Friday, December 30, 2011

Regional Water Conference Provides Opportunity for Questions about Rio Bosque

Master Naturalist and member of the Board of Friends of the Rio Bosque, Sal Quintanilla told me yesterday that the ponds at the Rio Bosque are only one-third full. A Bosque advocate and volunteer since the 90s, Sal says that he has never seen this City of El Paso wetlands park so dry. Migratory birds such as American Wigeons are crowding in a very small area. Sadly, this makes them easy targets for poachers armed with shot guns since the City of El Paso police do not enforce the no guns in a city park regulation at the Rio Bosque. 

There may be an opportunity for conservationists, Bosque and eco-tourism supporters to ask questions about the water shortage at the Bosque. Richard Teschner emailed to say:

"Those of you who are concerned about the amount of water that Rio Bosque is (and is not) receiving will want to attend a regional water conference to be held January 4 (Wednesday) starting at 5 p.m. at the Kay Bailey HutchisonDesalination Plant on far-east Montana Street."

United States Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, will be present along with representatives of the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, the International Boundary and Water Commission, the Elephant Butte Irrigation District and the El Paso Water Utilities.

Teschner added: "Our questions to these officials should all be all be 'positive' and 'up-beat' of course; but questions they will be."

Song of the Day: Lark in the Morning The San Patricios at Doyle Chandler Party Dec 27 2011

Be sure that you visit the San Patricios on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

State Parks Need Your Help

I asked the Franklin Mountain State Par Superintendent, Dr. Cesar Mendez, how to donate to the park directly. He responded:

Greetings!  People can always donate directly to the park of their choice by going to that park and making a cash or check donation of $499 or less using the front desk, donation box, or self-pay envelope.  If someone uses a check they can write in memo section the purpose of the donation (to what park and/or specific purpose, etc.).  Donations of $500 or more from a single donor can also be accepted at the park level, but they have to be approved later on by the TPWD Commission, during their regular meetings.
 Regular donations collected in a given park goes to that park, unless specified otherwise. For example, when visitors make donations at the FMSP donation box or place money self-pay envelopes identified as donation, that money goes 100% to FMSP which is critical for our operations. But please consider that right now the Texas State Parks are in a critical situation as whole system and needs to fill the $4.6M gap in the budget statewide. Three ways to contribute to the whole Texas State Park System are: 1) Go to the website to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation.
 2) Make a donation when renewing your motor vehicle registration.  3) Most importantly, because visitor fees pay for about half of the operating costs, visit state parks. Thanks!  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

City and PSB Ignore Open Space Master Plan Priorities

The City of El Paso and the PSB are on an unfortunate course of rapidly building park ponds while neglecting valuable natural open space assets. The PSB recently approved $2.5 million expenditures from the 10% of your stormwater fee to go to park ponds, the lowest items on the priority list set by Open Space and Stormwater advisory bodies. In fact, as already mentioned, an additional $400,000 from that fee that should only be set aside for natural open space was spent on 4 acres of vacant land (the Johnson Basin) with no connectivity to natural open space other than a two block arroyo fragment which exists on land owned by the military not by the City of El Paso. It is walled-off from the view of El Pasoans by a rock wall topped with barbed wire. You can see pictures of Schoephoerster's perfect example of natural open space online – the same space EPWU official, John Balliew, bold-faced proclaimed “natural” to a December meeting of the Open Space Advisory Board.

PSB/EPWU officials claim that Jim Shelton of EPWU has not had the time to pursue other open space assets. I would argue that he has not been tasked to do so.

Johnson Basin may be a drainage asset and a potential location for a good neighborhood park. Creating that recreational/drainage space should come from the other 90% of the stormwater fee not set aside for acquiring natural open space . . . or from the Parks and Recreation budget which seems to have an additional $2.1 million for park ponds but not a penny for open space and trailheads.

The problem with park ponds is how they are designed. The Parks and Recreation Department sees them as traditional turf parks. Without seeking the advice of her Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Department Director Nanette Smejkal, has plowed ahead now that she has made away with $2.5 million of open space money for 8 park ponds which were the lowest priorities on the open space master plan. Unfortunately, that leadership style does not take advantage of the kind of expertise she could have tapped into for the design of her parks. Park ponds should be designed for passive rainwater harvesting. UTEP Professor of Engineering and Hydrologist, John Walton, explains:

“The ‘park ponds’ should not be seeded with turf because this commits the City of El Paso to long term waste of water as well as high maintenance costs. Instead stormwater areas should be designed to employ passive rainwater harvesting. Passive harvesting of stormwater flowing down drainages occurs when small depressions are placed within the flow path that capture a portion of the passing water and infiltrate it into the subsurface. The infiltrated water is stored passively in the soil and used to water trees and shrubs. Even in the desert climate of El Paso the technique produces dense green shade trees with no need for artificial watering. Passive stormwater harvesting also reduces the peak storm discharges leading to lower flooding potential.”

Read a Master Thesis about this methodology.

Just for established turf (not newly laid sod or seed), AgriLife (your Texas Agricultural Extension Agency) experts calculate about 1.3 million gallons of water per acre per year or 27 or 30 gallons of water per square foot of turf. Warm seed turf grasses can go as much as 58 gallons per square foot. Taking into account our desert climate and not to mention a drought, what were PSB members thinking when they agreed to take $2.5 million of open space money (a cash account) and give it to Parks and Recreation for park ponds? Again note that El Paso’s Parks and Recreation Department spends zip, zero, nada on any kind of natural open space.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is much easier to see why the Johnson Basin purchase is even more egregious.  Open Space Advisory Board Chairman, Charlie Wakeem, wrote in an email that Johnson Basin “meets none of the criteria for Opens Space preservation.”

