From President David Peterson: The Ozark Society wants everyone to stay strong and healthy and we recommend people follow all State and Federal guidelines for limiting contact at this time. Most of our group activities are being postponed for now but it is still okay for each of us to walk outdoors. In fact it is a great way to get exercise and boost your mood and maybe your immune system!
We want to thank Loring Bullard and Dan Chiles for all their efforts to revive the Schoolcraft Chapter of Springfield MO. It now has 23 members and counting. In honor of their work, Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair, has a story about Henry Schoolcraft, their namesake. Fred’s Story: The legacy of one of the earliest Ozark explorers is chronicled by a modern annotated edition of Henry Schoolcraft’s winter trip across the broad divide between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers in: Rude Pursuits and Rugged Peaks – Schoolcraft’s Ozark Journal 1818-1819, Henry R. Schoolcraft and Milton D. Rafferty, 1996, 170 p. The book contains the original journal with annotations and maps, plus a biographical sketch of Schoolcraft and his career. The journey takes about three months and was made in early winter (November through January). The route is over the headwater tributaries of the Meramec River, across the headwaters of the Current River to follow down the North Fork of the White River. Then, down the White to the Black River, going up to cross over into the St. Francis River on the way back to the Meramec drainage. Rather mild weather at the beginning and streamflow so reduced that a [...]
We are pleased to announce that the Schoolcraft Chapter in the Springfield Missouri area is renewing its mission and will be meeting soon. Here is an article by Andy Ostmeyer from the Joplin Globe on the details: Andy Ostmeyer: Battles with CAFOs spark new interest in Ozark Society Battles with CAFOs spark new interest in Ozark Society A fight over a large hog farm on a tributary of the Buffalo River in Arkansas has become a catalyst for a new round of conservation action, including in the Ozark Society. Sixty years ago, efforts to protect the Buffalo River in Arkansas launched the Ozark Society, which led the fight to save the river. A more recent fight to protect the river has sparked new interest in the Ozark Society. A dormant chapter of the Ozark Society in southern Missouri is being revived. It’s a good sign for Ozark rivers and our public lands. This timing is no coincidence, either, but the latest proof of a pattern that repeats throughout the Ozarks as surely as our rhythm of hill and hollow. I’ve seen it happen time and again: Residents, busy with their lives and trusting politicians and regulators to protect their water, air, [...]
Ozark Forest Forensics: The Science Behind the Scenery in Our Regional Forests By Frederick Paillet and Steven Stephenson This book interprets our natural surroundings in a way that enhances a simple walk in the scenic deciduous woodlands of the Ozark Mountain region. Explanations go beyond trees and their habitat to include other diverse subjects: the leaf litter beneath a hiker’s feet, strategies used by wildflowers for pollination and seed dispersal, diseases that can ravage our forests, and forces active in the landscape that impact conservation efforts. Simplified line drawings demonstrate specific points of interest in a way that visually cluttered photographs cannot do. Includes: 163 line drawings, a list of species used in the text, a glossary, and a reading list. $24.95 Order it now using our Book Order Form or by contacting Emily Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the statement of the BNR proposal for use of the Tyler Bend trails to mountain biking. There is an open comment period until November 6th and you can comment at this site: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=119&projectID=61303&documentID=91222 Tyler Bend Trails Plan / EA Buffalo National River » Tyler Bend Trails Plan / EA » Document List Buffalo National River proposes to make improvements to the trail system at Tyler Bend, to allow more and different types of use. This would include improving the accessibility of some trails, and opening others to mountain biking. The purposes of modifying trails at Tyler Bend is to enhance trail sustainability; expand recreational opportunities for visitors in the park; increase visitor use of the established trail system and campgrounds; and to promote the health and well-being of visitors to Buffalo National River. The park has received multiple requests to include cycling opportunities as a new form of recreation at Buffalo National River. In response to these requests, the park is evaluating the feasibility of converting some hiking trails within the Tyler Bend area (outside of the designated wilderness) to include the use of bicycles. In addition to this planning document, a special rule would be required to allow [...]
