Thursday, December 24, 2009

Natural Resources Conservation Service removed some pretty healthy riparian vegetation from Scull Creek but left some bad spots with targeted debris blocking stream flow

Please click on images to ENLARGE.

The Scull Creek trail bridge at Ash Street and Chestnut Avenue has had this same debris hung up on it for maybe three months or more since the worst flood of the fall of 2009 sent water flowing over the bridge, but the NCRS contractors ignored it and spent a lot of their time paid for by federal money cutting live trees from the riparian zone and overflow areas of Scull Creek and other streams in Fayetteville, such as the Town Branch.

The good news is that the native wildflowers along the same stretch of trail in the Scull Creek riparian zone were mostly left standing. That means more seed to sprout in spring and more seed for the wild birds to eat. The square stems with now-wrinkled huge leaves still forming water-holding structures along them are cup flowers. a species that grew 10 feet tall and more at World Peace Wetland Prairie and many other prairie areas in Northwest Arkansas in 2009.

By morning, tall grass and tall wildflower seed and other sources such as this native smartweed near Scull Creek and native buckbrush and nonnative China honeysuckle and nonnative privet berries will be among the few places for migrating birds to feed if the snowfall is as predicted.

Wouldn't the birds love it if the trash were picked up from the ditches running from the streets and the apartment dwellers would actually help?

Remember that birdfeeders are important for wintering birds but that every stick of vegetation and every square foot of natural soil left in place are more important for birds and other wildlife.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 20, 2009, Christmas Bird Count for Fayetteville, Arkansas

Provided by Joe Neal

Greater White-fronted Goose 3
Ross’s Goose (2 count week; 3rd time on count)
Canada Goose 868
Wood Duck 2
Gadwall 118
American Wigeon 6
Mallard 223
Northern Shoveler 190 (highest for count)
Am. Green-winged Teal 63
Northern Pintail 1
Ring-necked Duck 22
Lesser Scaup 6
Bufflehead 56
Hooded Merganser 2
Common Merganser 1 (5th time on count)
Red-breasted Merganser 2 (3rd time on count)
Ruddy Duck 7
Pied-billed Grebe 19
Great Blue Heron 21
Black Vulture 22
Turkey Vulture 216 (2nd highest for count)
Bald Eagle 10 (mature8; immature 2)
Northern Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Cooper's Hawk 8
Red-shouldered Hawk 22 (highest for count)
Red-tailed Hawk: 36
American Kestrel 33
Merlin 1 (only 2nd time on count)
SORA 1 (first for count)
American Coot 148
Killdeer 79
Least Sandpiper 2 (4th time on count)
Wilson’s Snipe 39
Ring-billed Gull 311 (high for count)
Rock Pigeon 311
Eurasian Collared-Dove 84 (high for count)
Mourning Dove 211
Greater Roadrunner 3
Eastern Screech-Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 7
Barred Owl 1
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD 1 (first for count)
Belted Kingfisher 14
Red-bellied Woodpecker 51
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 18
Downy Woodpecker 78
Hairy Woodpecker 12
Northern Flicker 46
Pileated Woodpecker 8
Eastern Phoebe 4
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Blue Jay 52
American Crow 636 (count high)
Carolina Chickadee 190
Tufted Titmouse 124
White-breasted Nuthatch 54
Brown Creeper 8
Carolina Wren 122 (count high)
Winter Wren 7
Sedge Wren 6
Marsh Wren 1 (4th time on count)
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 13
Eastern Bluebird 267 (count high)
Hermit Thrush 3
American Robin 90
Northern Mockingbird 108
Brown Thrasher 3
European Starling 12855
American Pipit 39
Cedar Waxwing 63
Yellow-rumped Warbler 100
Field Sparrow 10 (2nd lowest on count)
Savannah Sparrow 123
Le Conte's Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 6
Song Sparrow 87
Swamp Sparrow 86
White-throated Sparrow 241
White-crowned Sparrow 107
Dark-eyed Junco 603
Northern Cardinal 308
Red-winged Blackbird 791
Eastern Meadowlark 191
Western Meadowlark 2
Rusty Blackbird 4
Common Grackle 6 (one of lowest on count)
Brown-headed Cowbird 164
Purple Finch 1
House Finch 64
Pine Siskin (3 count week)
American Goldfinch 131
House Sparrow 158
Blackbird species 8050

Total species 94: count day: 92; 2 additional species were identified for the count week (3 days before and 3 days after count day). Notable misses: Several diving duck species (weather too mild), Eastern Towhee, Harris’s Sparrow, etc. We also missed Double-crested Cormorant – first miss since 1996. But still a GREAT day. Good work Fayetteville CBCers!


