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10 12, 2018

Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee (BBRAC) Meeting (11/13/18)

By | 2018-12-10T15:10:41+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

At a recent BBRAC meeting in Little Rock, several agencies reported some action. The Health Department reported on a small survey of septic systems in Newton County, and the Geology Department has stunning new relief maps of the watershed. But the most important meeting announcements were by Mark Faust, the new Superintendent of the Buffalo National River, and Billy Justus of the Little Rock office of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Faust announced a “Buffalo River Science Symposium” scheduled for April 23-24 at the Durand Center in Harrison. The idea is to present as much science pertaining to the Buffalo River watershed as possible. This could be an opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers and regulators like the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Big Creek Research Extension Team and the many citizen advocacy groups like the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Ozark Society, etc. Justus made a presentation about microbial source testing on Mill Creek, which is notorious for years of pollution from non-functioning sewage treatment at Dog Patch, and also from cattle farms in the Crooked Creek drainage, which none-the-less contributes to Mill Creek because of karst. They are differentiating between poultry, humans and cattle, but not hogs [...]

10 12, 2018

The OS Young Naturalists

By | 2018-12-10T15:19:52+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

What a beautiful sight!  It’s certainly uplifting to see children and parents’ hike in our local parks while observing butterflies, identifying native trees, listening to birdcalls and discovering animal tracks.  Ozark Society Young Naturalists began sessions this fall for children ages seven to nine. This new initiative for the Highlands and Sugar Creek Chapters of the Ozark Society presents outdoor learning opportunities in the fall and spring. Each Sunday afternoon focuses on a different topic. Geology, botany, entomology, reptile studies and bird appreciation are topics for our Sunday outings. Hiking while discovering birds and bugs, rocks and flowers seems like a great way for families with young children to spend Sunday afternoons! We generally have between 11 or 12 students along with their parents or grandparents.   They include students from at least 4 elementary schools.  This fall we partnered with the Audubon Society, Master Naturalists, Prism Elementary, and the University of Arkansas Entomology Department.  The program greatly benefited from critical input, program presentation and support provided by other organizations. What’s going on now?  We’re planning our spring sessions. Presently, a geology unit is in the works and the Master Naturalists will be presenting an insect program.  We are also considering a session [...]

10 12, 2018

Beers/Brews: Save the Buffalo

By | 2018-12-10T15:07:22+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

As November turned cold in northwest Arkansas, a warm reception and great brews awaited friends of the Buffalo River at two coordinated events in our area.  Organized by Buffalo River, Highlands and Sugar Creek Chapters “Beers for the Buffalo” on November 8 at Fossil Cove Brewery in Fayetteville raised $1200 for our legal fund while stirring interest and concern for our own Buffalo River.  A week later (11/15) in Bentonville “Brews for the Buffalo” at Airship Coffee brought in another $1000 for our legal fund.  But we raised more than monetary support for the Buffalo, as the business community joined the Ozark Society to raise awareness of the dangers of Hog Farming near the Buffalo River. Both events followed a similar agenda.  Drew Lee, a history student at the University of Arkansas, presented a PowerPoint on the history of the battle for the Buffalo.  He then highlighted current concerns for the pollution caused by the C & H Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).  Finally, he focused on the positive actions we need to take in order to keep the Buffalo River safe and clean.   At the Fayetteville benefit, Teresa Turk presented a video of the hazards of algae growth, while in Bentonville [...]

10 12, 2018

Free-flowing Rivers Versus Dams

By | 2018-12-10T15:07:32+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

Many of us think of rivers and streams as fixed geographic features.  In fact, stream channels and the ecosystems that go with them are dynamic parts of our landscape that depend on a delicate equilibrium of natural forces.  Streams are characterized by a channel and surrounding alluvial flood plain that represent the geomorphic process of erosion and sediment transport. This channel structure results from an ongoing state of adjustment where local reaches of the stream are intimately interconnected with each other. A local change to the stream as seemingly inconsequential as occasional access for off road vehicles can affect the stream over large distances both up and down stream.  And it’s not just the structure of the stream itself.  The surrounding ecosystem depends upon the processes that create the stream environment.  Trees such as sycamore, box elder, and sweetgum are adapted to use exposed gravel bars as seedbeds.  Some of our favorite wildflowers require the rich soil of regularly refreshed alluvial soils that result from infrequent overflows during flood events. Dams, of course, represent an extreme alteration of the stream environment with especially severe consequences for the entire river corridor.  The body of stagnant water held by the dam causes the [...]

10 12, 2018

High-Pointing the States: Part Four – The Southeast Corner

By | 2018-12-12T11:20:40+00:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

This is the fourth in a series of my adventure to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points as I can. This time it's the southeast corner of the US: Florida, Alabama and Georgia. I did this trip a few days before my 40th High School reunion in Franklin, Tennessee, in October of 2014. Florida At only 345 feet, Britton Hill, Florida is the lowest high point in the country. The hill is located just off US Hwy. 331 near Florala, Alabama. It also tops the highest point in the peninsula, Sugar Loaf, by 33 feet. I started my trip early on October 22nd, hoping to get from Little Rock to the high point before dark. I went down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and then went east toward Montgomery and then south on Hwy. 331. I took this route to see this area for the first time. I reached Florala just before dusk. Florala is a resort and retirement area about 90 minutes north of Panama City, that has a small lake and an Alabama State Park. I took a city street east out of town to a county road that would take me the 5 miles or so [...]

12 01, 2018

Hog Farm Permit Update

By | 2018-08-28T15:27:19+00:00 January 12th, 2018|Categories: News & Updates|Tags: |

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 [...]