LAST DAY FOR COMMENTS - 3/20 Stop the Bentoville dam project

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greg vanhorn
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LAST DAY FOR COMMENTS - 3/20 Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:07 pm

We are planning to send the below letter (with a some possible edits) to the Mayor of Bentonville and the Bentonville City Council. To show them there is significant interest in this issue and that we are serious, we would like to include as many email addresses as possible with this letter when we send it. If you have friends who are not members but want to be included, send me their emails as well. The more the better.
If you are willing to have your email address copied on this letter, you can email it to me at gregmvanhorn@gmail.com or you can post it on this thread or you can call me.
These creeks are the places we love for recreation and rejuvenation. If we remain silent, the "great indoorsmen" will build this dam. Let's let them know that we are many, we are strong and we don't want their dam!
I'll post the number of people as we gather the addresses.

Mayor & Council,

As you may know, the Lake Bella Vista dam is classified as a "failed" dam by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, listing the cause of failure as "faulty material and hydrologic deficiencies." The dam is currently leaking from at least three places. At this time, water can be seen flowing through the earthen dam and coming out of the back of the dam. Earthen dams can become saturated causing structural deficiencies to develop which could pose a threat to the community. For this and other valuable reasons mentioned below, we believe the time is now for the City of Bentonville to begin serious deliberations about removing this dam and restoring our beautiful Ozark waterway, Little Sugar Creek.

We are a coalition of serious-minded people who are concerned about the rapid disappearance of many Ozark streams that have been the source of pleasure and sustenance for us all. We would like to state here that we intend to work for the preservation of this natural resource which is an important part of our Ozark natural history and our largest watershed in this part of Benton County.

We believe the City's current plan of continuing to wait for FEMA to fund the re-construction of an unnecessary six hundred foot long dam across a valley which is not more than thirteen hundred feet wide is risky, fosters unreasonable development and will only cause further damage to our watershed. Upon your reply, we will forward your response to our supporters and work tirelessly to save our creek.

The removal of the Lake Bella Vista dam and the restoration of Little Sugar Creek offer an opportunity for a convenient recreational resource for those that enjoy water recreation such as; canoeing, kayaking, float-fishing, swimming or just relaxing by a flowing stream. Today, canoeing and kayaking are among the fastest growing recreational activities in America. In addition to the benefits associated with restoring our natural Ozark waterway, river restoration offers great economic potential as well. We believe that once Little Sugar Creek is allowed to flow freely, the creek and park will become a destination and people will seek out this living, moving waterway.

The creation of a reservoir with warm, silted waters will preclude water activities. As such, Bentonville ordinance currently prohibits swimming in Lake Bella Vista and most would agree that such recreation would be ill-advised and unhealthy. There are many reservoirs in Northwest Arkansas, but there are few flowing waterways remaining which have not been dammed. We believe that re-damming Little Sugar Creek will eliminate most recreational activities, except for perhaps paddle boating fans for whom too much has already been done.

We do not wish to promote useless arguments, but will wish to present valid and sensible reasons for the objectives we have in mind, and if what we have to say may be contrary to what you may propose, we do not mean it disrespectfully. We, in turn, ask you give us your respect and consideration for this proposal. We understand that there are differing points of view on this issue, which is all the more reason to give our democratic process an opportunity to work.

For the natural alternative to dam construction,
Greg Van Horn
Cc: Dr. Van Brahana, Dr. Arthur Brown, Debbie Doss and so many other caring souls.




"To drown a river beneath its own impounded water, by damming, is to kill what it was and to settle for something else. When the damming happens without good reason . . . then it's a tragedy of diminishment for the whole planet, a loss of one more wild thing, leaving Earth just a little flatter and tamer and simpler and uglier than before." — David Quammen, The Gift of Rivers: True Stories of Life on the Water

There's a river somewhere that flows through the lives of everyone. — Roberta Flack
Last edited by greg vanhorn on Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:07 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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kru1
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by kru1 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:54 pm

You can attach my e-mail,

kru1@usa.com

Need to fix a typo in the first sentence, third paragraph "to wait for FEMA to funds,"

kru
I say, and I intend it emphatically, let the river be.
Thomas Hart Benton, on the Buffalo River

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Smo_Off
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Smo_Off » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:06 pm

Cory Tracy
Registered Benton County Voter
CoryTracy@Hantover.com
My Favorite River is the one that I'm paddling.

Cory

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:14 pm

Thank you Kristian and Cory. I'll fix the typo and I noticed a few punctuation edits. And, if there is anything else that anyone feels should be in this letter, please post to this thread.

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:59 pm

Also, please know that the City of Bentonville wants to pay for their dam re-construction project with the majority of the funds coming from FEMA and the State of Arkansas (ADEM). At the City's last budget meeting the City reported to having about 9 million dollars in their coffers, but they don't want to use their own money, because residents would not prioritize a dam project ahead of roads, bridges, schools and emergency services. So, they want to spend your tax dollars. Therefore, this is not just an issue for City of Bentonville residents. It's an issue for anyone that pays federal or state taxes.

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:33 pm

I am glad to report that I just received an email from Professor Emeritus, Van Brahana! He wants his name added to the email listing! We are already up to 45 people who are courageous citizens willing to add their name to this letter.

"My concern about this dam is that I believe it is located relatively near the Bella Vista fault, which has created subsurface pathways for aggressive groundwater to dissolve and karstify the units of the St. Joe Formation. This makes leakage more likely. My schedule hopefully will open in early February, and I would like to look at the site if you have some time available. Please keep me updated."

