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

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cpresoz
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by cpresoz » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:45 am

Please add me to your email list: cpresoz@yahoo.com
I'm with others curious as to some of the specifics but I assume the concept plan is just that and is a first blush. A whitewater park wouldn't be viable except for those once in awhile big rain events. A trailhead would be more like it. I've paddled the Little Sugar up into Missouri and much of it is a very pleasant river that avoids the crowds you find on the Elk River that the Little Sugar heads towards.
Curtis Presley
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Fayetteville, AR

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:22 am

Paddledog,
The dam, like most, decreases downstream discharge, especially during summer months, due to evaporation. The elevation from the reservoir to the creek's confluence with the Elk River in Pineville, MO drops about 140' over the 14 mile journey. I've attached a link for more detailed information on discharge.

Please keep in mind, the concept drawing is neither an engineering study nor a feasibility study. It is simply a visual to suggest possibilities that could apply to the project. The next step would be feasibility and engineering work. Also, canoe parks come in all shapes and sizes. Some parks could be referred to a WW parks, while others might still be referred to as canoe parks and may include features that are designed for beginners who are not yet whitewater enthusiasts. Naturally, the best designs will work with Nature and not against it. The architect was careful not to say WW park on this concept design. He also drew another concept drawing that shows three drops along this reach of the creek through the park to show another idea that might be feasible or preferable.

If you support the water trail on Little Sugar Creek, restoring this waterway and removing this dam would support that project by ensuring clean water(instead of algae infested water) is flowing downstream and by providing a public and convenient park to start the float on this stream.

http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis ... 2014-12-30" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Tom on LSC.JPG
Tom "The Blade" McFetridge getting more than he expected from Little Sugar Creek

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Bowfin65 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:49 am

If I may help Greg with this explanation, the idea is that when considering restoration of stream channel upon removal of the dam, there is a siginifcant elevation change in the stream bed at the dam. It might be advantages or at least possible to install a, or a series of, control structures that maintain that elevation change even if it's just a foot or two or three, rather than slope the stream bed to match up exactly from present lakebed to stream channel downstream of dam. So those control structures could be engineered to make standing waves, holes, or whatever for an opportunity for a little play-water right where the dam sits now.
In terms of flow, the engineering would consider such and yes, at base flow, this might not be the best play-water ever. We'll have to see what the engieers can make of it. But of course at higher flows, play water will be provided for sure in this scenario. It's not going to be a "white-water park", as much as perhaps a small drop with potential park-and-play potetential, the way I see it. It will just be an attempt to take what advantage we can of the situation to provide a little whitewater while restoring the stream channel properly, which will be done using "Natural Channel Design" methods for the channel, combined with a white-water park design expert engineer to design the drop where the dam sits, again - in my opinion.
Thanks Greg for all your work and dedication to this cause.

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:36 am

Bowfin,
Welcome to the ACC! We appreciate your help! Please join us in this effort to conserve this beautiful natural resource. I've heard you are one of the best bowmen in the business!

In a country where nature has been so lavish and where we have been so spendthrift of indigenous beauty, to set aside a few rivers in their natural state should be considered an obligation. — Senator Frank Church from Idaho

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wiredforsound
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by wiredforsound » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:38 am

Greg

PM sent with my email address.

Thanks for investing your time and energy in this effort.
Jeff Neisler (aka wiredforsound, formerly known as Godzilla)
4seven9.three8one.5nine9five

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:58 pm

Wild rivers are earth's renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting the authority of humans, always chipping away, and eventually always winning. — (Richard Bangs & Christian Kallen, River Gods)

While the Bentonville dam has water flowing through the earthen dam at this moment and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission can not identify another dam in Northwest Arkansas where water can be seen flowing through the dam and out the backside of the dam(email video of dam leaking available upon request), the City of Bentonville waits recklessly in vain for funding from FEMA and has been since around 2008(see attached Bentonville dam press release). Tonight, I was just watching the storm damage on the Northeast coast and wondering if America's most indebted agency will ever be able to fund Bentonville's recreational dam project?