Jack Boles, President of the Newton County Farm Bureau, has questioned a column by Mike Masterson which quotes from the Big Creek Research and Extension Team’s (BCRET) recent report of monitoring of the C&H Hog Farm in the Buffalo National River watershed. See, “Argument Flawed” 8-30-18. Since the Arkansas Farm Bureau is funding C&H’s legal fight to keep its operation alive, one can hardly expect objectivity from Mr. Boles. But in this case, Mr. Boles is proving a larger point. It is undisputed that excess nutrients in the Buffalo River create algae blooms which in turn cause water quality degradation. Farming activities (hogs, chicken and cattle), the attendant conversion of forest to pasture and the resulting animal wastes are the primary cause of the decline in water quality in the Buffalo River. Mr. Boles and his organization appear to be just fine with this. But let’s look more closely at the point Mr. Boles tries to make. He claims that BCRET’s monitoring Field 5a is not receiving wastes from C&H and thus Mr. Masterson’s statement that C&H’s waste is leaving Field 5a is “cherry picking the facts.” What Mr. Boles fails to inform your readers is that the Field 5a catchment [...]
Join Us as We Celebrate Alice Andrew’s Neil Compton Award “Ozark Alice” Andrews of Little Rock is a more than 40-year member of the Ozark Society and is honored as the latest recipient of the Neil Compton Award for her tireless work in conservation. Alice has served extended terms as Ozark Society President and Conservation Chair, finding herself in the middle of many conservation battles to preserve water and air quality and wilderness areas in Arkansas. For all her work in conservation, many of us most fondly recall and deeply appreciate her leadership in helping to organize extended trips on the Buffalo River. We will celebrate Alice’s Neil Compton Award on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 80 Belle River Point, Maumelle, AR, 72113 at Janet and Alan Nye’s home on the Arkansas River. We will party from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm. Be there as President David Peterson presents the award to Alice at 5 pm. At Alice’s request, the celebration will be a fund raiser to benefit the Ozark Society’s efforts to preserve and protect the Buffalo National River. Effective now until October 20, 2018, Legal Fund donations honoring Alice Andrews and Dr. Doug James, our most recent recipients of [...]
From The Arkansas Times on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 5:45 PM: ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit Posted By Lindsey Millar The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River. This means the controversial pig farm must shut down unless the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission grants a stay. C&H can appeal ADEQ's decision to the APC&EC within 30* days. If C&H elects to do that, that review must happen "as expeditiously as possible" and a final decision must be handed down within 60 days unless all parties agree on an extension, according to APC&EC administrative rules. If the APC&EC denies the appeal, it is believed that C&H could appeal the decision to circuit court or the Arkansas Court of Appeals. C&H has been controversial since it won an ADEQ permit for its hog farm in 2012** in a process that critics complained was flawed and did not sufficiently take into [...]
Months of delay Hog Factory Permit By Mike Masterson This article is re-printed with Mike Masterson's permission from the Democrat Gazette published 10/29/17. Call me cynical, skeptical, realistic or an unapologetic voice for the welfare and preservation of the only Buffalo National River we have. Whatever else I might be, I'm not the least surprised our state's bungling Department of Environmental Quality (wheeze) has delayed for over six months (and counting) its decision on whether to permanently re-permit C&H Hog Farms, originally allowed into the river's karst-laden watershed in 2012. This factory with some 6,500 swine has operated for more than a year on an expired permit that was effective for five years until the agency began considering its application for the new one under a different regulation. The re-permitting process included 50 prescribed days of public input that drew 20,000 comments (each requiring an agency response). The agency's long delay makes no sense to me when the reason it gives is needing more time to thoroughly analyze and acknowledge those public responses and discover answers to basic questions it should have demanded before wrongheadedly permitting this factory into our state's most environmentally sensitive region. So what's the real reason behind [...]
This column appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on 3/28/17: Used with Permission: MIKE MASTERSON: 'Clearly malfeasant' Geologist speaks By Mike Masterson A former 30-year veteran of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (wheeze) has written an explosive letter claiming malfeasance and flawed findings, saying that agency inexplicably failed to consult its own geologists before issuing the original permit to C&H Hog Farms at Mount Judea. Gerald Delevan, previously a geology supervisor at the department, sent a lengthy letter (edited portions below) to Jamal Solaimanian, engineering supervisor of the agency's Water Division, which listed numerous objections to support his assertions. The review and approval of the initial application "to allow the land application and disposal of a large volume of untreated hog waste in the Big Creek watershed under a General Permit ... was at best poorly conceived and poorly executed by Water Division staff," Develan wrote. To his knowledge, he said, the initial application was never reviewed by any geologist throughout the agency before the permit was issued. Delevan said had the geologists been allowed to review the application, it's highly unlikely any of them would have signed off on the proposed permit without requesting geologic data about the locations and [...]