So if you were going to pick the weather for your CBC day, what would you want? This year we had warmth & and almost no wind. A perfect day to be out all day.
The great star birds for this year are certainly the Sora found by Jason Luscier’s group

Rufous Hummingbird snagged by the Mulholland group at the home of Paul & Ann Johnson in Farmington. They got to the house first thing in the morning and had the bird within 5 minutes. Jacque brown, David Oakley, and others have collected images. I have included one of Jacque’s images of this bird in the report
Both species are firsts for the Fayetteville CBC, dating back to 1961.

Thanks to you 43 PARTICIPANTS (includes 40 in field, 3 at feeder): Douglas James, Andrea Green, Nancy Varvil, Gwen Bennett; Mike Mlodinow, David Chapman, Steve Erwin, Michael Lehmann, Jason Luscier, Christy & Mike Slay; Jeff Kimmons, Maureen McClung; Kim Smith, James Morgan, Warren Fields, Lynn Armstrong; Joanie Patterson, Donald Ouellette; Paige & Mary Bess Mulhollan, Sarah Lehnen, Josh Newman, Sarah King, Kelly Mulhollan; Andrew Scaboo, Brandon Schmidt; Ben Burnette; Joe Neal, Richard Stauffacher, Roseann Barnhill, David Oakley, Jacque Brown, Louise Mann; Joan Reynolds, Stephanie Cribbs, Leigh Helm, Scott Michaud, Jane Purtle, Adam Shaffer. At the feeders: Elizabeth James, Bob & Sara Caulk. Finally, Taylor Long joined several groups taking pictures of the CBC.

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society generously agreed to donate the $5 per participant fee which goes to National Audubon to organize, store, and make accessible the massive mid-winter bird data so useful to the public and to science. This will be around $200. Thank you NWAAS for helping make this count a roaring success.

Thanks to Doug and Elizabeth James for AGAIN hosting another enjoyable after count tally-up & social gathering at their home. Doug spent all day in the field and Elizabeth spent part of the day observing at feeders, then had all of us over.
Finally, for a hecka of a lot more data, check out & play as you wish, by visiting the CBC section of the National Audubon website. -- Joe Neal

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Democrat/Gazette December 21, 2009, editorial advocating saving sale-barn land for Fayetteville National Cemetery pleases majority of veterans and neighbors, but the problem is that saving Town Branch homeowners from flooding downhill from the cemetery is still being ignored: VA already at work preparing to dredge and fill wetland and pipe stormwater directly to Hill Avenue and thus to the 11th Street bridge on the Town Branch

Please click on individual photos to ENLARGE view of wetland area along the north edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery being prepared for dredging and filling for grave sites. The depressional wetland developed over centuries because it is above a bedrock karst area where groundwater sinks into the underground caverns and aquifers and reduces surface-water flooding. When it is piped to the Town Branch it will further aggravate the flooding danger between Ellis and Van Buren avenues already created by the University of Arkansas' failure properly to manage stormwater on the campus and by paving and development along Martin Luther King Boulevard and on the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project.

Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery

Monday, December 21, 2009
LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June.
A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 500 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed.
The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Avenue from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery.
Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.

This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Joe Neal suggests less shopping, more protecting

less shopping, more protecting‏
Joe Neal (

Back in 2000 I saw a Red-tailed Hawk nest in the stout fork of a big old prairie-era post oak. The oak was part of a small forest developed on former Tallgrass Prairie habitat well marked by impressive prairie mounds. There were Northern Bobwhites in the surrounding fields and Painted Buntings in the shrublands. Visitors to northwest Arkansas and us locals are invariably drawn to this area now because it is Steel Creek Crossing in the burgeoning retail-entertainment district in the vicinity of NW Arkansas Mall.

There was a big battle over these old prairie oaks in 2000, begun when Mary Lightheart climbed what she called the “mother tree” and vowed to stay until development plans were dropped. She kept her vow to stay, but eventually law enforcement brought her down and arrested others who tried to take her place.

