Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Public invited to view plan for widening portions of Huntsville Road and Fifteenth Street from 4 to 7 p.m. today

People interested in protecting Northwest Arkansas' two major watersheds, in this case, the watershed of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River and Beaver Lake, need to turn out and make sure that the planners are taking into account the potential affect of this project on water quality and the need for stormwater retention to avoid increasing the flooding and erosion threat downstream.

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Please use controls and cursor to move the image, zoom in or out and trace the whole route to be discussed this afternoon.

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department officials will reveal the first phase of design for widening a 2.7-mile stretch of Arkansas 16 between S. College Avenue and Stonebridge Road to four lanes and installing a traffic light at the Stonebridge intersection, east of Crossover Road from 4 to 7 p.m. in the activity center of Fayetteville First Assembly of God at 550 E. 15th St. There won't be a presentation; residents can look at displays, ask questions and give feedback verbally or on survey forms, The Northwest Arkansas Times reported in its March 31, 2009, edition.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Severed limb budding at end. Birds and squirrels and rabbits may eat them

Here is the caption with the photo of limbs burning in Benton County:
Up in smoke:
Benton County employee Harvey Johnson watched a fire at 10791 Stoney Point Road near Lowell on Thursday. The county is burning limbs and trees broken by this winter’s ice storm. Other burn sites are at 9900 Marchant Road in Elm Springs, 21447 Waukesha Road in Siloam Springs and 19941 Bettis Hill Road near War Eagle. Washington County is also burning ice-storm debris on North 40th Street in Springdale. DAVID FRANK DEMPSEY / Benton County Daily Record

If no one in either county had a fireplace or a wood stove, this might seem slightly less ridiculous.
I hope a lot of people who can use firewood or who would collect it and sell it will be at those sites before more is burned and load it up and take it away.
This wood would save people money, reduce air pollution now and save the carbon in these limbs for actual home heating and reduce global climate change (because people with wood stoves and fire places will be buying wood next fall and reducing the tree cover even more in Northwest Arkansas).
Additionally, birds and squirrels are eating buds on those limbs where they are lying. In fact, many large limbs or trunks lying separated from the main trunk for nearly two months are budding right now! So wildlife are having to search a bit more for food, which may be tough for birds facing nesting season.
Burning material with this much value is WRONG.
It is even worse than chipping it all. This is incredibly wasteful and inconsiderate of people and other living things. I am proud to live in Fayetteville where an effort is being made to separate potential firewood for sharing and where the rest is being chipped rather than burned.
This is an example of the need for cross-training and keeping all environmental enforcement under one big umbrella. Apparently, it would be the responsibility of the EPA to see that FEMA's requirements for subsidizing "cleanup" efforts meet environmental guidelines. But I would bet that the EPA has had no input in the cleanup efforts. Otherwise, they would have required sound environmental use of the downed trees and limbs.
And, if there were any budgetary control of FEMA, their pet contractors would be required to compact and compress the loads of loose limbs in their trailers and trucks before claiming a load is full and counting it on the basis of cubic yards.
If you take waste metal to a steel yard or aluminum-recycling facility, you will have your vehicle weighed and then weighed again after the workers pull off what can be recycled. They don't pay more for half-empty truckloads or uncrushed cans that fill a big bag. The scales tell the story.
Should the taxpayers support a system that rewards only selected contractors and ignores the value of the material being destroyed in the pretense of "cleaning up" after a disaster? And requires the hiring of "inspectors" or whatever from different pet companies to make sure the trucks aren't overfilled?
My questions aren't original. I have heard these questions from residents of Fayetteville who are offended by the appearance of poor management and waste.
The city can't ask these questions because the EPA MIGHT look into the problem and FEMA MIGHT delay reimbursement of the city for the work that took a big chunk out of the city's reserve fund.
But somebody has to ask why they don't just weigh the loads and pay and reimburse on the results. My neighbors have asked.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Focus group to discuss plan for Beaver Lake

On Wednesday, March 25th, you are invited to a focus group meeting with Tetratech to discuss the status of the Beaver Lake Watershed Management Plan that they have been helping facilitate. This follow-up focus group meeting with conservation and environmental representatives will take place on Wednesday, March 25th at 3pm in the Chicago Room (room #220) at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. They want to gather your feedback on some of the management options that they have been developing for the watershed.
I believe each of you participated in the first focus group meeting Tetratech convened a few months back. If you have suggestions for other folks who should be included in this focus group, please let me know or pass this invitation along to them.
Tetratech has put together a series of newsletters to update you and other focus group members on the status of the project. I will distribute some of the newsletters attached to this message and others attached to another message early next week.
Please let me know if you have any questions and whether you will be able to attend the meeting on Wednesday, March 25th at 3pm.
Thank you!
Mike Malone
387-5590 (cell)