Wakeem says that “OSAB agrees that Johnson Basin is a drainage asset and could also be a park asset that ought to be acquired” but not with the 10% of your stormwater fee (on your water bill) that goes into a cash account to buy ecologically sensitive land. There are several criteria for open space (none of which Johnson Basin meets in spite of Mr. Shoephoerster’s and Mr. Balliew’s claims). Wakeem enumerates by quoting the Open Space Master Plan:

·         "Open Space is any area that has not been developed or that currently has no significant structures on it.  These spaces have some combination of natural scenic beauty, natural resources that are deemed worthy of preservation, or have a cultural or historic significance to the area or region."

·         What is Open Space?:  "The common thread in all definitions of open space is the notion of lands that have not yet been substantially altered by man, or that preserve some vestiges of the natural environment in the urban area that surrounds them."

·         The Amount of Undeveloped Land Remaining in El Paso:  "Land for open space must be preserved today, or it will be consumed over the next 20 to 40 years."

·         Mission (in part):  "....El Paso's Open Space Trail Network will be attractive and easily accessible to all.  It will be the site of many kinds of healthy recreational activities, and provide numerous opportunities for educating the public about the Chihuahuan Desert ecosystems."

·         The Plan for El Paso & Plan El Paso:  "Goal:  Protect and promote ecologically sensitive areas, such as aquifer recharge zones, hillsides, bosques, arroyos and wetlands." 

It would have been better to fund park ponds (and all agree that dirt holes should be better rainwater/drainage/recreational assets for the City) incrementally with other funds since they are at the bottom of open space priorities. The 10% of the stormwater fee for open space goes into a cash account at the rate of about $117,000 per month – not enough cash flow to afford the purchase of open space from a cash account unless allowed to build up over time. Just the Palisades cost $2.5 million. With the $2.5 million raid by Parks and Recreation, the fund is now just above $100,000. Because it is a cash account with insignificant cash flow, expenditures for projects such as park ponds will always have the advantage. In short, one wonders if any other natural open space acquisitions can be made especially since Master Plan priorities are ignored by City politicians and PSB technocrats.

The fact that the open space account is a cash account goes under one of Mayor Cook’s favorite rubrics: “No good deed goes unpunished.”  Why is the stormwater/open space account cash? Recall that it was established post-2006 flood. There are two reasons.  First, architects of the fund didn’t want people to feel that open space advocates were taking advantage of the situation and costing them the extra debt service just to buy amenities. And, secondly, the revenue was leveraged by the Storm Water utility.  It allowed Storm Water to have an additional $4 million up front to do a more urgent CIP project that would have been postponed too many additional years. The result of the good deed: you, your open space, your natural open space priorities, sensitive eco-systems, etc., etc. are getting (to put it bluntly) screwed.

Enough said . . . for now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Schoephoserster's "Perfect Example of Natural Open Space"

Here are pictures of PSB member and UTEP Dean of Engineering, Richard "Dick" Schoephoerster's "perfect example of natural open space":

View from Piedras and Pierce, the old William Beaumont gate. 
Click, of course, to enlarge this and the following photos.

El Pasoans have this beautiful view along Pierce Avenue of Schoephoerster's perfect example of natural open space.

Rock climbing at Johnson Basin, a part of Schoephoerster's perfect example of natural open space.

Christmas at Tom Mays Unit of FMSP

Click to enlarge.

Transmountain Petition Update

At yesterday's City Council meeting an update was given on the process for re-doing the Northwest Master Plan which includes the preservation of the Scenic Transmountain Corridor. Planning and Development staff announced the following schedule for public input on the NW Master Plan and Scenic Corridor. I will confirm the schedule after the first of the year. However, all of you who want to see the corridor preserved in perpetuity (forever) in its natural state, should set aside time now on your calendars:

Tuesday, January 24th - Hands On Session, 5 to 9PM, Canutillo HS Cafeteria

January 23 - 28 - Weeklong Open Design Studio - Location to be announced

Saturday, January 28 - Work in Progress Presentaion, 9AM - Noon, Canutillo HS Cafeteria

April - May Review and Adoption Process

Stakehold meetings for January charrettes are being planned now. 

It was reported to me by a City Council member that Planning and Development plans to have a final resolution in April. However the Dover Kohl timeline suggests that a final adoption of the NW Master Plan may not occur until winter of 2012.

Prior to Council, I wrote the Mayor and Council members this email message:

Mayor Cook and Honorable Members of City Council, I understand that today’s Agenda Item 7D is the update you requested regarding the preservation of land known as the Scenic Transmountain Corridor and the Northwest Master Plan. On December 5, 2011, I met with Mr. Carlos Gallinar of Planning and Development and Mr. Jason King of Dover Kohl.  Two other persons who want to see the Scenic Corridor preserved in perpetuity in its natural state accompanied me. We discussed the upcoming process. We had a good conversation and Mr. King took copious notes. I remain committed to the process laid out by Planning and Development in conjunction with Dover Kohl. All of us who signed the petition remain steadfast in our pursuit of seeing that the Scenic Transmountain Corridor is preserved in its natural state in perpetuity. “Islands” within that corridor for resorts or other purposes fed by roads cutting through that corridor are unacceptable. Preserving the natural arroyos without slicing through them or truncating them remains the goal. If Paseo del Norte does run through that land, elevated roads over the arroyos are essential. We understand that the process for a new Master Plan which includes the preservation of the Scenic Corridor takes time. The time line before you today seems lengthy and we hope that we can be more expeditious without compromising good planning. I personally remain confident in the City’s Planning and Development Department, the leadership of Mr. McElroy, and the expertise of Dover Kohl. Wishing you each all the best, happy holidays, and the love and comfort of family and friends this season, Jim H. Tolbert

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Borderland Mountain Bike Association President, David Wilson has written an open letter encouraging that more money be spent on trails, trail improvements, trail heads and signage. He's right that there are great mountain bike trails throughout the Franklins which are also great for hikers. The City of El Paso owes a debt of gratitude to BMBA for creating most of these trails. Now they have actually funded the creation of trail head parking for Redd Road - an unprecedented action. 
For more information about mountain biking and bike trails in this region, go to
Here is Dave's letter:
It has come to my attention that the funds set aside for the acquisition of open space might be used to improve green spaces around the city.  Last year there was a pretty heated debate about using these funds to build trail heads and trail head parking at some of the newly acquired open space and it was finally determined that they could not be used for those purposes.....ONLY for the acquisition of new lands to be preserved as open space.  To hear that board members are considering the use of this funding to improve green spaces seems to be pretty contradictory to what was determined sometime last year.

