Fall General Meeting, 9 AM, at Lake Nixon, October 3, 2020
We currently plan a one-day meeting with board meeting in the morning and general meeting with election of officers in the afternoon, followed by a Compton Award recognition of Dana and Bill Steward.
Lake Nixon is a church camp a few miles west of Little Rock with canoeing/kayaking on their private lake, hiking on site, and plenty of covered outdoor meeting space to accommodate social distancing.
If you have an interest or know of a person who might be willing to serve on the OS board please contact one of the nominating committee members: Luke Parsch, Lowell Collins, or Alice Andrews.
In their haste to reject the temporary moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s in the Buffalo River Watershed, the Arkansas Legislative Council also rejected changes to regulation 6, which puts Arkansas in the potential awkward position of Federal regulations usurping state implementation for some aspects of the clean water act. There has been no public response from DEQ about a resolution of these issues but the deadline for action on the moratorium is September 19, 2020.
Robert’s Gap Project
The Forest Service has a new plan out for public comment on the Robert’s Gap Project. It is a 39,697 acre area of the National Forest System in the northwest corner of the Big Piney Ranger District in Newton and Madison Counties. Excluding inholdings, it contains most of the 40,480 acres of the upper Buffalo headwaters above Boxley, including all of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness (~14,000 acres). It is the essence of the Buffalo River.
The controversial aspects of the proposed forest management plan, none of which will be used in the wilderness area, are: controlled burns, herbicide use, expanded trail bike trails in the headwaters, and improved access to Hawks Bill Crag via Cave Mt. Road. It seems inevitable that outside the wilderness area, some level of controlled burns and herbicide or manual control will be used to protect private land and to improve forest balance.
The expansion of bike trails is relatively modest and can possibly be controlled for minimal impact. The bike trails are shared with hiking. My experience is that they are well planned and maintained, a possible asset for OS hikers. The deadline for comment is September 8, 2020. Send emails to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four environmental stakeholders – Ross Noland, Teresa Turk, Jessie Green, and Colene Gaston – worked doggedly to improve working rules for the DEQ study of the Antidegradation Implementation Method (AIM) and Continuing Planning Process (CPP). The top issue for the OS was the implementation of numerical limits for nutrients in streams – Phosphorus and Nitrogen.
There has been no progress on this or other key issues. The comment deadline was recently extended to 4:30 on October 2.
Legacy Giving Proposal
A subset of the OS and OSF boards, under the leadership of Rex Robbins, has been discussing the possibility of developing a long-term giving program that would facilitate the inclusion of the OS/OSF in estate planning under the professional guidance of agencies like the Arkansas Community Foundation.