I was out Christmas shopping in that area yesterday. What remains of that old oak barren is a handful of fantastic mature native trees and prairie mounds between two popular retailers, Kohl’s and Target . Kohl’s refused to make any compromise with their store building plans at the time. Folks who supported Lightheart handed out bumper stickers after the fracas that read, “I will never shop at Kohl’s.” Trash from the parking lots collects there, mute witness to what happens when a worthwhile fight is lost.

I haven’t seen one of those “I’ll never shop…” adorning a bumper in a few years, so I guess this too has now largely faded. Just from an ecological viewpoint, the little remnant is worth a visit because it is a perfect example of a unique Ozark habitat once much more widespread in northwestern Arkansas. There’s plenty of parking nearby, too.

But I am a historian and a birder, and when I’m out that way, I always stop and look at the oaks and the mounds, remembering that big hawk nest, the bobwhites, and buntings. Bobwhites and Painted Buntings are two of our native birds whose declines are thought by some to be a mystery. Stop by the little woodlot. The reason for decline, at least in our western Arkansas neck-of-the-woods, is palpable.

I also notice that while I did, and do, support the notion of boycotting environmental travesty, like others here, I move on. It’s like being push out to sea by the rip tide. The people who work in Kohl’s and Target look and likely feel just like you & I.

The trash out there in the pitiful prairie remnant got me to thinking yesterday about whether or not any of it was worthwhile, even from the get go. I think Lightheart and the others were right to protest , even if against overwhelming odds. I don’t mean to celebrate “tilting at windmills.” But how else will native birds and their habitats receive protection when they are jeopardized? How else will politicians and developers be put on notice that their decisions have real consequences, and not just the positives that get headlines.

I agree with the reputed views of a Populist agitator from the 19th century, who supposedly told a bunch of angry Kansans, "What you farmers need to do is raise less corn and more Hell." I suppose that’s what Lightheart had in mind when she climbed her mother tree – less shopping, more protecting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fasting activists inspiring others in Copenhagen to hang tough and demand Climate Justice NOW!

"I support Climate Justice Fast!" sent you a message on Facebook...‏
From: Facebook (
Sent: Sun 12/13/09 4:23 PM
To: Aubrey James Shepherd (
Anna C Keenan sent a message to the members of I support Climate Justice Fast!

Subject: Hunger for Survival - Thursday 17 December 2009

Hello, Climate Justice Fast supporters,

During the COP15 conference, the Climate Justice Fast here in Copenhagen has inspired people around the world to higher levels of activism, and has generated a huge number of media hits from Turkey to Japan to Greece to Korea and all around the world!

Due to the inspiration that the fasters have provided to - in particular - the 1000-strong youth activist contingent at the conference, the youth groups and a number of large environmental organisations have decided that they would like to invite their members to fast for one day - THIS THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER - in support of the CJF, and solidarity with the millions who have and will lose their lives due to the preventable and involuntary hunger, disease and conflict resulting from climate change.

We have created a facebook event here - sign up if you are willing to join the day of fasting and reflection:

Many notable climate and sustainability leaders, including Vandana Shiva, will also be joining in this fast and moral call.

“If not us then who, and if not now then when?”

One day before the Heads of State arrive to finalise the deal in Copenhagen, we are calling for all people, everywhere across the world, to join a single global day of fasting – voluntarily going without food – and personal reflection on the climate crisis, and what we as humanity need to do to solve it.

Commit to join the day of fasting by joining this facebook event - and inviting all of your friends!

Now, we must be done with trying to persuade politicians with debates and intellectual argument. They have heard it all already. Now they face a decision about what is simply morally right.

On Thursday 17th December, we will therefore not yell, but instead quiet our voices and raise up our hearts in silence, not telling our leaders what they should do, but instead use the historically symbolic and powerful act of the fast to ask our leaders to reflect on the gravity of the choices they are about to make.

*** UPDATE on the fasters ***

Sara Svensson, Anna Keenan and Paul Connor are all now on the 39th day of their fast, having started on the 6th of November. Matthieu Balle, a solar panel installer from Paris who joined us immediately after hearing about us on French radio, is now reaching his 22nd day. Daniel Lau and Michael Morphett have both bravely decided to end their fasts, following medical advice, after both passing 30 days without food - a heroic feat.

