Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Drought Update 02/28/2007, Courtesy of City of Plano

Greetings from the City of Plano Public Works Department:

Just an update on where we are with the drought. January provided some significant rainfall but February has been very disappointing in the way of precipitation. The City of Plano and other surrounding cities are still in Stage 3 water use restrictions. Some restrictions and time of day watering schedules for Plano were updated in November 2006. If you want to review the restrictions you can find drought information at

Despite the improved lake levels, water officials are still concerned about the current water resources for north Texas and how far it will go to meet demand for the year 2007. Two years of historically significant drought and the enormous amount of energy that has gone into conserving the current supply have taught us that it is wise to be cautious. As we monitor the rainfall, lake levels and weather forecasts for our region, city officials will decide the best course of action to take that will stretch our water supplies until two major water projects can be brought on line in early 2008. These projects, the Lake Tawakoni project and the East Fork Reuse project, will help ease the squeeze between supply and demand for our area.

Lake levels and rainfall for Lake Lavon and Lake Chapman:
Elevation 2/27/06 2/27/07 Difference
Lake Lavon 482.38 484.64 2.26’ higher
Lake Chapman 426.94 430.02 3.08’ higher

Rainfall Jan. ’06 Jan. ’07 Feb. ’06 Feb. ’07
Lake Lavon 2.05” 5.95” 2.97” 0.41”
Lake Chapman 3.53” 5.82” 4.47” 0.68”

Thus, it can be seen that we have the potential of entering the growing season with lake elevations that are higher than this same time last year. The total rainfall for Lake Lavon for the months of January and February 2007 is 6.36 inches. In January and February 2006 the total was 5.02 inches. The concern is the low amount of rainfall (0.41”) in February 2007. Let’s hope this trend does not continue.

The total rainfall for Lake Chapman for the months of January and February 2007 is 6.50 inches. In January and February 2006 the total was 8.00 inches. Again, the concern is the low amount of rainfall in February 2007.

The Drought Forecast from NOAA indicates uncertainty concerning the rainfall for the next three months. It does not show the North Texas area as one that will improve or worsen. The normal amount of rainfall for the 3-month period March – May is 12.23 inches. Last year, during that 3-month period we received 8.15 inches, 65% of that received in March alone. It appears that the months of April and May will be critical this year.

Lorrie Reeves
City of Plano
Water Education Coordinator

Friday, February 23, 2007

Listen to us LIVE on WBAP tomorrow!

David and I will be appearing live tomorrow on “Ask Andrea” on WBAP 820. Tune in on your radio (if you’re local to Dallas-Ft. Worth) or listen live via their website:

We’ll talk about sustainable landscape design and native plants starting around 2:25pm CST. Enjoy!

Press Release!

Check out David and representatives from Keep Denton Beautiful receiving their award from Urban Forestry Council! See, David really does clean up well. ;-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Outdoor Enthusiasts and College Students

Tuesday evening we spoke to Texins Outdoor Club at REI Dallas. We spoke about the interconnectedness of the Trinity River Basin, landscaping methods and outdoor activities. Dallas-Ft. Worth is located at the headwaters of the Trinity River, which serves as primary water source for up to 20-50% of all Texans. Fragile veins of its tributaries mark the beginning of the journey of water: Spring Creek in Plano and White Rock Creek in Plano/Dallas carry water, trash and pollutants from our lawns and landscapes into the Trinity and eventually end up in Galveston Bay. Not only is the healthy balance of these ecosystems affected directly by the way we landscape, it also impacts our enjoyment of kayaking, biking, camping and hiking. It is imperative every homeowner make changes in their lawn and landscape to manage their resources more responsibly.

Yesterday we had a booth at Richland College's Sustainable Yards fair. We spoke with several people about native plants and sustainable landscaping methods. Terrific turnout: I talked non-stop from 10:15am through 1:30pm when the fair ended. Some would say that is not unusual for me...;-)

We will end our week with a few meetings and possibly an appearance on a local radio show. Details will be available later today; I'll post them here. Please tune in or call in your questions!

Don't forget about Shades of Green Nursery's Open House, Saturday, March 3rd, 9am to 3 or 4pm. We will have a vendor booth and look forward to speaking with you.

It's beginning to look a lot like Spring, not Christmas...

Green Renovation Program

The team from This Old House returned to Texas for the first time in 28 years -- what took them so long? ;-) This green-rebuilding project is located in Austin's historic Hyde Park neighborhood. First part of this series airs tonight (Thursday, 2/22) at 7pm on KERA.