I don't think you'll find many people who would have a problem using this money to improve green space, but it would only be fair to use this money to improve our open spaces as well.  The Convention and Visitors Bureau is spending a large amount of city money to promote our city as a mountain biking destination.  Mountain biking will be featured on the cover of the spring Visitors' Guide, Texas Monthly magazine, and Southwest Magazine (the one in every seat of every Southwest plane).  At present, our city is not ready to play host to mountain bikers who are unfamiliar with our trails and their access points.  At present, we have NO mountain bike trail heads and NO mountain bike trail head signage except in the Tom May's unit of the State Park.  We have some great trails, but few of them are signed.  Without a gps unit that has a track file for the trail being ridden or a guide, it's sheer luck if a visitor has a good mountain biking experience.

I encourage the City (Council, the PSB, the Open Space Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the State Park) to work together in completing the mountain biking infrastructure needed to truly make El Paso a mountain biking destination as well as mitigating user conflicts and impacts that are currently happening at common access points.  The BMBA is committed to finishing the trail head parking lot on Redd Rd, but after this project, our coffers will be empty.  The Redd Road location needs extensive signage on trails found on city land and State Park land.  The park has begun the process for signage on their portion.  The BMBA will continue to advise the bureaucracies free of charge.

Please don't divert Open Space Acquisition funds for green space unless you are willing to do the same for current open space.
David Wilson, President of Borderland Mountain Bike Association

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Special Invitation: Hike and Mountain Bike the Johnson Basin

Johnson Basin as seen from William Beaumont. Click to enlarge.

Hard Core Hikers, Mountain Bikers and Outdoor Enthusiasts,

Come help make a video for You Tube of the gorgeous Johnson Basin leading into the Schoephoerster Trash Preserve. PSB Board Member, Richard (“Dick” to those who know him best) Schoephoerster, called this land “a perfect example of natural open space” during a public meeting of the PSB on Wednesday. Nestled between the Cemex Quarry, the concrete and asphalt of the Alabama corridor, commercial buildings, residences, the William Beaumont complex and a Lower Dyer neighborhood near Assumption Church and Travis Elementary, this lovely 4 acres of open space was purchased with $400,000 of your Open Space money (without having to trouble anyone by going through the Open Space Advisory Board – or even, as it now seems, the PSB itself). You can see some pictures of this “perfect example of natural open space” here.

Help us make a video that will showcase what will surely become the premier new natural, recreational open space (referred to as the Johnson Basin).

Please do join us this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.  Meet at Truman and Copia. Please do bring your back pack. Bring solid, ankle high or higher boots. I’ve heard something is really piled high here. Do bring very high-powered binoculars so you can spot the wildlife.  Maps, gps, and compass are optional in case you might want to try orienteering.  

Jim Tolbert
Publisher of the elpasonaturally blog

P.S. Seriously. Please do come and be part of this video! Pass the word to others. 

The Johnson Basin Scam

PSB took nearly $400,000 of your money set aside to purchase valuable, natural open space to buy 4 acres of vacant land along with a few houses in the lower Dyer area of the City. Johnson Basin is situated near Assumption Church and school and west of Travis Elementary. It abuts William Beaumont military land on the west. It is roughly between Pierce and Lincoln Avenues on the south and north and Copia and Justus on the east and west.  Here is a picture of the area from a URS study:

Click on picture to enlarge.

Between the Johnson Basin and William Beaumont is a tall rock wall with barbed wire in some places and an iron grate where an almost 2 block fragment of what once was an arroyo flows onto the basin, narrowing to a mere ditch, bending to the north where it abruptly dead ends without a culvert at Lincoln Avenue.

The purchase of the Johnson Basin was never approved by the Open Space Advisory Board. It suddenly appeared last month in a handout "Open Space and Park/Ponds" along with its acquisition price of $394,247. OSAB never vetted it in contradiction to Mr. Ed Archuleta's claim to the PSB at their meeting this past Wednesday. More egregiously, it seems now that PSB never vetted or approved any of the purchases making up the Johnson Basin. Nevertheless, PSB members let is slide in spite of the fact that Mr. Archuleta dismissively confessed that he may not have brought the purchase or purchases before the Board. (Purchases over $25,000 must be brought to the PSB. Elpasonaturally has an Open Records Request for documents that show the agenda and minutes of meetings when the purchases were discussed and approved.)

At the last PSB meeting, member Richard Schoephoerster pontificated that the Basin was a "perfect example of natural open space." Really, Dick? Let's take a look at it shall we.

Click the above to enlarge. The questions were asked by the person who got this Google map. I can best answer the questions by simply describing what happens from the Basin to the mountain. A tall rock wall divides the basin from William Beaumont, the military medical campus that owns the property along Pierce Avenue  to above Louisiana. An iron grate divides the ditch in the Basin from the wider arroyo on William Beaumont property. That "arroyo" ends less than 2 blocks west where the old Piedras entrance to the hospital exists. West of Piedras is a retention pond which sits below parking lots on the north and to the west. Run-off from these lots feed into the retention pond. There is no connectivity between that pond and the arroyo fragment to the east. There is no connectivity between that retention pond and any natural feature to the west. A spillover is constructed at the east end of the pond and there is one across Piedras at the beginning of the arroyo fragment. It would take quite a rain event to spill any water over from one side to the other. In essence, there just isn't any connectivity. Beyond the retention pond to the west toward the mountain is the paved parking lot of Beaumont, a residential area, a commercial area, the cement and asphalt of the Alabama Street corridor and then Cemex. Where the mouth of McKelligon Canyon once cut down through this area there is only a large culvert that crosses under Alabama and comes out across the street from someone's garage door. Looking at that door and house one can see the Beaumont campus to the east. 