The fasters are all in high spirits and good health, and are under appropriate medical supervision.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Cedar waxwings showing up in big flocks on December 10, 2009, and eating every berry they can find

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of cedar waxwings at World Peace Wetland Prairie on December 10, 2009. Many species of birds have been passing through Northwest Arkansas this week after a massive winter storm pushed across the upper midwest.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Verbesina virginica among several species that serve in winter as ice plants! Find it early mornings in a variety of places in addition to World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on images to ENLARGE photo. Ice-plant displays are like snowflakes. No two are alike. Drive along roads with ditches that have not been mowed back all the way and spot Verbesina virginica with ice around its base on cold, clear mornings. ANOTHER REASON NOT to mow roadsides and old prairie areas. Sometimes, if the mowers haven't cut close to the ground but have taken off the tops of the often 6-foot-tall plants, the ice formations may be spotted by carefully watching for short stem remains.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Natural Resources Conservation Service contractors use Bobcat loader in the bed of the Town Branch without permission on day major watershed-protection news announced

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and enlarge and search for related photos and information.
What part of NO don't these guys understand?
The living things in a half mile of this urban tributary of the West Fork of the White River were displaced and their habitat damaged for four days in November 2009 with no apology.

On the day that these photos were taken, the NRCS announced a huge effort to improve water quality in many states, including Arkansas. How does treating the riparian zones of Fayetteville's tributaries of the White River and the Illinois River watersheds make sense when the agency's overall mission includes protecting and enhancing such areas?

Release No. 0586.09
Brad Fisher (202) 720-4024

Initiative Will Provide Approximately $320 Million in USDA Assistance In Basin Area

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 41 watersheds in 12 states, known as Focus Areas, have been selected to participate in a new initiative to improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River Basin. The selected watersheds cover over 42 million acres, or more than 5 percent of the Basin's land area.

"The USDA is committed to working cooperatively with agricultural producers, partner organizations and State and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the tens of millions of people who live in the Mississippi River Basin, the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative will help" Vilsack said. "Today's announcement is another step toward achieving this goal, and I encourage as many eligible participants as possible to join us in this major conservation effort."

The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), which was announced on September 24, 2009, will provide approximately $320 million in USDA financial assistance over the next four years for voluntary projects in priority watersheds in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. MRBI will help producers implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the initiative. NRCS State Conservationists from the 12 watershed states selected the watersheds with guidance from State Technical Committees and state water quality agencies. Selections were based on the potential for managing nitrogen and phosphorus -- nutrients associated with water quality problems in the Basin -- while maintaining agricultural productivity and benefiting wildlife.
Next, smaller watershed projects will be selected through a competitive process under NRCS' Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI). NRCS assistance will be leveraged with contributions from partners, expanding the capacity available to improve water quality throughout the Basin.
Three requests for project proposals will be announced in the next several weeks, including one for CCPI. Funding for CCPI projects will come from NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.
Two other requests for proposals will fund projects through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program and Conservation Innovation Grants. For information about these programs, visit .
State(s) Watershed
Arkansas/Missouri - Cache
Arkansas - Lake Conway-Point Remove
Arkansas - L'Anguille
Arkansas/Missouri - Lower St. Francis
Illinois - Lower Illinois - Senachwine Lake
Illinois - Upper Illinois
Illinois - Vermilion (Upper Mississippi River sub-basin)
Illinois/Indiana - Vermilion (Upper Ohio River sub-basin)
Indiana - Eel
Indiana - Upper East Fork White
Indiana - Wildcat
Indiana/Ohio - Upper Wabash
Iowa - Boone
Iowa - Maquoketa
Iowa - North Raccoon
Iowa/Minnesota - Upper Cedar
Kentucky/Tennessee - Bayou De Chien-Mayfield
Kentucky - Licking
Kentucky - Lower Green
Louisiana - Mermentau
Louisiana/Arkansas - Bayou Macon
Louisiana/Arkansas - Boeuf River
Minnesota - Middle Minnesota
Minnesota - Root
Minnesota - Sauk
Mississippi - Big Sunflower
Mississippi/Louisiana/Arkansas - Deer-Steele
Mississippi - Upper Yazoo
Missouri/Iowa - Lower Grand
Missouri - North Fork Salt
Missouri - South Fork Salt
Missouri/Arkansas - Little River Ditches
Ohio/Indiana - Upper Great Miami
Ohio - Upper Scioto
Tennessee - Forked Deer
Tennessee/Kentucky - Obion
Tennessee - South Fork Obion
Tennessee/Kentucky - Red River
Wisconsin/Illinois - Sugar
Wisconsin/Illinois - Upper Rock
Wisconsin/Illinois - Pecatonica
For information about the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, including eligibility requirements, please visit the MRBI web page at or your USDA Service Center. A map of the project area is available the MRBI Programs webpage.
Subscribe to NRCS news releases and get other agency information at or contact NRCS Public Affairs at 202-720-3210.
NRCS celebrates its 75th year of service in 2010.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Audubon Arkansas invites birders and conservationists to Holiday Open House on December 10, 2009