However, river restoration funding is ample and more immediately available from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, specifically in programs like the National Fish Passage Program, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. And, maybe the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, specifically the Arkansas StreamTeam or the Wildlife Action Plan. Both have had grants available in the past. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is another organization to keep an eye on. Ex. potential grant program (comes around on a yearly basis) is "Bring Back the Natives"

So far, we have collected 57 email addresses, including Dr. Van Brahana, Dr. Arthur Brown and the President of American Rivers, Bob Irvin! The more people we get to participate, the better our chances of persuading the pro-dam mayor of Bentonville to REMOVE THE DAM. RESTORE THE CREEK. STOP THE BENTONVILLE DAM PROJECT.

Bentoville Dam Press release.pdf
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by jdryden78 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:31 pm

Count me amongst the emails to include. I would love the opportunity to help.

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Cowper » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:27 am

Greg already has my e-mail address, so I won't repeat that here. But I wanted to chime in at least a little bit.

First, this one is so easy; if you don't agree with removing the dam, then I'll respect your opinion even if I disagree. But if you do agree, send Greg your e-mail, it is too easy to not just do it.

And don't think this is only a "local" issue and that you should stay out of it for that reason. Because they want to use your Federal tax dollars to do this, everybody who lives in the US has the right to comment on how those dollars should be spent, even if you know in your heart that you're unlikely to visit or float Little Sugar Creek. If you're unlikely to float the creek because you live far away (like I do), then you're also unlikely to visit or in any way benefit from this lake that they want to use your tax dollars to preserve. So just being a tax payer is more than enough reason for saying the dam should be removed and the stream banks reestablished, simply because that is the low-cost option for solving the problem of a silted in lake behind an unsafe dam.
Trash: Get a little every time you go!

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:13 pm

Thank you, Cowper and everyone else that has been so supportive of this effort to stop this ill-conceived dam from being built - a dam which offers nothing, but takes so much away in terms of recreation and health of the waterway.

I just got an email from a former Bentonville Councilwoman that recently retired, after sitting on the Council for over 15 years. She asked to be included on the list of supporters for a free-flowing Little Sugar Creek! She also said that she believes that the funding for this dam project which the City has been waiting on since 2009 (see press release above) is a "myth".
Please keep posting. Let's not let the pro-dam minority win this one!

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Thank you,
Greg Van Horn



Rivers hardly ever run in a straight line.
Rivers are willing to take ten thousand meanders
and enjoy every one
and grow from every one.
When they leave a meander,
they are always more
than when they entered it.
When rivers meet an obstacle,
they do not try to run over it.
They merely go around
but they always get to the other side.
Rivers accept things as they are,
conform to the shape they find the world in,
yet nothing changes things more than rivers.
Rivers move even mountains into the sea.
Rivers hardly ever are in a hurry
yet is there anything more likely
to reach the point it sets out for
than a river?
(James Dillet Freeman, Rivers)

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by Canoe_Codger » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:03 am

Here is an updated and revised proposal plan for the Little Sugar Creek reclamation project.

Image

You will note several changes have been made. The revisions are: an outline of where the reservoir was, 3 riffle drops to allow for the elevation change, and the disclaimer. IMHO, this is a very worthwhile project and something every paddler, ACC member or not, and every area resident should support in every way they can. It has very real possibilities of garnering support from several State and national organizations and agencies (grants and other financial support).

If realized, the dam removal and subsequent park development and stream restoration can be a shining example not only locally, not just statewide or area wide but nationally. I would proudly place stickers on my canoes showing my support (for a modest donation maybe?) along the lines of my now long gone bumper sticker relating to the BNR, "Dam the Corps, not the River". Of course something more specific and appropriate to the LSC and the Bentonville Dam Project.

