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Soil erosion is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing the U.S. Today. Nearly 6 billion tons of soil wash or blow away each year. Soil erosion cost between $6 and $16 billion a year. Soil erosion is the deterioration of soil by the physical movement of soil particles from a given site. Wind, water, ice, animals, and the use of tools by man are usually the main causes of soil erosion.
Topsoil contains most of the soil’s nutrients, organic matter, and pesticides. Soil erosion causes the substances to move also. What is left behind is soil with poorer structure, lower water-holding capacity, different pH values, low nutrient levels, and lower resistance to drought. Therefore, fertilizers and organic matter must be added in an attempt restore the soil to its original composition.
Much of the eroded soil is deposited in low lying areas or eventually enters drainage ditches, streams, lakes ponds, or rivers. Soil that enters watercourse reduces water quality, reduces the efficiency of drainage systems and the storage capacity of lakes. This sediment often requires being manual removed. Sediment is considered to be a major pollutant and can inhibit fish spawn and block sunlight that is crucial in plant life.
The four most common soil erosion prevention methods are vegetation, geotextiles, mulch, and retaining walls. Turfgrass is the most cost-effective method for controlling erosion. Grass binds the soil more effectively than any other plant. The reason is that each grass plant has an extensive root system. Healthy turf areas absorb rainfall 6 times more effectively than a wheat field and 4 times better than a hay field. A thick healthy lawn reduces runoff almost to zero. Sod is one way to achieve this but up and coming by popular demand is Hydroseeding.
Hydroseeding is a mixture of fertilize, mulch, seed, and a binding agent called tackifier. It is applied by a machine and is 1/3rd of the price of sod. By applying a layer of mulch to the soil top allows the soil to slowly soak up water, it protects against rain impact, and holds the seed in place so it is not washed away. Mulch also provides protection of seeds from heat and birds during the germination process, and added organic components to enrich the soil after the lawn is established.
by Kent Davis, eParis Extra Columnist
Turf Workz Hydroseeding
With today’s ecological concerns, many more people are considering planting turfgrass for its immediate environmental benefits. The U.S. Congress has acknowledged these positive benefits to our environment, by saying:
“Turfgrass in urban areas and communities can aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, mitigating the heat island effect, reducing energy consumption and contributing to efforts to reduce global warming.”
One of the major causes of our growing water quality problem is runoff of contaminants from hard surfaces, such as roads and parking lots. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has titled this process “Stormwater Runoff.” Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground.
As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building roof tops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharge untreated.
Runoff can be reduced by establishing new lawns and turfgrass areas. Turfgrass purifies the water as it moves through the root zone and down into our underground aquifers. Soil microbes help break down chemicals into harmless materials. This filtration system is so effective that rain water filtered through a good healthy lawn is often as much as 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface.
These filtration properties are also the reason that turfgrass is used to help recycle reclaimed water. Reclaimed water cannot be returned to most municipal water supplies or released into streams, lakes, or oceans, but it can be irrigated onto turfgrass where it’s cleaned as it passes down the root zone. Ten percent of U.S. golf courses are already using reclaimed water for their turfgrass irrigation.
Healthy growing turfgrasses act as biological filters and remove atmospheric pollutants. In addition to the positive benefits to the environment, turfgrasses play an important agronomic role in Texas.
by Kent Davis
Contributor, eParis Extra!
Kent Davis is a Paris Native and owner of Turf Workz Hydroseeding. Turf Workz is a Hydroseeding and Erosion Control company that services residential and commercial markets. Kent graduated from North Lamar High School and attended Paris Junior College. Turf Workz is a tenant of R3BI under the supervision of Director Hank Betke. Kent has been employed at Sara Lee Bakery, Kroger Facility Engineering and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners.
As the Trail de Paris extends west, Northeast Texas Trail Coalition further completes the organization’s “master plan”, a continuous 132-mile long recreational trail converted from unused railway corridors to enhance economic development in Northeast Texas.
Land for constructing the trail through Northeast Texas is provided at no cost through a federal law passed in 1983 called the National Trails System Act.
Through the act, railroad rights of way are preserved for future reactivation of rail service and are able to be donated or sold to public and private “rail bank entities”.