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Oak Park plan would tear up the ground and displace mature trees and other significant vegetation but do nothing to protect the park from the huge upstream flow of water from the south, east and west

Red Oak Park Plan

MAYBE, this plan would help protect the property of the landowner downstream to the north toward Hamestring Creek. But it will totally miss the point of trying to protect the existing mature trees and will allow an incredible increase in erosion during construction and have only a minimal chance of improving the park in any credible way.

The only worthwhile and effective use of the money set aside for this plan would be KEEPING the water WATER WHERE IT FALLS: On the lots in the subdivisions to the south, east and west in raingardens created in the yards and in the treeless portion of the park at the southeast corner.

Helping people create raingardens using the natural soil remaining in the area and encouraging NOT to mow but to protect native vegetation there would decrease the dangerous runoff to a manageable level.

It is illogical to spend money doing some that won't meet the goals of the people who originally began complaining about the situation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tour of Woolsey Wet Prairie and Fayetteville's westside sewage-treatment plant at 2 p.m. today precedes big evening for Illinois River Watershed Partnership

Illinois River Watershed Partnership
Annual Stakeholders Meeting
November 10, 2009
2:00 to 3:30 pm Tour of Fayetteville West Side Treatment Plant and Woolsey Wet Prairie
4:00 pm. Tour of Fayetteville Sam's Club
5:30 pm Hors d'oeuvres at Arvest Ballpark, Springdale
6:00 pm Sponsor Recognition and Golden Paddle Awards Reception
7:00 pm. Annual Membership and Board Meeting
Thank you for your dedicated efforts and support
to preserve, protect and restore the Illinois River Watershed.

To see evidence of the need for protection, please click on image to ENLARGE example of construction-site erosion in the Illinois River Watershed.
From Northwest Arkansas environment central

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ducks Unlimited Northwest Arkansas fund-raising dinner TONIGHT: Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE view of two hens and ducklings in July 2007.
IMG_6504two broods
Ducks Unlimited flyer for 2009 GetAttachment.aspx

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green Groups Guild meeting Thursday

From: Green Groups Guild ( on behalf of ggg (ggg@UARK.EDU)
Sent: Tue 10/13/09 2:31 PM

Meeting 10/15/09 7:00 p.m.
209 Thompson Ave. Three Sisters Bldg on Dickson above Fez Hookah Lounge.
Patrick Kunnecke
GGG President
ASLA Vice President
4th Year Landscape Architecture Student

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Runners and Sponsors sought for Nov. 7, 2009, 5K veterans' memorial race to benefit Fayetteville National Cemetery

Please click on image to move to Flickr site and ENLARGE for easy reading. The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation meets at 10:30 a.m. Saturday October 10 and needs to add sponsor names to the file for the race T shirts and the brochures so that printing can begin. Already, Tyson Foods has donated at the Medal of Honor level and has challenged others to join them at the top of the list, thanks to the effort of RNCIC Secretary Peggy McClain.
RNCIC 5K sponsorship levels 09

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monarch butterfly on final days of September 2009 shows the perseverance of all earth's life in fighting to the end to survive and reproduce just one more time

