Roslyn Imrie, Youth Grants Chair The Ozark Society’s Youth Conservation Grant strives to empower and elevate the next generation. Twenty-one grants have been awarded since 2020 to area nonprofits and schools for various projects that involve youth under 18 years of age. The focus has been on funding projects that have real environmental impacts through conservation, education, and recreation. We believe in the power of education and recreation to shift the hearts and minds of young people. But we also value projects that take it a step beyond and encourage conservation, such as when students pick up trash, remove invasive species, or plant a garden while both learning and recreating outdoors. This past summer, The Ozark Society granted $3,000 to the Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC), a nonprofit that we have awarded funds to in the past. In 2021, we helped ONSC fund a unique trail building project. The proposed trail would be handicap accessible and allowed the center to better serve students with mobile disabilities. After receiving the report on this trail building project and seeing the impact it had on the center’s ability to serve local schools more inclusively, the grant committee considered another proposal from the [...]
By Jennifer Ailor, Climate Change Committee Chair We all suffer from climate change burnout. Thankfully, you can read some positive news in the summer 2023 issue of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Solutions newsletter. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its Good Neighbor Plan for clean air protection; it has proposed new rules for tackling transportation pollution; and the farm bill working its way through Congress includes significant climate provisions. Here’s a recap: EPA’s Good Neighbor Plan – This plan regulates nitrogen oxide pollution from power plants and other industrial sources. Under the Clean Air Act, permits are supposed to be denied in states where significant amounts of NOx drift across state lines. Twenty-three states have failed to submit acceptable plans to EPA. Now EPA is enforcing pollution cuts. The plan is expected to reduce ozone season NOx from power plants by 50% from 2021 levels within four years. Clean vehicles – Twenty-eight percent of all U.S. climate pollution comes from transportation. In the next 10 years, two-thirds of all new cars could be electric, thanks to EPA’s proposed tailpipe pollution standards. The proposals also could drive electrification of almost half of new commercial vehicles and up to a [...]
By Tom McClure, OS Conservation Co-Chair The Flatside Wilderness Additions Act, H.R. 3971, was introduced in June, 2023, by Congressman French Hill (2nd Congressional District – Arkansas). The proposal will add 2,215 acres to Flatside Wilderness. H.R. 3971 is strongly supported by the Ozark Society. Please consider helping to pass this important wilderness legislation by contacting your U.S. Representative, and also your U.S. Senators, to express support for the Flatside Wilderness Additions Act. Letters, emails, and calls at this time will let them know of your support for wilderness, and also of your support for their efforts to pass this bill. H.R. 3971 will protect important lands on the north side of the existing wilderness, expanding the total Flatside Wilderness acreage from about 10,000 acres to more than 12,000 acres. The wilderness additions in this bill will make a very good wilderness area even better. This proposal gives Flatside more width in a north/south direction, enhancing its wildness. This proposal will complete watershed protection for West Cedar Creek by adding watershed acreage that was previously not in the wilderness. The bill will also protect an additional stretch of Cedar Creek, downstream from the confluence of Crystal Prong and [...]
By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair When I was growing up on the east coast in the 1960’s, the fight to save the Buffalo was far off my radar screen. There was, however, a similar fight to preserve the wild and undeveloped status of the Allagash River in northern Maine going on at the very same time. Wilderness protagonists (most notably Justice Douglas) eventually prevailed, with the state legislature officially designating a wild river corridor in 1966. The next year, the legislature appropriated 1.5 million to implement the plan with a matching amount of federal funds soon added. The plan designated over 90 miles of wild river with only two road access points, and preservation of the “historic” Chamberlain dam in the river’s headwaters. Wild and Scenic River status was added in 1970 by the DOI. Today, there are fourteen road access points and eleven parking lots, with the waterway managed by the Maine Department of Conservation. The deteriorating dam has been replaced by a permanent concrete structure. Commercial outfitters must purchase permits from the DOC, and private parties must register to gain access. Camping is only allowed at designated prepared campsites with picnic tables, outhouses, and racks [...]