Codger Michael :myday"

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:39 pm

The following is a news article published in February of 2012. In 2013, the dam was overtopped again. The dam is now leaking from the "repaired" part of the dam. It is the only dam in Northwest Arkansas where water can be seen leaking through the dam and coming out the back of the dam. When a new leak opens on an earthfill dam, it's usually a sign of trouble. Since funding for the replacement of the dam is obviously being delayed or withheld, many are wondering if the City of Bentonville is allowing an unstable dam to threaten downstream aquatic life and possibly people as well.
The responsible decision for Bentonville to make is to remove this useless and dangerous dam. Sometimes a bridge in Minnesota has to collapse or something similar, before people sit up and pay attention. And even then, attention spans are often way too short.


Headline: Council To Discuss Replacing Dam
Date: February 14, 2012
Author: Misty Gittings
MGITTINGS@NWAONLINE.COM
Publication: Benton County Daily Record (AR)
Page: 1
Section: News

BENTONVILLE - A leaking dam at Lake Bella Vista is slated for replacement now that federal and state grant money has come through. The Bentonville City Council is set to discuss awarding the project design to engineering firm CP&Y at a meeting at 6 p.m. today.
The dam at the Bentonville city park was damaged by floodwater in 2008 and spring 2011. Flooding caused erosion on the back side of the earthen structure, and some water is flowing through the dam, said Ben Peters, city engineer.
"It's still there holding water, but there is some piping - some water is making its way through," Peters said.
The dam, built in 1918, was not designed to hold the sheer volume of water it faces now, Peters said.
The city temporarily stabilized the dam, but continually monitors its safety, Peters said. The dam initially was closed to pedestrians but reopened after engineers determined it was safe. Peters said the department received a number of calls from people who routinely use the dam in their walks around the lake.
"We're monitoring it. As long as it doesn't overtop again, we're probably fine," Peters said. "If we get a large storm event, there could be a catastrophic failure."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency visited the site after each event and promised money for replacement as early as 2008, said David Wright, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. He called the dam replacement a "welcomed project."
"We've been waiting on FEMA for three years to do this," Wright said. "It's one of those things where we've been ready to do this for three years, but because the federal government is paying for it, we've been at their mercy."
FEMA notified the city in August it was prepared to fund $3.6 million for a new concrete-faced earthfill dam at the site, according to the council agenda packet. That money will be supplemented by grants from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
Bentonville can expect to cover around 12.5 percent of the total project cost, Peters said.
The design contract with Dallas-based CP&Y will cost the city $513,000.

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:59 pm

If you sent your email to be included in our effort to Stop the Bentonville dam, you should have received the following group email this morning. If not, please feel free to call or email me.
Go Hawks,
gvh


Friends, River Lovers, Dam Busters,

For the first time in Arkansas, a dedicated community is coming together to support the removal of a failed and destructive dam and the restoration of an Ozark waterway! Thank you for your willingness to stand up to the City of Bentonville's ill-conceived, closed-door plans to secure federal and state appropriations to build a six-hundred foot long dam without input from stream ecologists, geologists or from people who understand the beauty and recreational benefits of a flowing, Ozark waterway. If our restoration plan is realized, it will be a shining example for other communities in Arkansas with dams which are past their useful lives and no longer serve their intended purpose.

I've asked the President of the Arkansas Canoe Club to allow a few minutes to present this issue at the ACC's Board of Directors meeting in February, in hopes that the whole of the ACC will make this effort one of their conservation efforts on a state wide basis. If the Board accepts this request, our numbers and support would increase and the eyes of the Natural State will be focused on Bentonville's decision on whether to restore or re-dam Little Sugar Creek. Since dams do to water quality what coal-fired plants do to air quality, whenever a dam is being proposed in our state, it is important that we question each dam construction plan. Please consider writing to the ACC's board members to express your interest in supporting this important conservation and recreation issue.