Despite damaged wings, a migrating male monarch butterfly at World Peace Wetland Prairie collects nectar in preparation for the long flight to Mexico. If he can keep up with the other migrants and survive a hard winter in a Mexican tree and fly back to the U.S. in April or May he may father a new few members of a new generation. Or maybe his time has about passed and he won't be among the chosen (or selected). But failing to persevere isn't a concept that he understands.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ninestone Land Trust destination for Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society sponsors a field trip to Ninestone Land Trust in Carroll County Saturday October 3. Meet at 9 AM. Free & open to the public. Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be an Audubon member to participate. We expect to see both southward-moving migrants and newly-arrived winter residents. Come and go on your own schedule. Very causal lunch will be pot luck style; bring something to share or if you prefer, bring your own lunch. Habitats: Piney Creek, classical Ozark upland fields, sandstone glades, soaring blufflines, a stand of mature native shortleaf pine, etc., and especially Ozark birds and transients associated. Birding is our business BUT the affair tends toward the fun and leisurely. Everyone and every skill level & age equally welcomed. We will accommodate mobility or other limitations with appropriate alternatives. Please send me an email or call (479-521-1858) for more information. Hosts: Judith Griffith & Don Matt, Ninestone Land Trust
, 870-545-3559 or

Directions to Ninestone:

1.For those coming from Berryville or north- directions from intersection of Hwy. 62 E & Hwy. 21 S just east of Berryville: From Hwy. 62 east of Berryville, take Hwy. 21 South for 10 + miles to the Cedar Creek Country Store on the RIGHT. IMMEDIATELY after the store & parking lot, turn RIGHT onto a gravel road. The gravel road is CR 512, but is not well marked, so just turn RIGHT immediately after the store. Do not cross the bridge over Cedar Creek! Continue on the gravel road for 1 MILE, staying to the LEFT at any choices.
You will pass 3 mailboxes on the LEFT, one is a large blue mailbox. Continue on to log cabin on the LEFT.

2.For those coming from Fayetteville or south- directions from intersection of Hwy. 412 & Hwy. 21 N: From Hwy. 412 take Hwy. 21 North for about 7 + miles. Cross the Cedar Creek Bridge first & turn LEFT onto the gravel road (CR 512) before you get to the former Cedar Creek Country Store on the LEFT. Continue on the gravel road for 1 MILE, staying to the LEFT at any choices. You will pass 3 mailboxes on the LEFT, one is a large blue mailbox. Continue
on to log cabin on the LEFT.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

League of Women voters sponsoring discussion of Arkansas' electric future on September 23, 2009

Concerned about a proposed SWEPCO rate increase and developing energy efficiency?
A panel of experts will discuss the electrical power dilemma facing
Arkansas and ratepayers during a public information program
moderated by Hoyt Purvis, University of Arkansas Journalism Department.
Wed., Sept. 23, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Fayetteville Public Library
This is also a special LWVWC membership invitation event. Come early, 5:30 to 6:00, for refreshments and visit the membership table before the program for more information.
Arkansas finds itself with a need to expand electrical production at the same time it has overcapacity. A controversial coal-fired generating plant, choice of what fuels should be used in the future, an urgency to upgrade transmission, serious environmental concerns and ratepayer costs combine for a perfect “electrical” storm. Learning what Arkansas is facing and what that means to ratepayers is the focus for this League of Women Voters of Washington County’s public program.
Panel Participants:
Sandra Byrd, VP, Strategic Affairs, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and former chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission
Nicholas Brown, President and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, Inc.
Ken Smith, Executive Director of Audubon Arkansas, an organization involved in the lawsuit over the J.W.Turk, Jr. coal-fired plant
Eddie Moore, an attorney working with Audubon on electric efficiency and ratepayers issues and representing the Arkansas Public Policy Panel on energy issues during the 2009 legislative session

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Webcast on Clean Water Act quality standards FREE by registration

Still Time to Register!
To register, visit
Free September Watershed Academy Webcast -- Second in Clean Water Act Series
Join us on Thursday, September 10th at 1-3pm Eastern for an "Introduction to Water Quality Standards," a second in series of Webcasts on the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States and it sets broad goals for restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's water. Water quality standards (WQS) are aimed at translating the broad goals of the CWA into waterbody-specific objectives.
Tune into this Webcast to learn about WQS, which are the foundation of the water quality-based pollution control program mandated by the CWA.The Webcast will highlight the three major components of state and tribal water quality standards e.g., designated uses, water quality criteria, antidegradation, and will include a case study of how one state is working to strengthen its WQS program. Future Webcasts will highlight other aspects of the CWA including monitoring and assessment, total maximum daily loads, programs for managing point sources and nonpoint sources, and wetland protection.
Dr. Thomas Gardner, Environmental Scientist, U.S. EPA's National Water Quality Standards Branch; Heather Goss, Physical Scientist, U.S.EPA's National Water Quality Standards Branch; and William (Bill) Cole, Research Scientist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Water Quality
Standards Unit
To register, visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leased riparian areas to be restored to protect Illinois watershed

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

State, Federal Government To Lease Land To Protect River

By Doug Thompson
ROGERS — More than 20 square miles of land along the Illinois River and its tributaries will be planted with trees, native grasses and other plants under a project launched Tuesday.

