February 1, 2012
This one comes from John Blackburn of FSC affiliate, Blackburn Architects:
One of our readers, Kelly, had a few great questions for me and I’d like to address two in today’s blog. (PS – Kelly writes a blog called Ride, Groom, Feed -the journal of a New Zealand Rider.) I hope my answers are helpful as it’s somewhat difficult to be specific since so much depends on your site, your program, and your goals. Thanks for your questions and for reading.
Q: “How can you allow flexibility for future development (that may never occur) without constricting the initial plans too much?”
A: Building for flexibility has its limits and you need to at least have a rough idea about how things might change in the future so you can plan for it in a reasonable and cost-effective way. Too much flexibility could ultimately end up adding to your costs, especially if the future needs are never realized. Here’s a couple of examples.
Regarding a site plan, say you want to build a 12-stall barn now, but may add or increase it to total 24 stalls later. I would recommend building a 12-stall barn with all of the horse stalls to one end so that you can add the future stalls to the other end to produce a 24-stall barn. That way the barn services (tack room, feed room, wash stalls, lounge/office, bathrooms) are all located to the center, where they are most efficient for a 24-stall barn. At the same time, if the services are at one end of a 12-stall barn, it’s still efficient for daily use.
Another example may be the question of where to build a barn and an outdoor arena with the idea that you’d like to add an indoor arena at some point in the future. A master plan can really help you to determine a phased build out of your entire program over time. If you do it once and take the time to fully plan for your entire potential program, you can determine the best placement for each structure and identify potential pitfalls to your site, understanding what can work best for your needs. There is no easy or simple explanation in this instance, but a master plan will help you (literally) visualize your success now and into the future.
Q: “I live in an area where it rains a lot. What are the most effective drainage solutions? Where should run-off water go? What kind of drains are the safest?”
Make sure the barn is on high ground and that all grade around the barn drains away from the barn. Same with paddock gates and lead paths. You can create storm drainage swales that lead to bio-retention ponds or back into the ground without eroding the surface soils. Safe drains depend on where they are located and their size. I try to avoid any conditions where a horse can step into or off a ledge and suffer a foot or leg injury. Use French drains where necessary to drain water into the soil without creating surface conditions that become or create hazards. Good site planning is critical and is another area where an experienced equestrian architect can provide a valuable service that the inexperienced architect does not have (and you will rarely receive from the design build or prefab barn builder).
January 23, 2012
It’s not often that our morning commute gets us excited for the workday. But today we heard a story on the radio that caused us to bump up the speedometer a bit. The story was titled “Farmers Take Back Land Slated for Housing.”
Over the past 30 years, land development trends have been such that farmland has been lost to development at an ever-increasing rate. In fact, between 1982 and 2007 the US lost more than an acre of farmland every minute. When the housing bubble burst in 2008, that process was stopped. In many ways, the burst has been a tragedy with the millions of homeowners who faced foreclosure. However, one silver lining that has appeared has been the return of lands slated for development back to farmland.
Indeed, in the story we heard this morning, one farmer who sold his land to a developer for $80,000 an acre has since bought it back at a heavily discounted $18,500 an acre and has returned it to agricultural use. Further, more and more young farmers are entering the field by leasing lands and living on the profits they make from selling high-value commodities like cotton and hay. We encourage you to have a listen by clicking here.
January 12, 2012
From FSC affiliate, Trout Headwaters:
What follows is a letter to the editor in response to a recent article in Conservation Magazine titled, Chasing Rainbows by Anders Halverson. “Lured by a utopian vision of nature, fish and game agencies dropped billions of trout into thousands of lakes. Now, they’re determined to undo the damage they caused,” writes Halverson. The article which appeared recently is an adaptation from his recent book An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World, published by Yale University Press. Find photos and resources related to fish-stocking at http://andershalverson.com
Dear Conservation Magazine,
We found it incredible that Anders Halverson’s detailed article, about rainbow trout introductions and the unintended consequences (Chasing Rainbows), never mentions the true tragedy of this ecological predicament: the rampant poisoning of entire ecosystems to rid them of planted rainbows.
The same flawed logic of single-species management used to plant the rainbows is now being used to remove rainbows, most often with a systemic poison, Rotenone. Poisoning out non-natives in favor of a preferred native is euphemistically called, native fish restoration. In fact, in many Western states today rainbows are being simultaneously stocked in some places and poisoned in others.