Get Fresh with Sara Snow

Copied from an email sent my Organic Gardening:

"Tune in this Thursday, February 22 to see America's original organic farm and home of the Organic Gardening test garden. On "Get Fresh with Sara Snow," airing at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on the Discovery Health Channel, OG Editor Scott Meyer gives host Sara Snow a tour of the greenhouse at the Rodale family farm, and the two discuss what it means to grow food year-round in a natural, sustainable environment.

For more information on this cool new television program and its host, go to:"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

News to Share!

Wednesday, February 14th, David attended a luncheon hosted by two local chapters of the Urban Forestry Council. Our design for Keep Denton Beautiful's Project Post Oak received an award! We always say we are the luckiest people in the world, because every day we have the privilege of helping homeowners and other entities restore their community's natural beauty. Satisfaction enough. But to be recognized with an award and glad-handing is OK, too. :-)

I'm dying to announce other news but can't until a few details are confirmed -- please check back!

We have scheduled additional work days at Edna Rowe Elementary School in Dallas, if you're looking for a feel-good project to do your part. Saturday, February 24th, March 24th & March 31st, 8am to noon. Come join us! We'll finish most of the hardscape stuff on 2/24 and hope to start planting in March.

In case you haven't heard, we're writing a monthly article for HOME Magazine DFW. I'll have more info soon about subscribing (since several of you have asked) and, perhaps, back issues of our articles. More writing projects are underway; I hope to make big announcements about some (or all) of them this spring.

The best news of all is, an enormous change we never thought would happen is happening, in real time, right before our very eyes. Residents of and decision-makers for Dallas-Ft. Worth-Denton are taking great strides toward sustainability. People have awakened to the need for 'greening up' their homes and properties, and we're are STOKED (yes, I said stoked) to ride the wave of this much-needed, long-overdue movement. Collin College's Earth Day event this year has grown from a one-day, three-hour event, to a multi-day, multi-hour earthy extravaganza. I'll post details and a link to our event's website very's truly exciting to participate in all these opportunities to raise our collective consciousness about our impact on the planet.

According to the most recent forecast, spring really is just around the corner. I'm all smiles...

Must-See TV

PBS' special "Texas--The State of Springs", a Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept program narrated by Walter Cronkite. Addresses current water issues, rapidly-depleting natural springs, and steps we can each take to conserve our water consumption. Debuted February 15th; check with your local PBS station for re-broadcast times.

"This Old House Hour", also on PBS, will broadcast their first home makeover project in Texas in 28 years. The home is located in Austin and the renovation follows strictly GREEN guidelines. First broadcast will be Thursday, February 22nd; check with your local PBS station for broadcast times.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Featured Green Business: The Clean Green Bag Co.

I learned something new about shopping bags. All along, I thought by using paper bags I was making a greener choice. Not so. According to "The Facts" enumerated on
"plastic bags consume 40% less energy to produce than paper pags, and
plastic bags generate 80% less solid waste than paper bags.
as waste, paper bags produce 70 times more air
pollutants than plastic bags, and
as waste, paper bags produce 50 times more water
pollutants than plastic bags.
Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose!"

I often forget my reusable cloth bags when I do my grocery shopping, but after reading this website, I will make a greater effort to remember them. Read "The Alternative" page for international success stories about reducing consumption of paper and plastic bags.

Anyone care to comment on this information?

Phil Might Be Right

During our morning walk of our neighborhood creek (an unnamed tributary of White Rock Creek), Folsom and I explored the meadow and wooded areas abutting its limestone banks. Folsom, of course, hunted for rabbits and squirrels and rodents; he was oblivious to the Cardinal and Blue Heron. While he scampered, nose to the ground, I looked up into the trees. Today there seemed to be more birds than just yesterday. Not just in number but number of species, as well. In fact, everything looked a bit different, even the plants. I didn't notice new spring growth on Coralberry -- the thicket of 30 or 40 plants are still loaded with berries. Seedheads are still perched atop dormant Goldenrod. Obviously, it's still winter, but hints of imminent spring are everywhere. Mexican Hat rosettes pepper the meadow, along with juvenile Indian Blanket, Verbascum, and many other wildflowers. It won't be long before the deciduous trees and shrubs refoliate and colorful blooms emerge. The groundhog did not see his shadow last Friday. If legend holds true, perhaps the splendor of spring will arrive very soon.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Note About Scheduling

Next week, we will officially begin holiding spring hours (although we have unofficially held them since mid-January.) Regular business hours through June are Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm, and Saturdays 9am to noon, when possible. Most of our earthy events (e.g. presentations, workshops, festivals, etc.) are held weekday evenings and on Saturdays. If you find you must meet on Saturday, please contact us as soon as possible. We always try to accommodate our clients' schedules and may, when available, make an evening appointment. Thus far, we are available on the following Saturdays (but availability will change):
February 24th
March 24th
March 31st
April 7th
May 12th, 19th, and 26th
June 2nd