The program's goal is to stop 10,000 tons a year of pollutants and sediment from getting into the river, state and federal organizers said. The 15,000-acre, $30 million program will be the largest of its type in Arkansas, by far, said Randy Young, director of the state Natural Resources Commission.
"Northwest Arkansas, growing economic gem that it is, is also cognizant of the need to protect our natural resources," said Gov. Mike Beebe. The governor publicly thanked the Walton Family Foundation for a $1 million contribution to the project.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is voluntary, organizers said. Landowners can apply to sign 15-year contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their plots of land along the river and streams.

Cropland and poor quality pastures are sought under the $30 million project. Those lands will be planted with native plants to stem erosion and provide food and shelter to wildlife, organizers said. The contracts will pay an estimated average of $85 per acre annually with a starting bonus amounting to as much as $350 an acre.

"I'm very interested. I'd sign up today if the forms were here," said dairy farmer Bill Haak of Gentry. "This is very farmer friendly and, if you look at the details, you can see that the people who wrote this up have the insight into what will make it work."

"I have grandkids," Haak said when asked why he was interested. "You need another reason than that? Well, this is a chance for farmers to step up to the plate and help preserve water quality."

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is suing Arkansas poultry companies in federal court over pollution in the Illinois River. The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 21.

"We hope this project will help prevent pollution from reaching the waters of the Illinois and its tributaries and support these types of efforts in both states," Edmondson said in a prepared statement about Tuesday's announcement.

The conservation program in Arkansas will match up with a similar one in Oklahoma. The two programs will cover the entire Illinois River watershed, Young said.

Of the $30 million, $24 million will come from a federal appropriation sought and obtained largely through the efforts of 3rd District Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, organizers said. Most of the rest will come from a $1.5 million appropriation from the state and in-kind services provided by the state, such as planning for each plot's project by the state Game and Fish Department and other agencies and water quality monitoring by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Contact Information
Watershed Leases

Those interested in the project can call the Washington County office of the federal Farm Service Agency, 479-521-4520, or the Benton County office, 479-273-2622. Information is also available at

Friday, August 14, 2009

Joe Neal reminds people to listen to his reports and bird songs on KUAF FM radio and online

Joe Neal reports
Some folks might enjoy my recent short piece for Ozarks At Large (OAL) on KUAF, the National Public Radio affiliate at UA-Fayetteville. It involves Great Egrets nesting on a sandy island in the Arkansas River near Alma. You can get the program on this page:

I have been doing such programs as a volunteer for KUAF off & on since 2001. Quite a few are now readily available from the OAL archives. Producer Jacqueline Froelich (with additional technical help from other KUAF staff) taught me to use a compact digital recorder (current model is Sony Hi-MD Walkman MZ-RH1 & a Sennheiser shotgun mic) & Cool Edit sound editing software. I go out and find the sweet spots where birds are singing -- or as in the case of Chesney prairie Natural Area -- where prairie mole crickets are courting -- get a bunch of recordings, bring them home & edit them, and write a brief descriptive commentary. Froelich then packages into a program of 4-5 minutes.

What birds, frogs, crickets say interests me quite a lot, especially when our social air is often so heavily polluted. I rarely feel that way when some of the earth's other residents are talking...and I'm just listening in to catch the latest...
Joe Neal

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brown, Oakley and Neal enjoy August 9, 2009, in the Arkansas River valley

Joe Neal reports:
Jacque Brown, David Oakley, and I spent Sunday morning, August 9, in the Arkansas River valley, in the vicinity of the U of A vegetable experiment farm & a private sod farm southeast of Kibler in Crawford County. We saw a Black-bellied Plover still in immaculate nesting plumage, plus a good sprinkling of other migrating shorebirds: Greater Yellowlegs (2), Solitary Sandpiper (6), Spotted (1), Upland (8, including 1 flock of 6), Semipalmated (1+; many peeps), Least (2+), Pectoral Sandpiper (24+); 8-10 Horned Larks and a similar number of Lark Sparrows, both either at the turf farm or alongside sandy roads through bean fields (including yoy [young of the year]), Grasshopper Sparrow (1 adult singing, 2 yoy near, at turf), Painted Bunting (1; yoy), and BIG flocks of Dickcissels in the bean and sorghum fields.

