Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on October 14, 1974 · Page 5
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October 14, 1974

Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 5

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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Monday, October 14, 1974
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Page 5
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Banks Of Creek Laden Wiih Litter Northwest Arkanut TIMES, Monday, Od, 14, 1974 rAYETTlVILLI, ARKANSA* . (TIMESpholo by Tony Smith) A PUBLIC NUISANCE? ... scraps of lumber, chunks 0} sheet rock, and cardboard boxes tumble doum.ihe banks of Scull Creek as it winds its way past a building supply company about WO yards south of North Street : ECO-LOGUE 1 By PEGGY FRIZZELL TIMES Staff Writer The time has come to sort through the scraps of newsprint, fading press releases and dog-eared magazines on my desk so that space can be made for the new accumulation. But re-reading the notes scrawled on the backs of envelopes often arouses indignation for a second time. So better to clear away the clutter and make room' for new reasons to be concerned. Southwestern Electric Power Company along with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Corporation had their hearing before the state Public Service Commission a few weeks ago. A decision on whether to grant the duo certificates of environmental compatibility and public need is in the offing. But, meanwhile, testimony at the hearing pointed out that the proposed coal-fired generating plant's emissions would not meet state air quality standards. Now the push is on to get the air standards reduced. That's right. If you can't win the game according to the rules, then change the rules. ., Apparently a legislative interim committee is also going to question the rules at its next meeting, Oct. 24. The health, welfare and labor committee, headed by Sen. Knox Nelson from Jefferson County, will hear Comments from legislators and interested citizens on whether environmental standards and pollution prohibitions should be legislated rather than decided by the state's pollution control and ecology department. It seems some representatives (including Rep. Boyce Alford of Pine Bluff) are concerned that Arkansas' environmental quality laws are too stringent. Apparently the strictness of the laws here is measured according to the same, type of laws in neighboring states. The claim is that Arkansas' laws are harsher than adjoining states' laws. This kind of attitude seems to eliminate the possibility that Arkansans might look to themselves with pride at having the foresight necessary to prevent their state from going the way of crowded, polluted, unplanned megalopolises. Landmark Decision .. At least U.S.'District Court Judge Luther Bohanon of Oklahoma is not measuring his rulings according to everyone else's. His recent ruling concerning the 7,000 acre Flint Ridge housing development along the Illinois River is being hailed as a landmark decision. Bohanon heard the case in which the Illinois River Conservation Council and the Scenic Rivers Association of Oklahoma filed suit against the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plaintiffs charged that HUD violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving the interstate sales of property for the Flint Ridge development without first preparing and filing an environmental impact statement. . · · No research had been done to project what effects 3,000 homesites on the edge of'the Illinois would have on the river itself. Proposed plans called for a septic tank for each site and 95 miles of mostly-dirt roads. The plaintiffs maintained that HUD's approval of the interstate property sales was a major federal action W.ith significant effect on the physical environment and so should include an environmental impact statement, according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In a decision that tests the outer limits of NEPA, Judge Bohanon ordered all interstate property sales to cease until an. environmental impact statement has been prepared and filed with the court. Attorneys representing HUD and the land developer have appealed the ruling, arguing that the government has no jurisdiction in the sales matter because no public lands are Involved in the development and because the state of Oklahoma does not require environmental impact statements. In handing down his ruling, Judge Bohanon called the river "the apple of the eye of the people of Oklahoma," and said the court had to protect the river's aesthetic, recreational and human value for future generations. He also pointed out that the Flint Ridge project itself could only be successful if the river basin is protected. Limited Resources Persons who wave the Bill of Rights and cry for their rights to do with the land as they please should take note. This is 1974, not 1800. And being 1974, resources are limited and the lesson has been learned--the hard way--that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Land is not a commodity that can be bought, sold, passed around, and traded as if it were a tube of toothpaste. Nor is the air we breathe free. The land and air and waters around us are common property, a physical environment that touches all living creatures. To argue that an acreage can be the personal possession of a single individual, that the soil, trees, streams and wildlife can be owned, is absurd. If SWEPCO billows sulphur-dioxide-laden smoke into the air from a power plant on its "own" property, everyone inhales the harmful substance. If Flint Ridge developers put 3,000 vacation homes on the Illinois, everyone suffers if the river's quality is degraded by leakage