Beaver Lake Watershed Group Threatens Property Rights
There is a new swarm of regulators coming to tell you how to manage what you thought was your land. A group called the “Northwest Arkansas Council” is working on plans to implement extremely intrusive federal laws under the guise of protecting the Beaver Lake Watershed. The Northwest Arkansas Council is basically big industry interests from the area leveraging their clout to get the taxpayers to ante up for public policy initiatives that are in the interests of said industries.
I just got finished wading through their 92 page report. Their premise is that the population growth rates of the last few years will continue until 2055. Under that assumption, they say we need to take more measures to protect our water. Of course their assumption is silly. I guess they have not noticed that the building boom around here has gone bust.
At the start of the report they say they only want to “enforce existing law”. It is only later that you realize that existing law is nightmare of big-government micromanagement of your property that is only waiting for “adequate resources” from the public (read more of your tax dollars) to hire more enforcement agents.
From the report: ”Stormwater discharges for large and medium size communities are
regulated by federal Clean Water Act rules for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program, but administered and enforced by ADEQ”.
So the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality acts as an enforcement arm for federal law. The federal government is increasingly (and improperly) using state and local governments as sub-units to enforce its growing host of rules and regulations. Mostly rules about stuff they have no constitutional authority to act on, such as storm water runoff.
And you may be thinking that it is ok to regulate “large and medium sized communities” if you live in the country. Wrong. The Feds are like the Borg. You will be assimilated. From the report: “In terms of construction phase impacts, it is important to note that federal stormwater regulations require that all construction sites disturbing more
than one acre, regardless of their location, must have sedimentation and erosion controls. If this land disturbance falls outside of a designated MS4 community, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is required to administer and enforce the stormwater NPDES requirements unless a local government voluntarily enacts an ordinance. However, the state does not have adequate resources to enforce these requirements.”
So if you want to build a new barn and the construction impacts more than one acre of land you are supposed to follow their requirements, they just haven’t taxed you enough (yet) to hire “adequate resources to enforce these requirements”.
And if you have cattle, here is a peek at some of the coming “requirements” for you to get busy on: “cattle with unrestricted stream access typically cause severe streambank erosion. Recommended pasture BMPs involve excluding cattle from streams using fencing, providing an alternative water source, and providing stream crossings where necessary.” And you also need to do something they called “pasture renovation”: “Pasture renovator equipment uses large spikes (found in various shapes and sizes) to create many small indentions in the ground that hold water and nutrients”
Country folk also have a septic system. From the report, “Individual wastewater systems require regular maintenance, such as pumping every 3 to 5 years, in order to function as designed”. They recommend starting a “monitoring program” presumably to go around and tell you when to pump your septic system. Also on the list is a 50-ft easement they want to enforce around stream beds in the watershed. Got one on your land?