At one point a couple of guys in a flatbed work truck hailed us to a stop. They explained there are vandalism problems in the area, including stealing watermelons. Our bins and floppy hats marked us as potentially weird but probably harmless. It was Sunday morning, after all, and real bad guys would be shacked-up somewhere. They had 5 big melons on the flatbed just picked. After a friendly talk, they gave us directions we needed. In 5 minutes we spotted a watermelon that had rolled off the truck and split open blocking the roadway; there was no putting that one back together again.

We left by noon, because of heat, and because I wanted to get back to Fayetteville and still have a little August energy to see some public art: the Quaker-sponsored exhibit “Eyes wide open” displayed at the Fulbright Peace Fountain on the U of A campus PLUS to make a program marking the anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at one of the chapels adjacent campus. My dad was on a Navy ship in the Pacific ready for the invasion of Japan when the bombs were dropped. He always credited the bombs with saving his life and, by the way, getting him home soon, resulting in me. “Eyes wide open” features combat boots arranged in symmetric rows for US servicemen from Arkansas killed in more recent wars & civilian shoes in another area honoring dead non-combatants. It was honorable & sobering, even to a devout bird-watcher. My own eyes and head were still wide open to Black-bellied Plovers & sudden materializations of Upland Sandpipers & generally to the timeless wonde
r of massive continental-wide bird movements. Thinking of my dad, birds, all of these war dead, seemed a confluence of modernity, even on campus, as we honored the disparate victims of various species of spectacular orgasmic violence.
Joe Neal,
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Monday, August 3, 2009

Green Faith Alliance of Central Arkansas to meet by telephone with like-minded or curious Northwest Arkansas residents at UA business school

The Green Faith Alliance of Central Arkansas will meet with us by
telephone on Monday, August 3, at 5:30 pm. Our meeting will be held in
Willard J. Walker Hall, room 546 (fifth floor) on the Business School Campus area at the
University. Attached are directions (from I-540) to the Harmon
parking garage, which is directly across from Walker Hall. The cost
to park there is about $3 for an hour.
As you may recall from my previous email, we talked briefly about the
possibility of having a Green Faith Alliance of Arkansas (dropping the
word “central”) instead of forming a second group called Green Faith
Alliance of Northwest Arkansas. This way, there would be one group,
instead of two, and we might accomplish more by working together than
we can separately.
I am currently on vacation in Georgia. Vivian Hill from St. Paul’s
will be your host for this meeting.
Please RSVP accept or regret to Vivian at as
soon as you can.
We hope that you will be able to join us for this meeting. Again, the
details are:
· Monday, August 3rd
5:30 pm
Willard J Walker Hall, Room 546, U of A Campus
Many thanks to you and thanks for your ministry for the planet that we share.
Michele Halsell

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Doug James, president of Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society and mentor of generations of biologists, on hand for Joe Neal's lecture on Birds in NW Ark

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of crowd on August 1, 2009, to hear Joe Neal discuss birds in Northwest Arkansas. Neal's recently published update of a decades-old book that he and his mentor, Dr. Douglas James of the University of Arkansas, and he compiled, met with the approbation of the record crowd in nightbird's meeting area adjacent to Chad Hammontree's bar and restaurant.

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society publishes Joe Neal's newest book and many members attend signing party

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of fans of Joe Neal at Nightbird Books on August 1, 2009.

Diverse crowd attends Joe Neal's book-signing party at Night Bird Books on August 1, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of people at Night Bird Books on August 1, 2009.

Three more photos from Nightbird on Saturday night

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos made Aug. 1, 2009, at Night Bird Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Four more photos with faces from Joe Neal's August 1, 2009, presentation at NIght Bird Books

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of people talking after Joe Neal's booksigning on August 1, 2009.