The Union Pacific Railroad, the Kiamichi Railroad, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy have deeded 132 miles of unused railway lines to 13 different trail entities throughout Northeast Texas for specific use as a non-motorized trail.
The Northeast Texas Trail, once completed, will travel through 19 rural communities, linking residents and visitors to retail shops, camp sites, restaurants, and different local attractions along the trail. The Trail de Paris “master plan” will also include safe routes to schools, which is being paid for by the Safe Route to Schools grant.
“Recreational trail projects provide a local and visitor-oriented recreational and quality-of-life amenity that enhances regional economic development, broadens the tax base, increases employment, attracts new businesses, supports the retention and expansion of businesses already in the area, and promote public/private partnerships,” according to Steve Gilbert, executive director of Paris Economic Development Corporation.
To date, more than 18 thousand miles of rail to trail has been successfully created across the country. The Mineral Wells-Weatherford trail in Texas attracts 300 thousand people each year, and generates $2 million annually. Ohio’s Little Miami Scene Trail visitors spend $13.54 per visit, excluding lodging according to reports.
On May 24, 2012, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission granted $100,000 to the City of Blossom / Rail Trail project to build a 1.5-mile, 12-foot wide, all-weather asphalt recreational trail from their west to east city limits.
The TPWC also granted the City of Clarksville / Gate to Texas Trail project with $128,000.00 to construct a 2-mile crushed aggregate recreational trail from their west to east city limits via the TPW Recreational Trail Fund.
Once completed, the trails will add another 1.5 miles to the trails system in Paris, Reno, and Lamar County for a total linear length of 12 miles, and will add 3.5 miles in length to the Northeast Texas Trail system.
The Northeast Texas Trail Coalition will be holding its quarterly meeting next week at the Farmersville Civic Center on 201 Orange Street in Farmersville, Texas at 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend according to Northeast Texas Trails advocate Earl Erickson.
Updates will be given on the construction progress of the Chaparral Trail, which links Farmersville to Paris, along with updates on the Trail de Paris and the Partnership for the Pathway trail system which will link New Boston to Paris.
For more information about the Trail de Paris and the Northeast Texas Trail, visit the trail’s website at http://www.traildeparis.org/.
Group working to develop 130-mile trail from Farmersville to Paris to New Boston holding quarterly meeting on August 10th in Roxton, Texas.
The Northeast Texas Trail Coalition is holding its next quarterly meeting on Friday, August 10, from 1:00- 3:30 at the Roxton Fine Arts Building in Roxton, Texas (303 Denton St., Roxton, 75477). Lunch will be at 12:00pm, prior to the meeting. NETT quarterly meetings are open to the public and supporters, press, and anyone else with interest is encouraged to come. It is requested that anyone that is planning to attend RSVP to Adam Wood, Secretary using the contact information at the top of this page.
During this meeting, representatives from along the 130 mile future trail corridor will talk about new projects and the status of existing projects. Representatives will be available to answer questions. In addition, Dawn Frederickson of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will give a presentation titled “Katy Trail State Park: 20 Years Later.” She will talk about the success of Missouri’s 230+ mile long trail and what lessons can be applied to the Northeast Texas Trail. Additional information about the Katy Trail can be found here: http://www.bikekatytrail.com/.
The NETT is excited to announce that a small group of cyclists will be riding from Farmersville to Roxton on the morning of the meeting. The group will ride along the trail corridor where it is passable and will take parallel county roads where it is not. The group will tentatively depart Farmersville at 6:00am on the 10th. They will ride approximately 55 miles, which will take about five and a half hours. Members of the press are invited to the departure in Farmersville. Photo opportunities between Farmersville and Roxton can be coordinated in advance.
Please contact Adam Wood, Secretary using the contact information at the top of the page for more information.
About the Northeast Texas Trail Coalition
The Northeast Texas Trail Coalition (NETT) is actively working to improve the quality of life and enhance economic development in the northeast Texas area through a collaborative effort to create a continuous, 130-mile trail that links residents and visitors to points of interest, retail shops, restaurants, camp sites, local attractions, and communities. The trail will be designed for use by bicyclists, walkers,
runners, hikers, horse-back riders, bird watchers, families, tourists, and nature lovers whether they are able bodied or mobility impaired.
