Open space Stakeholder Questions - Association for Beaver Lake

Stakeholder Questions
a. How do you and your organization define the term “open space?” What are
the components of open space?
Open space are areas such as natural land; scenic, historic, cultural areas; and working
landscapes that conserve the ecosystem values and functions in order to benefit people.
A non-exhaustive list includes: wetlands, riparian buffers, forests, grasslands,
headwaters and tributaries, farmland, streams, lakes, and, in general, green spaces.
b. What are the types of open space conservation that you and your
organization have been involved with and accomplished, if any? Please
provide a detailed list.
ABLE’s mission is to protect Beaver Lake and its surrounding environment. They have
partnered with a number of organizations to help achieve their mission including cleanups, educational events, and other related activities and projects.
What is the most important reason, in your opinion, for NW Arkansas to
protect and conserve open space? Please be specific.
Open space is essential to the water quality of Beaver Lake, the region’s water source,
economic engine, and a major influence on the area’s quality of life.
a. Do you and your organization believe that open space is being diminished
throughout the NW Arkansas region? If so, can you provide examples of how
and where this is happening?
Housing development has taken away some of the most valuable farmland in
Benton County such as in the Cave Springs area.
Large trees are constantly being ripped out for development everywhere in
the area without consideration of best practices or alternatives.
Erosion in areas such as in the West Fork area is decreasing riparian buffers
and polluting the River.
Invasive species are threatening land and water throughout the region.
b. Do you know of any specific sites actively in need of protection?
All riparian buffers around headwaters and tributaries
Beaver Lake
a. What is the most effective method for protecting and conserving open space?
Can you provide an example of where this method has been employed in NW
Rather than develop a piecemeal, small scale effort, a more effective, large
scale, integrated approach is needed to develop a holistic view of the
interconnections of our natural resources. Planning, acquisition, and
restoration projects need to be done at this large scale level in order to
accelerate protection of air, land, and water quality; build partnerships to
foster understanding of how to use and protect the environment, and to
provide a public role in planning, implementation, and evaluation of resource
programs. This development of a NW Arkansas Open Space Plan has the
potential to address open space in such a manner.
b. Do you know people or groups with skills in identifying and assessing areas
for conservation?
The expertise is at the University of Arkansas or other universities where
people make their living learning and teaching about this subject.
a. Do you feel that community and business leaders in NW Arkansas
understand the importance of and function of open space? If not, what can be
done to improve their understanding?
Leaders may have a general understanding of the economic and health
benefits but have not developed a concerted, comprehensive effort nor
developed a prioritized plan of specific goals and strategies to reach those
A “road show” needs to be developed to go to each local government
legislature and planning board, and to business leaders at Rotary, Chambers
of Commerce meetings, etc. that emphasizes the need to complete an NW
Arkansas Open Space Plan that will benefit everyone. Since development is
accelerating, this needs to be done as soon as possible before it is too late for
sensitive areas.
b. What specific tools do you feel would work best for reaching out to the public
(and for receiving input) in NWA? (for example, news articles, presenting at
community meetings, social media, etc.)
Whatever studies indicate are the most effective ways.
c. Do you have any creative ideas for public outreach on the topic of open
Since many people have never gone to available open space areas, especially
those from urban areas, sponsor “open space” days and even provide bussing
to them.
a. How can the communities of NW Arkansas best work together to protect the
function of open space that you feel is most important?
After the “road show” given in 4a, develop a plan to establish and preserve
urban parks, greenways, trailways; use Smart growth to redirect economic
development into developed areas away from open space, establish
watershed and water quality protection, connect farmers’ food and
neighborhoods like farmers markets, develop a tree canopy, and establish
community gardens.
b. What would be the most effective leadership structure for open space
conservation and protection in NW Arkansas? Is this something best lead by
local government, or by the private sector, or by a combination of both?
Northwest Planning is an established entity that already has a relationship
with area municipalities. It could be expanded to include the private sector
and public to help fund and implement a plan developed for Northwest
Is there any single organization that you feel is accomplishing exemplary
work in open space conservation and protection in NW Arkansas? What
makes this organization stand out among other efforts?
The Beaver Watershed Alliance, the Illinois River Partnership, and Ozark
Water Watch have all secured funds to implement worthy projects in open
space conservation and protection.
a. What do you feel that the Open Space Plan for NW Arkansas needs to
accomplish most? Please be specific.
To protect water quality of surface and underground water supplies to
sustain human life and aquatic ecosystems
To protect a habitat for diversity of plant and animal species to ensure a
healthy, viable, and sustainable ecosystem
To maintain critical natural resource-based industries such as farming,
forestry, fishing, and tourism
To protect wetlands
To add a tree canopy especially in urban areas
To protect and enhance scenic, historic, and cultural resources considered to
be valued parts of a common heritage of our citizens
To provide places for education and research relating to ecological,
environmental and cultural resources
To improve the quality of life
To encourage more compact community design patterns
To maintain an interconnected network of protected lands and water by
connecting open space corridors
b. Is there anything that we have not addressed about this subject that you feel
is important and should be further discussed?
Possible tools to accomplish the plan