I've attached the concept design and letter that we will soon be sending to the Bentonville mayor and city council. Currently, we have the support and interest of some council members, but, as I've said, our mayor strongly believes that this dam is an improvement to the natural waterway and in general, it seems, he has never met a dam project he didn't like. As many of you know, it is difficult to stop a bureaucracy in motion and a dam construction bureaucracy is one of the most difficult of all to stop. The City's response to our proposal may be dismissive. The City may choose to ignore us as extremists or fanatics. We are not! In the 21st century, responsible communities all across America are electing to remove rather than rebuild old dams, rejuvenating their waterways in the process. The City may seek to malign the creek by saying there is a sewage treatment facility upstream and therefore the creek is not suitable for recreation. There is a treatment facility about 4 miles upstream from the dam on a tributary to Little Sugar Creek, but, because of Bentonville's population growth, a new treatment facility was built out of town near the XNA airport which now receives most of Bentonville's sewage. The new facility is a "dry" facility which does not send treated water into any creeks. Many believe that the old facility, which is located near Crystal Bridges Museum, will gradually be phased out as the city continues to grow. Furthermore, rivers act as filters, so a dam would only stop the filtering process. When the pro-dam group (Buffalo River Improvement Association) fought to build two high dams on the Buffalo River they argued for the building of the dams, often using similar tactics to malign the Buffalo, saying things like 'the river dries up in summer months' and there is 'too much poison ivy on the river banks'. With hindsight always being 20-20, their arguments sound superficial, and their group's name sounds ridiculous. Lastly, they may argue that the reservoir has historical significance. We know that this clean, flowing water was the original drinking water source for the City and provided sustenance for thousands of years before developers dammed the creek to create a resort which eventually failed economically and ecologically. The developers went out of business and left their dam behind for the next generation. Let's help them clean up their mess.

"At the final dam-busting ceremony, you get to hear all the politicians take credit for this 'great idea.' And after the river is restored and the fish have returned you never hear a single person say, 'Gee, I wish we had our dam back'." ~ Yvon Chouinard

Please feel free to call or email me with any suggestions or comments. One of our supporters suggested that we include something in the concept design for fishermen showing the beneficial biological information from a credible source like AG&F. The architect agrees that this would be a good idea and is working on it. The architect and I are meeting with Councilman Skaggs tomorrow to discuss the concept design. The Councilman has been very supportive of this idea and is very interested in helping us to achieve this goal.

Thank you all. Have a great Super Bowl Sunday! Please keep our thread going on the ACC's message board and please spread the word to friends who may also be interested in this important issue in the Natural State. It will take a groundswell to STOP THE BENTONVILLE DAM!

For the natural alternative to dam construction,
Greg Van Horn
479-659-8101

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Thanks to Maggie, we are up and running on Facebook! We will be posting more information on the page soon.

I am planning to meet with Professor Van Brahana on Tuesday morning. He is coming to the Lake Bella Vista dam(owned by the City of Bentonville and sometimes referred to as the Bentonville dam) to inspect the leaks and the geology of the area. I am excited to get the chance to meet him and very grateful that he is interested in this effort. If anyone has an interest and would like to come to see the only leaking dam in Northwest Arkansas and meet a great geologist, this would be a good opportunity!

Our Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/friendsoflittlesugarcreek" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Check out the FB page and tell your FB friends! And, Let's STOP THE BENTONVILLE DAM.

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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by M 0 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:34 am

Here's a timely article on how North Carolina is currently dealing with dilapidated dams:

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/201 ... 19912/1151" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

greg vanhorn
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Re: Stop the Bentoville dam project

Post by greg vanhorn » Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:54 pm

Friends,

This is the start of the legal notice period. The Texas engineering firm that is contracted to build the dam has also drafted the Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA has more holes than the Lake Bella Vista dam. Besides being drafted by the contractor that will be constructing the dam, the EA does not take into account the karst geography of the area nor did the EA review removal of the dam as a viable alternative, sighting deed restrictions, which is false. There are no deed restrictions which would prohibit removal of the dam and restoration of the creek.