The Northeast Texas Trail is a Rails-to-Trails conversion along two unused railroad rights-of-way, which roughly run from Farmersville, to Paris, to New Boston. The Union Pacific Railroad, the Kiamichi Railroad and the Rails to Trails Conservancy have deeded the right-of-way to the cities, counties, and trail organizations along the 130 miles for specific use as a non-motorized trail. Once completed, the Northeast Texas Trail will be the fifth longest trail in the nation.
Image Source: www.txktrails.org
My name is Josh Allen. I’m twenty four years old, a writer and artist. I was born here in Paris Texas, and despite my escapades, have always made it back here. I love this town and its people. I always try and give my support to locally owned businesses — which I think provide the best.
I am the managing editor for this, www.eParisExtra.com. I try and keep the content as fresh as I can — as do the great other contributors . I thought I would start this post by telling you a little about myself and by saying that I am open to criticsm and comments always. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can always reach me there.
To get on with the point of this, I’ve been absolutely shocked by some visitors at this current residence that I live in. I feel it unappropriate for myself — and my landlord — to tell you my exact address, but let’s put it this way: I live on Pine Bluff Street, just east of the downtown area.
I’m sure that all Paris citizens are very aware of Pine Bluff Street and know that it is completely surrounded by this city that we call home. For those of you reading this that are residents on Pine Bluff, you know how busy this street is — both day and night, continuously. Cars drive by and drive by. The noise of the street is a bit alarming. My front door doesn’t sit more than 30 feet from this busy road, and you can bet that the cars’ noise is very audible.
Continuing to the point, I’ve had frequent — and by frequent, I mean everyday and night — visitors to my home’s front porch area from about the time the sun goes down until very early hours of the morning — or by all accounts, when the cat food is gone.
I have four cats at my house that live outside — they eat a lot and are large. They are not much for ‘guard’ cats, but they lay around the porch and try and stay cool during the heat of the Texas day, eating at night when it is cool. I place their food bowls — or in some lazy cases, food piles — right on the front porch. Naturally, they never eat as much food as I put out for them, so they leave plenty of left overs laying around.
It’s these left over bowls and piles of cat food that attract these very interesting visitors — raccoons. These animals are not endangered or anything, and seem to have plentiful numbers all over the area. It’s not such an oddity that they are at my house eating all my cats’ food at night. The cats just sit and watch, not bothered in the least by these intruders, and the raccoons are just animals fueled by the need for food, so they find it.
The oddity is that they live under my porch — on one of the busiest streets in town. Not just one or two hypothetical ‘bandits’, but an entire family. Two larger, which I assume to be the mother and father, and four smaller, baby raccoons.
To add to my apparent wonder at their presence, they lack fear of humans, just sudden movements. I sit among this little family of mammals each night, as I read and they eat. It’s quite humorous to watch them. They eat with their hands most times and always stop beside the cats’ water bowl to wash their hands — a very interesting thing to watch, they lack only soap or they’d wash just as humans do.
Many times I’ve thought to call the city, and I will. But not before I watch these fury creatures for a few more nights. My cats are unbothered and seem to be okay sharing their food for my entertainment. Not only is it entertaining, but very informative, and a far cry better than the Discovery channel.
Upon the capture of pictures, I decided to share this ‘news’ with you. Although, I’ve yet to get an image of the whole family (There are only two raccoons — the mother and father, I believe — on display in the images I’ve provided. The entire family, as a whole, rarely come out. They check it out and eat one or two at a time). They are not necessarily fans of the camera, and with the light levels low from my dim porch light and their frequent and sporadic movements, it is very hard to actually obtain a still shot photograph without it being blurry. I’ve done what I can and included those photos with this post.
This is for my enjoyment of writing and to also give a little glimpse of ‘Our Great Outdoors’ and those creatures living in it. Thank you for your support in the Extra — we could not do it without you. Keep reading for the best up-to-date FREE news in Paris, Texas.
Article and Photos by Josh Allen/Managing Editor - eParis Extra!