You can see pictures of all of this including the Johnson Basin by going here.

Certainly Johnson Basin probably is the site of some flooding during rains. Johnson Street runs down toward Dyer. A ditch with culverts pass under Travis Elementary and then to the Pershing Dam. Streets in this neighborhood were often designed to be the stormwater passageways. Haphazard development meant that drainage and neighborhoods didn't always fit together. Nevertheless, the money to fix the Johnson Basin should have come from some other place than money to buy natural open space as well. 

The mere 2 block arroyo fragment along the south side of William Beaumont has no connectivity, is cut-off in fact from non-military El Pasoans, is not ecologically sensitive, has no aesthetic value, and is, in fact,  a trash dump and trash collector. Since Mr. Schoephoerster calls it a "perfect example of natural open space", let's name it for him: the Schoephoerster Trash Preserve.

Question: will PSB do the right thing and give the money back to Open Space and take it out of some other part of their budget? Keep in mind that Open Space money is a cash account. After Parks and Recreation made-off with nearly $3,000,000 of it and Ed and Company took $400,000 for their Johnson Basin Scam, there may be less than $600,000 in that account today. Should the opportunity arise to buy a special piece of natural open space property, the money won't be there until slowly replenished by the 10% of your stormwater fee - replenished unless dipped into again with no regard to the process, of course.

More to report on all of this for sure as well as the Park/Ponds boondoggle.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Perhaps There IS Money for the Rio Bosque

We have been following progress (what there is of it) at the Rio Bosque, a site that has the potential for massive tourist eco-dollars for El Paso and El Paso County but receives treatment that would make Cinderella’s plight under her step-family seem like pampering a celebrity on Rodeo Drive. Judy Ackerman reports:

“On November 13th the Bosque started receiving some water from the Bustamante Water Treatment Plant; about 45% of the effluent or about 7,000,000 gal/day. By the 28th water in the old river channel in the park had almost reached the visitor center. Because the park has been so dry for so long, and the water table has dropped so low, the water is sinking into the ground instead of filling the old river channel. On Monday 28 Nov, John Sproul started diverting the water to fill the wetland cells, but it still has not reached the cells. This is the first time since 1998, that we have not had water in the wetland cells in the month of December. It is particularly sad since this is a banner year for waterfowl in the U.S. – the best in 35 years – but we are not getting to see them.

“El Paso Water Improvement District #1 is ready to start construction on the turn-out that will make it possible for the park to receive water from the Riverside Canal, when water rights are donated to the park and water is available. However, they will not start until El Paso #1 receives payment, in advance, for the cost of the construction: $8,424.”

Although the money has been raised, we must remember that building the turnout does not mean that the Irrigation District will move the water from the Bustamante that EPWU has for the Bosque. Once in the canal or drain, the water belongs to the District and their General Manager, Chuy Reyes (brother of Silvestre) is like Scrooge before any ghostly apparitions. At the last Open Space Advisory Board meeting, EPWU’s John Balliew said that the long term solution is building pumping, piping and plumbing infrastructure directly to the Park at the cost of $1 Million. That money, the Bosque does not have. Or do they?

Parks and Recreation Parks Pond Project graphic presented to the recent PSB Budget meeting. Click on image to enlarge.

Currently the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of El Paso is going after nearly $3 million from money set aside for purchasing open space. They want that money for 8 more Park Ponds, similar to the recently completed Saipan project. That $3 million would be for shrubs, trees and sod only. To complete their park pond projects there is another $2.3 million for irrigation from the City of El Paso. At its past Wednesday meeting, Open Space Advisory Board members voted to recommend that the money set aside for open space purchases be retained and not used for park pond projects. If the PSB concurs at their next budget meeting, then Parks would be left with $2.3 million and have no money for trees, shrubs and sod.

What can Parks do with a measly $2.3 million? $1 million of that would provide water to a City park – the Rio Bosque. I’m thinking about some well-deserved glass slippers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Petition Update Concerns Many

People are keeping an eye on what is happening with the petition and with preserving the Scenic Corridor in perpetuity. Yesterday was the first meeting of City Council beyond sixty days from the September 20th meeting when an update was promised. Board members of Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, Judy Ackerman and Raul Amaya, spoke to the issue during the Call to the Public. City Planning Staff will give an update next Tuesday, December 6. They will report that Dover Kohl will begin work on the Northwest Master Plan that includes the Scenic Corridor and that they should begin in late January following their completion of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Public charrettes will be scheduled around that time. Petition organizers are meeting with attorneys regarding any question about any deadline by law to proceed to a petition for a ballot referendum if necessary. The crux of the matter is trust. When all is said and done, people want to see the Scenic Corridor preserved forever.

The real question is whether SmartCode can guarantee preservation. Currently the City is sponsoring a three day workshop about SmartCode. There are about 118 people in attendance – many from the City and one that I know about from PSB. 19% of the attendees are developers. The workshop is being conducted by the Placemakers, a collection of professionals (“planners, designers, architects, an attorney, an MBA, a journalist and a marketing communications veteran”) who are city planners who promote the principles of New Urbanism – the design of walkable, diverse, compact communities.