Unfortunately, Rotenone doesn’t discriminate between non-native fish and native fish. It doesn’t spare amphibians or insects. It kills them all and monitoring data show some species never return. Our company has long espoused the Hippocratic Oath of “first, do no harm” as it applies to ecological restoration. We need a strong web of organisms on this planet, not just rainbow trout, or cutthroat trout, or yellow-legged frogs.
Protecting and restoring healthy, functioning freshwater streams and wetlands to sustain a high diversity of organisms is a much more effective and economical way of conserving species. Given half the chance, nature will decide when and where to chase the rainbows.
Read more: http://www.conservationmagazine.org/2011/11/chasing-rainbows/ or learn more about river, stream and lake poisoning at http://www.stopriverkilling.org
[Note: You can check out the original post at THI's blog, http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/?p=2603.]
January 5, 2012
We hope everyone had a relaxing holiday season! We sure did, but we’re also incredibly excited to get 2012 started.
Now that you’re all caught up on your email and are getting settled back into your daily routine, isn’t it time for another vacation? Maybe not, but how about a five-minute break? We’ve got just the ticket! Our affiliate, Trout Headwaters, is doing some great work at Running Colter Ranch over in Bozeman, Montana and recently released a video documenting their work. Enjoy!
November 29, 2011
We would like to introduce you to another friend of Field Sport Concepts, Wyman Meinzer. Mr. Meinzer is the Texas State Photographer and has a number of wonderful videos documenting the beauty of the Texas landscape. One of his videos, “Securing the Legacy,” documents the critically important work of the Natural Resources Management program at Texas Tech University. Instructing the students in both the ecological history of Texan ecosystems as well as proper management of it is range of ecosystems, the program prepares students to serve as environmental stewards for generations to come. We invite you to check out the video below.
November 17, 2011
Carrots, oregano, and beets.
Well, maybe it’s not entirely that simple. You should probably add lettuce, potatoes, and corn as well. And berries.
The point is, developers are finding that some of the most successful residential and commercial developments are those that include a long-term commitment to local agriculture. While many developments centered around culs-de-sac and strip malls have been put on hold, those that include community farms, farmer’s markets, and other local food-based amenities are moving full steam ahead.
In fact, at the recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2011 Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, the sheer power of the local food movement was put on display. Speaker after speaker demonstrated how by including local food in their development, they saw significantly higher property values with lower capital investment than traditional residential and commercial developments.
In one example, a resort developer in Hawaii included a 22-acre farm on a recently completed luxury residential resort. He is now finding that the farm is having a big impact on sales and marketing, especially when considering it cost 1/100 the price of a traditional golf course, clubhouse, and spa. In another example, Bundoran Farm in Albemarle County, Virginia is a conservation community designed around a low-density residential development and a working farm. Benefiting from drastically lower infrastructure costs as a result of the use of on-site management of stormwater runoff, the developer is also seeing lots selling for $250,000 to over $1 million.
We encourage you to read more about agriculture-centered developments and would love to hear from you should you have any questions!
November 2, 2011
In one of our earliest posts, we talked a bit about a great program called Project Healing Waters. It’s a program that works with wounded and disabled veterans to teach them the basics of fly fishing, fly casting, and rod building.
We recently received an email from them asking for support to help them raise money and gain greater media exposure. We’ve published it below and ask that you consider helping them out. It does not require any money, just your votes.
In recognition of the work Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) does with veterans and its presence on GuideStar, PHWFF has been selected to participate in a weekly voting competition on Toyota USA’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/toyota?sk=app_114219605347571. PHWFF will be up against three other nonprofit organizations and the one with the most votes at the end of the week will receive $10,000.00 plus be featured on NBC’s Sunday Night Football during the Toyota Halftime advertisement.
We need your vote. We need your vote every day from November 2 through November 8. In addition, please encourage your family, friends, co-workers, employees, bosses, colleagues, clients, neighbors, civic, social, patriotic, military and veterans organizations, Social media friends, PLs, volunteers, and anyone else you can think of to vote for PHWFF…not just once, but remember to vote seven times.
I recognize that your time is valuable, however, $10,000.00 and the media exposure PHWFF will get will help purchase fly fishing equipment and supplies and send more deserving veterans on trips is a significant return for a couple minutes of your time each day to log on to http://www.facebook.com/toyota?sk=app_114219605347571 and vote. And, it will be $10,000 less than the nonprofit organization will have to raise to help wounded warriors and diabled veterans as they participate in a constructive rehabilitation and recreational activity.
I thank you in advance for your support.