from septic tanks. Perhaps the answer to those who label any type of land-use planning a "communist plot," is to underwrite an industry that would produce plastic boxes in assorted shapes and sizes. Each, property owner could first encase his land in a box of proper height and width and then proceed to do whatever he pleases with his land. One box per customer. But with some of the things I'm hearing these days, I think a can of black paint would have to be included with the purchase of each box in order to block out the visual devastation of nearby boxes. Flood Plains For Flooding recognition that flood for flooding Is the toward gaining a The plains are first step healthy respect for a river, fisheries biologist Jim Smith said at the annual meeting of the Ozark Society held this month in Russellville. In discussing "a river and its floodplain," Smith emphasized the importance of flocdplain management. Employed by the O k l a h o m a Department o f Wildlife ~ outlined Conservation, Smith the kinds of development that should and should not je permitted on floodplains (the relatively flat lands subject to flooding on either side of a river.) Nearby metropolitan areas, river channelization projects, pollution of the waterways and developments on the river's edge all pressure the river, Smith said. The developments on the river's floodplains will be flooded in time, he said, and then the usual solution is to set up a flood control project. In a development, asphalt re- . EDITOR'S NOTE: Op«n dumping on private property not illegal as long as It. does not create a public nuisance, according to a spokesman (rom the state d e p a r t m e n t of pollution control and ecology. The property referred; (o In this story '' privately owned and borders Scull Creek. While property lines extend to the middle of a stream, the stream itself Is p u b l i c property, the spokesman said. As a result of this story, the Prairie Grove office of the state department will visit these sites to see what can be done. II the refuse Is determined lo be polluting the stream, the dumping will have to cease or a formal complaint will be filed. By TONY SMITH Of The TIMES Staff For a number of years now have been an ardent admirer of the beauty .of Fayetteville and an incurable shutterbug One day recently I set out tc explore Scull Creek. T h i s , bought, would provide pleasant afternoon and possibly he chance of some pleasinj shots. Starting at the point when Scull Creek crosses Poplar 01 ,he north, side of town, I walkei southward and upstream. From .tie beginning I was disap pointed: Except for a fe\ scattered pla'ces along , t h stream I - found . litter every where. Beer and soft drin cans, candy wrappers an assorted refuse marred wha could have been beautifu peaceful scenes. In the water algae grew on many of th rocks. There seemed to be ver little life except for an oc casional school of minnows i small pools here and there. BANKS LITTERED Within a block or so of Nort Street I came to a place wher the ^creek passes through', th storage yard of a' 'cdncrel products firm; For about ' yards or so on either side c the stream the steep banks ha been made the receptacle broken and damaged concrel places the natural vegetation that helps soak up the rain water before it reaches the river. So the urban runoff into the river results in a higher stream l e v e l and eventual flooding where there never had been any, he said. RUNOFF INCREASED T h e n t h e channelization program is, looked to as the answer, he continued. But streams that are channeled often turn into runoff basins with .little aquatic life. The channelization itself speeds up the runoff process. Levees on one side of the river mean that land on the other side of the river is flooded even more. Smith- also noted that the floodplains of the lower r i v e r sections are rich in n u t r i e n t s from' occasional flooding and well-suited for agricultural purposes. Commercial development on the river floodplains is a controversial question, he admitted. But to be regulated. "How much development can there be? How far can we go in the elimination of natural vegetation and habitat?" he asked. Gravel operations have been regulated very little in the past, Smith said. But their effect on the river needs to be measured especially since the dust from such operations coats fish eggs and kills them. Overgrazing of floodplain t a k e s away the natural v e g e t a t i o n a n d promotes erosion of the soil. Road building is not only often detrimental to the scenic beauty but contributes a tremendous runoff into the stream. C l e a r - c u t t i n g i n a haphazardous way on steep slopes also allows erosion, he said. Instead of uncontrolled development of floodplains, Smith urged that the land be used for purposes compatible with occasional flooding. Zone the floodplains (within the area affected by a 100 year flood) for certain uses only, he said. Such uses might include agriculture, open space, recreation, and storage. The land adjoining these should also be used in accordance with its being floodway fringe area, he added. WRONG APPROACH When developments on the river's edge are flooded, the common solution of chan- nelizing or damming the streams is proposed. This is the wrong approach, Smith contended. "We need to live in harmony with the flooding. Flooding is a natural phenomenon and flood damage is caused not by acts of God but by acts of man," he spoke out, referring to man's development in flood-prone areas. The Corps of Engineers spends money to protect* investments on floodplains that shouldn't have been built there in the first place, he said. Dam building often gives a false sense of security to people who live downstream in that they feel free to