I’ll report more about the workshop tomorrow at elpasonaturally. I was able to hear keynoter, Jeff Speck, yesterday at the workshop and at his public lecture last evening. What I heard about neighborhoods, community, walkability, health, and more is exciting and promising. It’s good news that they are here and that the City is adopting SmartCode.

You can follow Placemaker Hazel Borys on Twitter and pick-up some of the key concepts of the workshop or go to and follow the conversation about the workshop.

Of course, a huge cloud over preservation is just what TxDOT plans to do. Elpasonaturally has learned that they are already making changes that will preclude much of the landscaping with trees as previously promised to the public. It also appears that the intersection at proposed Paseo del Norte will eat up quite a bit of the corridor which will give excuse to some to go ahead with plans to plow through the natural landscape of the Scenic Corridor. These machinations may precipitate a need to proceed to a ballot.

Although he did not touch on specific highway projects such as Transmountain, Jeff Speck in his lecture last evening did give some hard evidence how such road projects have caused greater congestion and are a greater harm to the public health, safety and welfare. Adopting SmartCode and allowing TxDOT to continue these behemoth projects in El Paso are contradictions.

The time has come and gone for applications for an upcoming vacancy on the Public Service Board. I decided to apply and you can read my cover letter submitted with my resume.

Since the last e-letter promoting buying locally for the holidays, many more suggestions have been emailed to me. Check out the right hand column at elpasonaturally for new ideas for shopping including Hyundai Sun Bowl tickets, the Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso annual Christmas bazaar, the upcoming gem and mineral show, and the Happy Hawaiian Holidaze Open Hut Arts & Crafts Fair at the Hal Marcus Gallery.

Finally, give yourself a real holiday treat this weekend on either Friday or Saturday evening. Go to Keystone Heritage Park and enjoy Luminarias by the Lake. Details here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transmountain Scenic Corridor Is Still on Minds of Many

It's been 60 days since we presented to City Council the petition to preserve in perpetuity the Scenic Corridor along Transmountain. There was no decision except to begin a process to re-do the Northwest Master Plan with the guidance of Dover Kohl and include in that process the preservation of the land. Dover Kohl can't get started on that project until they finish the Comprehensive Plan for El Paso. Nevertheless, members of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition went to Council this morning and gave gentle reminders that the issue has not been forgotten. Planning will present an update next Tuesday to City Council. By schedule, that day will be the first time to make the promised 60 day update since September 20th when the certified petition was formally presented to Council.

Judy Ackerman and Raul Amaya spoke during public comment. Judy made it clear that, as Secretary of FMWC, she hears from many people. FMWC is a coalition of 30 other non-profit groups and has for its own membership 1200 people. Nearly 1600 signatures were certified on the petition.

Here is the text of Judy's remarks:

Good morning Honorable Mayor and City Council.

Thank you for this opportunity to address you on the topic of the Scenic Corridor. I am judy Ackerman, Secretary for the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. The Coalition has been a non-profit local organization since July 1978, dedicated to preserving and protecting the unique bio-diversity, geology and historical cultural heritage.

We are a coalition with 30 local non-profit organizations as members and they each have their own individual members. Additionally the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition has over 1200 individual members.

The coalition members are YOUR constituents from the far east side, through central, northeast and all the way around to the far upper valley.

I’ve been getting phone calls, e-mails and members stopping me on the street asking, “What’s going on with the Transmountain Scenic Corridor?” They see the Scenic Corridor as vital to the integrity of our mountains and they are concerned about the delay in permanently protecting the city-owned land along the western slopes of our Franklin Mountains.

They see the mountain as vulnerable to bulldozers and paving and want YOU to protect our mountains.

We fully support the charrette process to gather public input to the planning process for El Paso’s future. We support your efforts with Dover Kohl.

We just wanted YOU to know what I am hearing from YOUR constituents. They want City Owned land permanently protected as natural open space.

Here is the text of Raul's remarks:

There are places in the world that should be left as they are; that should be preserved, conserved & protected for everyone’s benefit. Things like beautiful beaches, mountains & mountain vistas like the 700 acres of land along the western slope of Trans Mountain road that we the citizens of El Paso own.

There are places in the world that should belong to everyone in general & no one in particular & that because of their uniqueness & beauty shouldn’t be sold for private development & profit like the 700 acres of land along the western side of Trans Mountain road.

Everything, everyone & everyplace should not be for sale. Money is not all that matters in life. Commercial & residential development on every parcel of land regardless of its beauty & uniqueness should not be the predominant value.

Environmentalist author Edward Abbey wrote: "The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need … wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread."

I’ll close my comments with a few lyrics from a popular song of my youth written by Joni Mitchell named Yellow Taxi.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot SPOT.

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Please don’t be the “they” in this song.

Luminarias by the Lake

Click image to enlarge.

Keystone Heritage Park is a great place to visit, enjoy the garden, bird watch and see the wetlands. It has archaeological and historical significance. It can use your support.


Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Applying!

Through the elpasonaturally e-letter I have let readers know that the PSB is taking applications now for a position on the PSB that is coming vacant. It is the position that Katherine Brennand currently holds. My understanding is that she wants to continue on the board but that the City has insisted that the application process be honored. When changes were to stagger board membership a few years ago, Katherine drew one of the short straws and her term expired in two rather than four years. After much thought and input, I decided that I am qualified for the seat termed Communications, Public Administration or Education. Below is my cover letter that I emailed less than an hour ago to EPWU's Consumer Affairs Officer, Paula Apodaca:

PSB Application Letter

Friday, November 25, 2011

Free City Planning Lecture Next Tuesday

Click to enlarge image.

As part of a three day workshop on SmartCode, Mr. Jeff Speck will be giving a free public lecture on Tuesday, November 29th, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Main Public Library, 501 N. Oregon. (Map). Jeff will do a book signing after the lecture. He is the co-author of Suburban Nation and the Smart Growth Manual.

