas’ land, air, water and human health? The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s leasing has provided a whole new pot o’ gold for grasping, and the commission and the governor are having somewhat of a standoff over who gets to decide how this wealth will be spent.
The commission says the money is theirs to direct to wildlife. Sounds good unless that “wildlife” includes trucks, salaries, buildings, game wardens, hunting programs, equipment, etc. for humans. It needs to be directed to habitat protection and repair, the essence of what could be harmed by drilling activities. The money could also go a long way in establishing methods to protect watersheds with conservation easements, thereby expanding preservation all over the state, not just within boundaries of management areas. Obviously, those borders have just been proven not to be sacrosanct when money rides into town.
The League of Women Voters has done extensive study on the Fayetteville Shale Play, taken tours to the drilling sites and in January co-hosted a forum on the issue with the Sierra Club. Mary Alice Serafini, state president of the League, said they have developed Consensus Positions, which they hope the state Legislature will adopt.
Position 1 is the recommendation that a single water authority be established to coordinate the use and regulation of the state’s public waters.
Position 2 recommends funding for oversight and inspection so that problems can be addressed before damage occurs instead of being only complaint driven.
Position 3 provides greater protection of landowners’ surface rights and of waterways.
Position 4 provides full disclosure of chemical additives being used in drilling and production activities that might infiltrate groundwater or pollute the air. (This is a “right-to-know” issue for anyone who otherwise might be exposed to harmful contaminants.)
Position 5 promotes the establishment of a fund for infrastructure changes and damages in areas affected by gas drilling.
So the League has been willing to do something. I hope you will too by contacting our legislators to tell them to support environmental protection and positions such as the League has taken. Immediately, however, we need to contact Gov. Mike Beebe and let him know we consider resource revenue the property of the citizens of Arkansas, and that the public’s money should go toward protecting our state for all of us, not just those with gas.
Fran Alexander is a local resident and an active environmentalist.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monarch butterflies visit World Peace Wetland Prairie to lay eggs on milkweed so that caterpillars can eat and grow

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of monarch butterfly August 10, 2008, on World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Please click on link to ENLARGE tall-green milkweed, Asclepias hirtella, at World Peace Wetland Prairie on August 10, 2008.