By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President For those of you who live in Arkansas, you have likely received the occasional e-mail from me asking that you comment on an ADEQ permit for the land application of industrial waste. I want to take this opportunity to provide some background. Seventeen years ago, the Oklahoma State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the NW Arkansas’ poultry industry, as chicken litter from local farms was beginning to impact the Illinois Scenic River, a beautiful stream that begins in Arkansas and flows into Oklahoma. In response, the Arkansas Legislature designated the counties along the NW Arkansas border, a Nutrient Surplus Area, the intent being to reduce phosphorus levels and improve water quality. As a result, poultry farmers began exporting their chicken litter to the north and west to be applied to row-crops where the manure is actually beneficial. In addition, the Arkansas Division of Agriculture has begun experimenting with anaerobic digesters as another means for managing litter. Finally, NW Arkansas municipal waste treatment plants have adopted some of the most stringent (and most expensive) phosphorus reduction targets in the country. These combined efforts have made a difference. The water quality in the Illinois [...]
By Tom McClure, OS Conservation Co-Chair We are fortunate and very excited to have Jim Furnish join us at the Ozark Society’s Fall meeting as our guest speaker. Jim will be speaking between 3 and 4 pm on Saturday afternoon, October 28, 2023, at Tyler Bend Campground on the Buffalo National River. Jim had a 34-year career in the U.S. Forest Service and is the author of “Toward a Natural Forest: The Forest Service in Transition (A Memoir).” He served as the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service from 1999-2002, and spent several years as the Supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon in the 1990s. Jim was an important player in the protection of old-growth forests in Oregon during the spotted owl/clearcutting debates of the 1980s and 1990s. He was also instrumental in initiating the Forest Service’s “2001 Roadless Rule”, which establishes prohibitions on road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on 58 million acres of inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System lands. The intent of the 2001 Roadless Rule is to provide lasting protection for inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System in the context of multiple use management. For all who [...]
By Stewart Noland, OS Archive Chair The Ozark Society Fall meeting will be held at Tyler Bend on the Buffalo River, October 28-29. Group campsite 2 and the pavilion have been reserved for our activities. Following is the schedule of activities. October 28th Schedule: 10am. Meet at the pavilion for a hike 10am - 1pm. Ozark Society Board meeting at the pavilion 2pm - 4pm. General membership meeting at the pavilion. Bring your camp chair. Talk by Jim Furnish. 6pm - 8pm. Potluck supper and entertainment at the pavilion. Bring a dish, beverage, and your own utensils for the potluck. Ozark Society member Dave Smith will provide the entertainment with mountain music only Dave can perform. October 29th Schedule: 9am. Meet at the pavilion for a hike or float trip (water level dependent) Group campsite 2 has been reserved for October 28 for campers. Other sites are available at Tyler Bend by reserving them through recreation.gov. Cabin rentals are available nearby through Buffalo River Outfitters, or options in Gilbert. The cost to attend the meeting is $5 per family, regardless of the number of family members.
By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President Year-end planning and giving ideas: In addition to our ongoing conservation work, The Ozark Society has enjoyed other recent notable achievements. Consider our Youth Grants program, designed to provide environmental education for the next generation. The “First River” documentary has also been a resounding success and has appeared several times on Arkansas Public Television. Our Sassafras Hiking Award is challenging Arkansans to get out and enjoy our exceptional trails. And let’s not overlook recent publications such as “Letters to Dan,” and “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas.” As these programs require funding, we hope you will consider The Ozark Society in your end of year planning. Donations to The Ozark society can be directed to any of the following spending categories: Conservation, Legal, Youth Grants, or Endowment Fund. Here is the link: www.ozarksociety.net/donations/ Or you can also add a donation while you renew your membership for 2024: www.ozarksociety.net/membership/ Below are some additional giving strategies that can save you tax dollars. Tax free giving from RMDs. If you are subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401k, any charitable contribution from those funds is not taxed as income to you. [...]