Bottom line: Don't miss this one!

For more information, contact City of El Paso Deputy Director of Planning, Matthew McElroy, at 915-541-4193 or

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7th Annual Holiday Market at Ardovino's Desert Crossing

Talk about buying locally! The 7th Annual Holiday Market at Ardovino's Desert Crossing will be held Sunday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is their largest event ever with over 70 vendors from their Farmers Market plus guest artisans selling a variety of handmade gifts and crafts. Check out the new A1 private party room with a special Champagne tasting plus free cider. Enjoy brunch in the restaurant starting at 10 a.m. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. For more information please call 575-589-0653. (Map and driving directions)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Buy Locally for the Holidays

Elpasonaturally likes the idea of buying from local businesses for the holiday shopping . . . and beyond the holidays shopping. You can read the message that has gone viral that encourages American consumers to buy locally. As those on the Frontera, we can also consider products from Juarez and Chihuahua as being local as well. So, as we approach “Black Friday” and the holiday insanity, here are some thoughts.

Last e-letter, I recommended that you get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. See their list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page. Also get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso and check out Craig’s List for El Paso. Check out Small Business Saturday on Facebook. Here are some more specific suggestions:

Go to Jackson Polk’s for history and heritage DVDs about El Paso. They ship anywhere and they have 13 different DVD titles – all about El Paso. You can buy them online or at about fifty El Paso and Southern New Mexico stores and gift shops. Jackson’s new "Ghost Stories of El Paso Vol.3" will be available starting this Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m., Nov. 26, 2011, at the DVD release party at the El Paso Main Library downtown, 502 N. Oregon. You can see the program for free in the library auditorium. (Map)

Our friends, Bobby and Lee Byrd, are the owners of Cinco Puntos Press. They publish books for all ages including a new one by daughter and City Representative, Susie Byrd, and candidate for U.S. Congress, Beto O’Rourke. Their book, Dealing Death and Drugs, was the subject of an EP Times story yesterday.

Check out Cactus Mary Soap. Mary Fountaine makes her all natural, cold process soaps by hand in Central El Paso. You can buy from her online as well.

Many of you who read the El Paso Hiker and who like to hike, run, walk or marathon will appreciate El Pasoan Dr. David Williams’ web site with a cyber store – the Runnin’ Bunion.

Buy gift certificates from your favorite restaurants such as El Paso eatery icons: Kiki’s and House of Pizza. Ardovino’s Desert Crossing is not just fine dining but owners, Marina and Robert Ardovino, strive to bring locally produced foods and beverages to your table.

Support your local artists and shop at the Downtown Art Market this Saturday November 26, 2011 from 9 to 1 in the Union Plaza District.

This e-letter and elpasonaturally will post suggestions for great local holiday buys. If you or someone you know has goodies that make great presents, please let me know. Keep checking elpasonaturally for local shopping suggestions.

Downtown Art Market: Shop Locally on Saturday

The Downtown Art Market observes

Small Business Saturday with local artists

November 26th

Union Plaza District


The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), in its continuing effort to support local artists, announces its participation in the national “Small Business Saturday” project, encouraging the El Paso community to shop local at the Downtown Art Market on Saturday November 26, 2011 from 9am-1pm. (Map of Union Plaza District)

On one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, participating Downtown Art Market artists have gathered to promote 20 gifts under $20 this Saturday. Local artists will also be offering free holiday craft s for children including making clay gingerbread men.

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

The Downtown Art Market launched on October 29th and occurs every Saturday from 9am-1pm at Union Plaza. The event attracts El Pasoans and visitor’s downtown and provides opportunities for local artists to sell their work.

Nabhan Speaks at UTEP at 5PM Today

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Ethnobotanist, conservationist, farmer, essayist and internationally-celebrated nature writer, Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan, will lecture and sign his new book, Chasing Chiles, this evening in Room 116 at the Undergraduate Learning Center on the UTEP campus. A reception will follow at the Centennial Museum. (Map)

Nabhan was the Founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. He co-founded Native Seeds/Search, a clearinghouse of native varieties of agricultural seeds of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico, and founded RAFT (Renewing America's Food Traditions), "an alliance of food, farming, environmental and culinary advocates who have joined together to identify, restore and celebrate America's biologically and culturally diverse food traditions through conservation, education, promotion and regional networking."

Mother Earth News has called Gary (an orchard-keeper and wild forager) "the father of the local food movement."He is also an Ecumenical Franciscan brother.

Chasing Chiles is co-authored with Kurt Michael Friese and Kraig Kraft. "Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper - from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Experience Bliss and an Eatery Institution

There’s a surge in planned hikes in our region! More and more people are hiking and looking for groups to hike with. Keep going to Celebration of Our Mountains , El Paso Hiking Meet-up and the Las Cruces Hiking Meet-up. Also check out the Ocotillo Hikers of Las Cruces.

Here’s one hike that doesn’t appear on any of the above but sure has me excited:

Bliss Sandstone Field Trip! Meet in the Mountain Park area of NE El Paso just off Magnetic/Alabama at Titanic and Big Bend tomorrow (Thursday, November 17, 2011) at 7 a.m. Hike to an interesting feature of Bliss Sandstone in the Franklins. Afterwards plan to eat at an El Paso Institution: the New Clock on Dyer which one veteran hiker has described as “the finest cuisine Northeast El Paso has to offer.”