build on floodplains. But sometimes these areas too flood, Smith said. Flood losses, (personal and monetary), money spent for flood control, environmental damage caused by flood control and the flooding and the psychological damage caused to people who have been flooded out of their homes are all the| costs of not letting liven flood. blocks. They lined and eovere both sides of the bank, ofte spilling into the water. Exact tiy they had not been disposed in a more suitable manner at present, unknown to me. owever, there they are. urlhermore, I could see no idicalion that any attempt had /er been made lo remove icm. Continuing down the creek. I iscovered another man - made onder. This one, happily, is o longer in use. It was a place here concrete trucks formerly /ere washed out or emptied of xccss. The water and concrete ad been allowed to flow down IB bank, forming a broad sheet o the water. There the concrete ad settled a little at a time o the bottom. Finally, this had ormcd a small dam, the water lowing over the top. DAMAGE DONE Weeds were growing through gaps in the concrete and there vas algae under the water on he dam. While this was an mprovement in that the prac- ice had obviously been discon- inued, the damage had already een done. After detouring in search of a path, I returned to the stream at the North Street Bridge. I made my way down the bank only once more to find a disappointing sight. A lumber c o m p a n y whose property aorders on Scull Creek h a d made a private dump of its eastern bank. There was everything from scrap lumber to pieces of sneetrock, as well as brickbats, chunks of concrete, tarpaper. and old card- aoard boxes. A little of almost every conceivable type of trash c; was there, heaped about with careless disregard. THOUGHTLESS DUMPING Such thoughtless dumping seemed'to me a terrible example to set for the next generation for whom the preservation of our environment will be of much more mediate importance. Further south the course of the stream turned a n d ran andcr a railroad trestle. From fhe ford a little further on through the park, and to where it flowed out from a culvert b e n e a t h Hwy. 71, Scul Creek seemed much mor nearly normal. The water flowed over clean stones with no algae and the banks were better kept. Hopefully, further upstream-this still holds true. - (TIMESpholo by Tony Smith) IS THIS LEGAL? ... broken concrete blocks bedeck the banksides of Scull Creek as it flows past the concrete company, about 300 yards north of North Street \' Graduate Student Laments Green Space Destruction By DON JACKSON it didn't take two years worth . ,. . . Ac one time me campus 01 lie University of Arkansas was voted the most beautiful Today we find that t h o s e qualities which contributed to ^his decision are slowly being engulfed and destroyed. In place of spacious lawn we find plans for a -huge concrete slab between the New Arkansas U n i o n a n d the Library. However, to not a few students even that, properly landscaped, would ue better than the mud field which has posed a physical barrier lo students for the last couple of years. I could nearly count on one hand the number of actual days needed to take a bulldozer and a dump truck and create an area such as this. Until last summer the area appeared as a bailie ground with huge heaps of earth. It took only a couple of days lo smooth the scars. I personally saw only one bulldozer working. Surely of planning to get one bulldozer o work a couple of days. Now we are faced with losing one of the most scenic areas on campus. .The area I'm :alking about lies between the Fine Arts Building, the Library and the' Chemistry building. This area is one of shade trees and grass which has long imparted a feeling of tranquility to students as they .walk through it on their way lo class. Bread sidewalks have been provided lo minimize the necessity of walking on the grass. Benches are present where students may rest and collect their thoughts. The plans are to rip up the area and construct a Fine Arts Annex. Granted, more space is needed for the Fine Arts Department, but it seems strange to me that people who are. supposedly .concerned with the aeslhetic aspects of l i f e could be so selfish as lo desire he destruction of so beautiful a spot. Are there not altcr'na- ives to this construction site? According to the president; of IK? Associated Student Government here on campus there are. In my interview with several of the fine arts students who questioned posters placed in the area a couple of weeks ago. ^ found, that most felt that U would be too great an inconvenience, to walk to a peripheral area on campus. We all would like to have everything within arms' grasp but in the face of the des truction of our campus' scenic areas, I think we can al sacrifice a little. Crack A Few First Before you spend a lot of tim picking up hickory nuls unde any particular tree, crack a fev mils first. If three out of fou are rotten, move on to anothe tree and Iry again. In these doys^of shortages dorit let money become one of them Nowadays, there seems to be a new shortage of something almost every day. li you're not prepared, one of these days, you might come up with a money shortage at a time when you need to buy a new car or start your children in college. Fayetteviile Savings Loan offers a variety of savings plans, from our 5 1 /4% Regular Passbook Accounts to our Certificates of Deposit paying up to ~IV interest So, before you find your own money crisis, stop by FayettevHte Savings Loan and find out about our shortage-stopping savings plan. FAYETTEVILLE SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION 201 NORTH EAST AVENUE. ' · · ' · · · FAYETTEVILLS

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