The comment period will end 30 days from the initial notice publication date in the newspaper. Written comments on the Draft EA can be mailed, emailed or faxed to the contact below. If no substantive comments are received, the Draft EA will become final and a Finding of No Significant Impact will be issued for the project. Substantive comments will be addressed as appropriate final documents. STOP THE BENTONVILLE DAM PROJECT.

Please email: Alan.Hermely@fema.dhs.gov

Below is a brief letter that we will be sending to the mayor and city council this week. I hope it helps give you some ideas on what to write to Alan Hermely.

c/o Alan Hermely
800 North Loop 288, Denton, TX 76209
Email: Alan.Hermely@fema.dhs.gov
Fax: 940-297-0152
73015524 Feb 18, Mar 4, 2015

http://www.arkansasonline.com/legals/se ... sta%20dam/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


City of Bentonville

117 W. Central Ave

Bentonville, AR 72712

Attn: Mayor Bob McCaslin and Bentonville City Council



Dear Mayor McCaslin and Bentonville City Council:

Everyone understands the value of turning liabilities into assets. All agree that in its current condition, Lake Bella Vista dam is a liability for Bentonville. The dam is classified by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials as a "failed" dam due to "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. The longer the dam continues in its current condition the greater risk it poses to the community. So, it is understandable that some would want to repair the dam.

Lake Bella Vista might seem like an asset to the city if it could provide recreational opportunities or draw new residents and development to the city. However, few things have as much negative environmental impact on a river as a dam (see attached letter from Dr. Arthur Brown). The lake created by the Lake Bella Vista dam has such poor water quality that fishing is limited and unsustainable, algae growth makes it an eyesore rather than an attraction and no one would want to swim in it even if swimming were not prohibited by city ordinance. Repairing/replacing the dam would not remedy these problems. Furthermore, the geology of the dam area raise serious questions about the long-term viability of repairing or rebuilding the dam (see the attached letter from Dr. John Van Brahana). Even if funds from FEMA or other external sources become available, keeping the dam is not the best use of our tax dollars.

Removing the dam and restoring Little Sugar Creek as a free-flowing Ozark stream could also provide recreational opportunities and draw new residents and developments to the area, and likely do so at less expense than the cost of repairing the dam. A restored Little Sugar Creek would provide opportunities for, 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 a natural Ozark waterway, river restoration offers great economic potential. We believe 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. (See the attached concept design for one possibility.) There are many reservoirs in Northwest Arkansas, but there are few flowing waterways remaining which have not been dammed. Removing the dam and restoring Little Sugar Creek would be a unique event in this region and become a notable asset for the city by enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation while improving the quality of the stream and its watershed.

Friends of Little Sugar Creek is a coalition of serious-minded people who are concerned about the rapid disappearance or degradation of many Ozark streams that have been the source of pleasure and sustenance for us all. We intend to work for the preservation of this natural resource which is an important part of our Ozark natural history and our main watershed for this part of Benton County. We think that removing the dam and restoring the creek is a better means of creating an asset for Bentonville than is repairing or rebuilding the dam. We believe the city's current plan of continuing to wait for FEMA to fund the reconstruction of an unnecessary, six hundred foot long dam across a valley which is not more than thirteen hundred feet wide fosters unreasonable development and will only cause further damage to our watershed. We believe a restored Little Sugar Creek will be better for Bentonville than a rebuilt Lake Bella Vista dam. We respectfully request that our Mayor and City Council give serious consideration to this alternative and would welcome opportunities to provide additional supporting information.

For the natural alternative to dam construction,


Greg Van Horn
Friends of Little Sugar Creek
https://www.facebook.com/friendsoflittlesugarcreek" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

cc: Dr. John Van Brahana, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas;
Dr. Arthur Brown, Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas;
William Robert Irvin, President, American Rivers; and many Friends of Little Sugar Creek.


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

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