Composed of small grains of quartz embedded in a matrix of sericite and kaolin and taking its name from Fort Bliss, Bliss Sandstone is a Paleozoic formation of the Ordovician/Cambrian Periods roughly 500 million years ago. Dating is based on “Annelid borings both perpendicular and parallel . . . in the Bliss sandstone.” (Citation here.) Although “the main occurrence of the Bliss sandstone is along the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains” . . . there are also “ outcrops in small areas on the upper western flanks of the central part of the range.” In fact, I have a sample found on the western side of the ridge above Fusselman Canyon along the Ron Coleman Trail not far from the Mammoth and our beloved Winkie. Bliss Sandstone is primarily ancient beach sands deposited in shallow, offshore waters. Similar formations are found in Central Texas, southwestern New Mexico and Arizona including the Tonto sandstone of the Grand Canyon. (Picture)

A fied trip to see Bliss Sandstone followed by breakfast at the New Clock – Priceless!

This weekend you can go birding in the lower valley (Tornillo, McNary, Fort Hancock) and see shore and wading birds. You can look for Fluorspar in the mines, adits and prospects that dot Bishop’s Cap. Franklin Hills is the launch site for two more hikes this weekend. On Saturday there will be a trails hike that can be done with moderate ease or moderate difficulty – whichever description you prefer. As you hike into the Franklin Mountains State Park you can see land to be developed and, hopefully, land to be permanently preserved. On Sunday take a more leisurely route and stroll and see the fossils in the area. Both hikes will be led by Master Naturalist and Master Hiker, Tommy Young.

Finally, if you are interested in the Crane Festival at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge (just below Socorro, New Mexico), this weekend is a good time to go. Contact Coordinator Carol Brown at 915-630-1424 for more information.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Today's E-Letter: Reyes Deputy Chief of Staff Loses Control

Value conservation, preserved open natural space, green infrastructure/low impact development? Head doesn’t bob like a dashboard ornament? APPLY TO SERVE ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD. The Public Service Board is accepting applications for one vacancy. Applicants must have education and professional expertise in the field of Communications, Public Administration or Education. Go here for more information. Hurry. The deadline for receiving applications is Monday, November 28, by 5 p.m. Any application received after 5:00 p.m. on November 28 will not be considered.

Here’s a story you won’t read in the Times: Representative Silvestre Reyes’ Deputy Chief of Staff, Sal Payan, lost all control at the regular monthly meeting of City Council Rep. Susie Byrd whose guest was candidate Beto O’Rourke. The meeting happened on November 3rd at Tierra del Sol Mexican Restaurant. It’s sad to report that a tax payer-paid staff member of Congressman Reyes verbally assaulted Mr. O’Rourke. Since the elpasonaturally post about this matter, I’ve interviewed five other people who were witnesses. All told the same story about Mr. Payan’s rudeness and incivility which even caused kitchen staff to come into the dining area to see what was wrong. The behavior of a Chief of Staff says a great deal about the caliber of representative we currently have.

There is a story that you will read in the Times probably on Sunday and it will be worthwhile to read. It is great news about Castner Range, Frontera Land Alliance and Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. I’ll let top-notch reporter, Chris Roberts, tell it. The Castner Conservation Conveyance Report is now published. The study was done by CALIBRE Systems, Inc. of Alexandria, Virginia with funding from a $300,000 Office of Economic Adjustment/Department of Defense grant.

If you want to give input and suggestions for projects for the 2012 bond election, visit the home page of the City of El Paso. Here’s the message:

“City and County Officials and downtown business leaders have announced the beginning of the public process for a November 2012 bond election. Our city is constantly changing, lifestyles are shifting and the needs and opportunities are abundant. The proposed election will create new ideas for bold economic development and quality of life initiatives.

“The call for community projects is the beginning of a public process to provide voters the opportunity to request projects to improve the quality of life in El Paso and recommend key signature projects to create a more dynamic environment for downtown.”

Of course, voters may still be in a foul mood in a year for anything having to do with “spending”. They certainly were with regard to Propositions in the last election. Although a majority of people in El Paso County who voted last Tuesday wanted the kind of Regional Park District as recommended by a Blue Ribbon Committee for the City and championed by all of El Paso’s State representatives, a majority of Texans probably saw the words “ad valorem taxes” in Proposition 7 and voted it down as if what happens in El Paso will affect their jerking knees. Those same Texans favored big contractor water projects (Proposition 2) but opposed the conservation efforts of Proposition 8.

There seems to be a real effort to encourage American consumers not just to buy American but buy local during the upcoming holidays. “Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition” is the subject of an email that has gone viral and is being picked up by web sites and blogs of all varieties and persuasions. The opening paragraph reads:

“As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!”

If you haven’t gotten the message in your e-mail, read it here.

Buying local is living sustainably. Get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. You'll find a list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page. You can get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso. Do check out Craig’s List for El Paso. El Paso has a great bilingual publisher for your holiday shopping: Cinco Puntos Press.

Also for sustainable living, check out the El Paso Freecycle Group. It’s part of the Freecycle Network, a “grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills.” Many thanks to Judy Ackerman for this link. Check it out, folks.

Finally, here’s a dream for the City of El Paso’s open space policies and programs: Visit the Open Space page for the City of Albuquerque. Imagine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Birth of a New Tradition

My buddy, Mike Mecke, forwarded this to me:

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or abook of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?
I googled the title and actually found it posted all over the web - on far left sites, far right sites, generational blogs, blogs for women, editorials, etc., etc. It's viral which is to say that it's popular. It's also a great idea for helping your local economy, i.e. your friends and neighbors. So, if sustainability is what we are about, let's sustain the businesses in our own community. It cuts shipping costs, reduces carbon footprints and builds community.

All of us have favorite stores, restaurants, haircutters, gyms, home care services. Get a copy of the El Paso Scene or visit it online. You'll find a list of bazaars and fairs on their Round-Up page.

You can get a list of local El Paso businesses at Homegrown El Paso.