Van Brahana, Professor Emeritus
Department of Geosciences
20 Ozark Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

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DeBo
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by DeBo » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:34 pm

Greg already has my email and I encourage everybody to sign on. Old useless dams are being removed all over the country. This one's time has come. We are hoping to have a new Water Trail on this stream soon and I hope that all club members will support seeing this creek run free.
“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Albert Pine

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:58 am

Dr. Art Brown said:

To Greg Van Horn,

I support your efforts to influence the Mayor and City Council of Bentonville to initiate restoration of Little Sugar Creek and its riparian landscape by favoring the removal of the dam that forms Lake Bella Vista. This would be an excellent move by them to support ecological sustainability and serve as example for others in North West Arkansas to be sensitive to our environmental needs. As a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas specializing in stream ecology the last 40 years I have studied the natural structure and related functioning of Ozark and other streams and rivers. My students and I have also studied the impacts of various human insults to these systems. Rivers are obviously a continuum with the ecological conditions at any point along them heavily influenced by the conditions upstream. For this reason alone, ignoring the other important issues, protection of our headwater streams like Little Sugar Creek is important. The poor water quality caused by damming of streams cascades downstream and upstream for great distances. Some degradation of streams as a result of increased population density is unavoidable. When there is an opportunity to restore and protect a stream from unnecessary anthropogenic disturbance, that opportunity should be embraced by all. I cannot speak for the University community, but as a stream ecologist I certainly support the removal of this dam instead of its replacement.

Dr. Arthur V. Brown, Professor
Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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tomOzarkVideo
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by tomOzarkVideo » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:09 am

Imagine the possibilities for this area. Instead of a swampy field, smelly lake, the occasional flooding of highway 71b and the Razorback Greenway, we could have a flowing stream with small beaches for children to swim, a community garden, farmer's market, playgrounds, etc.

This will certainly require time for the riparian zone to repair before solid amenities to take place. First, a series of rain gardens to beautify the landscape and make way for a place that BV, Bentonville, the POA and the PEOPLE can be proud of.

Doesn't that sound like a more fitting tribute to the memorialized troops than a stagnant, underutilized reservoir?
"My favorite rapid was Boogie Water" - kru

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Canoe_Codger
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Canoe_Codger » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:03 pm

tomOzarkVideo wrote:Imagine the possibilities for this area. Instead of a swampy field, smelly lake, the occasional flooding of highway 71b and the Razorback Greenway, we could have a flowing stream with small beaches for children to swim, a community garden, farmer's market, playgrounds, etc.

This will certainly require time for the riparian zone to repair before solid amenities to take place. First, a series of rain gardens to beautify the landscape and make way for a place that BV, Bentonville, the POA and the PEOPLE can be proud of.

Doesn't that sound like a more fitting tribute to the memorialized troops than a stagnant, underutilized reservoir?
I agree 100% and my email has been sent to Greg for inclusion as well. Stream restoration is a worthwhile project in this instance and is the best solution to a festering problem, a stagnant pond so unhealthful that swimming is forbidden by ordinance.

Michael

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:22 pm

Lake Bella Vista's failed dam.JPG
Algae infestation on Lake Bella Vista reservoir in Bentonville. Failed dam in background.
Given the choice between clean water and polluted water, I'm sure everyone in the Arkansas Canoe Club would prefer clean water. In the 21st century, most people (excluding the mayor of Bentonville) are beginning to understand that dams are a major cause of pollution to our rivers.

Dams disrupt flows, degrade water quality, block the movement of a river's vital nutrients and sediment, destroy fish and wildlife habitat and eliminate recreational opportunities. Reservoirs slow and broaden rivers, making them warmer, reducing water quality, and harboring destructive non-native species. The environmental impact of a dam and reservoir may run the entire length of a river, as Dr. Brown's letter above indicates.

So, when a City owns an aging and crumbling dam, deciding to rebuild it should factor in the water quality metric. Removing dams has proven to be an effective way to restore entire watershed ecosystems, revive wild and sustainable fisheries and wetlands, improve water quality, and improve recreational activities, like canoeing, swimming and fishing!

To participate in this email to the City of Bentonville to let them know that we want clean healthy water, please provide your email. We need lots of people for this effort to get their attention and get the City to start a dialogue on restoring our creek.

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Schildwache
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Schildwache » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:37 pm

When we floated the stream a while back I was struck at how isolated parts of it seemed right in the middle of Bella Vista. Nature was abundant with the appearance of a beaver and a heron. If and when the dam is removed nature will find a way to restore the section upstream of the dam and allow for extended easy floats for beginners. As I-49 is completed there will be less large truck traffic close by with the associated noise to contend with, also.
"...play skilfully, and shout for joy." (Psalm 33:3 NIV)
"I hope I die before I become incurious or hostile to new delights" - Philip Martin

Charles1967
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Charles1967 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:57 pm

ccoletexas@gmail.com

Email me know if any type of tour of this dam/creek is planned in the near future. I wouldn't mind becoming more educated about it.
Siloam Springs resident a few miles from the Ford. ccoletexas@gmail.com - Charles

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:58 pm

I just received the concept design that shows what the park could look like with a free-flowing creek! The landscape architect did a great job on this design. It's too big of a file to upload, but if anyone would like to see it, let me know and I'll email it to you.
"Free the rivers" -- J. Muir

arkansas-santa1
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by arkansas-santa1 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:09 am

Please count Janelle and I in:
rollers.mountain@gmail.com

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