Friday, March 22, 2013

Neal's 'inner Buffalo' says 'stop the hogfarm'

  • inner Buffalo‏

joe neal (
9:52 AM
Cc: Douglas Arthur James
Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission is meeting this morning in Little Rock. I prepared a written statement for the meeting. Barry Haas, who is treasurer for Arkansas Audubon Society Trust and AAS Halberg Ecology Camp, is attending. He and others associated with Audubon groups will speak during public comments about the hog factory within the watershed of the Buffalo National River.

Several folks have asked me, What can I do? I say, look to your inner Buffalo.
I have not gone off into Woo-Woo. Not New Age; rather, old age and experience. I have been visiting and studying the Buffalo for 40 years. I have as much skin in the game as folks wanting to build a massive hog factory in the watershed. It is “our” business, too. 

Arkansas Audubon Society is a private organization founded in 1955, with members from throughout the state. Its purposes include education and conservation of the state's natural resources, including those in the watershed of the Buffalo National River. 

AAS was directly involved in the earliest efforts to establish the Buffalo as a national park. It was the very first citizen's organization with a statewide membership to oppose dams on the Buffalo. That's a lot of skin in the game.

Through its research-oriented Trust, AAS has long provided funds to support bird research on the Buffalo and elsewhere. This includes bird projects with good science helping us understand the river and our environment in general.

The most recent was a PhD by Leesia Marshall (2012): "Territories, territoriality, and conservation of Louisiana Waterthrush and its habitat, the watershed of the Upper Buffalo National River." As water in the Buffalo watershed became more polluted, waterthrushes had lower nesting success. It has to do with the impact of pollution on aquatic insect communities. It is reasonable to infer negative impacts for other native avian insectivores, including other declining Neotropical migratory songbirds.

Two of the longest running US Fish and Wildlife Service Breeding Bird Surveys, run by volunteers, usually Auduboners, include Compton, in northwestern Newton County and Lurton, in southeastern Newton County, including Mt Judea, where the hog factory is located. I have run Compton for two decades. Compared to other Arkansas surveys, these have the highest diversity of breeding birds in Arkansas.

Numerous, well-documented, negative pollution impacts to groundwater and streams have occurred with comparable hog factories in other states. How can we ignore this experience? We are alarmed to learn that at the same time the hog factory was cleared for a Federal loan, a bill was moving in the Arkansas House (HB 1929) that would lower water standards statewide.

Maybe wastes will be contained properly, or maybe they won't. Buffalo watershed is no place to experiment.

Inner Buffalo – it is different for us all.This is how it looks to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment