As of Monday morning the petition had gathered nearly 280 signatures.
The City of Richmond has proposed to do a stream restoration on Reedy Creek between 46th Street and Roanoke Avenue. The project also includes a smaller section of stream restoration on Crooked Branch, a small tributary that flows through a passive park (Crooked Branch Ravine Park). Overall, the project will destroy 7.4 acres of mature woods, much of it on park property.
A total of 424 mature trees will be removed, mostly along or near stream banks – trees that are currently preventing massive erosion due to the large volume of stormwater that roars through the area. In an attempt to make this destruction more palatable, Richmond DPU and its design consultants have tried to characterize the trees as non-native (October 2015 meeting), lacking in diversity (printed flyer delivered to neighborhood homes), and “less desirable” (Feb. 23, 2016 meeting). In reality, nearly all of the 424 trees are native trees that have grown up in the area naturally because the area has been more or less undisturbed for decades. While the project will involve the planting of new trees, the city has a poor history of maintaining stream restoration projects.
In addition to the destruction of mature forest, the Reedy Creek Coalition has documented other major concerns about the proposal (http://reedycreekcoalition.org/).
1. Lack of proper planning for selection of a stream restoration site. The city failed to perform a “stream condition assessment” which is the first step in site selection. Members of the Reedy Creek Coalition have walked most of Reedy Creek and there are multiple stream segments with severely eroded banks and even worse habitat.
2. High risk in the current proposal because it is located immediately below one mile of concrete channel that drains the Midlothian Turnpike corridor. See our website for pictures of the water rolling through the project area after a summer thunderstorm.
3. Low benefit in the current proposal because the water will often move through the project area so fast it will not have time to allow for infiltration and removal of pollutants. And the Chesapeake Bay will not benefit much because Forest Hill Park Lake is located just downstream and helps collect pollutants from the entire watershed.
4. The $1.3 million proposal does little to address the source of the eroding banks and stream degradation which is stormwater volume. Guidance from the Chesapeake Bay Program says the following: “In general, the effect of stream restoration on stream quality can be amplified when effective upstream BMPs are implemented in the catchment to reduce runoff and stormwater pollutants and improve low flow hydrology.”
5. Lack of a maintenance plan for the proposed stream restoration. At the meeting on February 23, 2016, Richmond DPU had no solid plans for maintenance. And the possibilities discussed at the meeting were inconsistent with the printed information the city provided to the neighborhood on a flyer. Members of the Reedy Creek Coalition recently visited a stream restoration performed under the direction of the city on Albro Creek (near the new Bellmeade-Oak Grove Elementary School) and found a stunning lack of maintenance that included multiple areas of eroding banks, dead trees, and invasive plants.
6. There are alternatives that would address the source of Reedy Creek degradation. The city commissioned a watershed plan published in 2012 that suggested green infrastructure solutions at schools and other city-owned property which would reduce stormwater volume and pollutants entering Reedy Creek. The city has ignored this plan which made no suggestions about stream restoration projects.
7. TMDL Action Plan. Based on the meeting on February 23, 2016, the city is undertaking this proposal primarily to meet its responsibilities under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. Yet, the numbers in the city’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan show that the Reedy Creek stream restoration project would not be needed for many years. There is ample time to formulate a comprehensive Reedy Creek watershed restoration plan and implement it systematically.
Please join us in expressing your opposition to the proposed Reedy Creek stream restoration project by signing our petition.