It's a new tradition that can become a great new way of living all of the time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reyes Chief of Staff Loses Control

Last Thursday candidate for U.S. Representative, Beto O’Rourke, was Susie Byrd’s guest at her monthly breakfast. It’s sad to report that he was targeted by a very rude member of Silvestre Reyes’ taxpayer-paid staff. Artist and nearby resident, Ho Baron reports:

“There were maybe 20 people at the forum, two of them evidently from Reyes’ office. Beto spoke about 20 minutes, then opened the discussion for questions. He had discussed the poor veterans facilities in the city, and one guy stood up ranting about Beto being a liar regarding the veterans. He wouldn’t shut up until another guy yelled: ‘We didn’t come here to hear you.’ The guy ranted on until the moderator, Susie’s assistant, interfered, and he finally shut his mouth. The guy was really rude.”

Rep. Byrd was out of town but her assistant, Judy Gutierrez, was there on her behalf. Judy identified the rude man as Sal Payan, Rep. Reyes’ Chief-of-Staff, a taxpayer-paid position and not a campaign person. Mr. Payan apparently lost control, was yelling so loudly that kitchen staff came out to see what was happening, and called Mr. O’Rourke a “liar”. More than one person asked Mr. Payan to settle down. Ms. Gutierrez with assistance from outraged members of the audience finally got this tax-payer paid public official to quit his ranting. Judy reminded everyone that courtesy is to be given speakers, Mr. Reyes will be Rep. Byrd’s guest early next year, and that the community breakfasts are not a forum for debate and certainly not an excuse for incivility.

More later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In

Here's more about rainwater management. This may seem crazy now that El Paso is in a drought and it isn't even rainy season. Perhaps, though, now is the time to plan for better water conservation measures - even for your own personal yard or the landscaping around your business.

Good definition: "Sustainable societies are those that embrace institutions, infrastructure and lifestyles that meet current needs without compormising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Philadelphia "LEED"s the Way with Water Conservation

Opening early next year will be the Paisano Green Community, an affordable green housing development by the City of El Paso Housing Authority. "The project is expected to receive the highest rating through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system - platinium - and be certifed through Enterprise Green Communities."

Here is a video of the Onion Flats project in Philadelphia which also incorporates stormwater/rainwater management and water conservation. It's eleven minutes, but an eleven minutes worth spending:

Imagine what advantages El Pasoans could gain from using similar water conservation techniques in building, development and landscaping. We are, after all, a bit drier than Philadelphia.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cactus Appreciation Month

Click on image to enlarge.

YES on 8 and NO on 2

Knock yourself out if you want to read the entire 2012 Draft State Water Plan from the Texas Water Development Board. Here's what one water conservationist wrote with some hyperbole:
"I just skimmed through all 200+ pages of the 2012 TWDB Water Plan and there is not one mention of rainwater harvesting as part of the overall plan to have enough water to meet the State's needs. They're recommending up to two dozen new dam projects at a gazillion dollars each. What if that same money provided catchment on every governmental building in the State? Provided low-cost tanks to homeowners? Created a whole new employment sector of people trained to install such systems? How about requiring all air-conditioned buildings to reuse their A/C condensate for flushing toilets? I could go on and on, but I see no cutting edge thinking in this proposed plan, just the same old stuff: build reservoirs, move water from point A to B, desalinate, etc."
In an email response, water resources expert Mike Mecke says that the 2012 TWDB Water Plan "goes to the old engineer's and planner's philosophy that 'a project can't be any good unless it costs millions and is very complex!'" (He might as well be talking about El Paso with all of our huge ponds and no apparent knowledge of green infrastructure/low impact development and rain water harvesting.)

Now enter Proposition 2 which "would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds on a continuing basis for one or more accounts of the Texas Water Development Fund II, with the restriction that the total amount of bonds outstanding at any time does not exceed $6 billion." Wow!

The TWDB calls for too many reservoirs in their 2012 Plan. Proposition 2 gives the TWDB almost unlimited power to grant the building of these expensive projects. These projects have nothing to do with water conservation. They have everything to do with a few contractors making lots of money.

The Independent Texans PAC doesn't like Proposition 2 and neither do some anti-tax groups.

Proposition 2 is bad news. Vote NO. But then there is Proposition 8, the water stewardship amendment.

Mecke sees in Proposition 8 "no drawbacks and no lost tax base and a management alternative to properly manage lands for watershed and riparian purposes." He goes on to say:

"Conservation is always the 'cheapest new water'. Land Stewardship efforts, especially in some regions, the best 'win-win' for city users and rural folks. Concerted rainwater harvesting programs for all towns (and rural homes) would be very beneficial - require it on all new construction, at least for outside uses or flushing toilets in public buildings, etc. Stormwater catchments could help water public areas and reduce street flooding and stream pollution too."

Simply put: YES on 8. NO on 2. (And keep your eye on those Perry rascals on the TWDB. Perry's no conservative and no friend of tax payers. He's for enriching his cronies.)

Must Read Rio Bosque White Paper

John Sproul wrote the following white paper for the Open Space Advisory Board which heard him and others yesterday regarding the Rio Bosque. The others included Chuy (Brother of Silvestre) Reyes who said that he loved the Bosque and took his children there. He also says that a turnout will be constructed for water to get from the Bustamante to the Drain to the Park and construction will just take days. He hedged on the exact date of the construction. Anyway, John's paper is a must read. In his introductory summary, he writes:

"This paper is divided into two sections. Section 1 summarizes the history of the wetlands project at Rio Bosque Park, which is helpful for understanding the gap between the original goals for the project and current conditions. Section 2 focuses on water at Rio Bosque. It discusses:

•water availability since the start of the project,
•projects underway to bring additional water to the park,
•volumes of water needed to achieve management goals at Rio Bosque, and
•five potential strategies for securing water during the critical growing season.

Other strategies exist as well, but the common feature of the five strategies discussed here is that El Paso Water Utilities would be an essential participant in each."

Please read the paper:

White Paper - Rio Bosque Water 11-10-25
Click on the first icon after the Scribd "S" on the left side of the tool bar for full screen.