30 April 2010

Planning Underway for Creekway Work at Omaha Parks

The following are comments in regards to the work being planned along Happy Hollow Creek and Wood Creek in midtown Memorial Park and Elmwood Park.

Dr. Sutherland and I have discussed this project and have several comments and concerns. Particular items which we see as needing to be addressed, have been placed on a map available at:

[Online Map]

This map shows the particular items at the top of the list and as indicated with blue markers.

Especially notable is the need to remove limbs, branches, tree trunks and other debris from the creek channel. This material is and has for many years blocked the water flows, causing flooding of the woods along the banks and unneeded erosion. These "channel blocks" need to be removed, and after reviewing the proposed project plan, this particular item obviously did not receive sufficient attention, and in some cases where the worst conditions occur, were not even mentioned. The plan reviewed is targeted to costly engineering solutions, i.e., gabion baskets, rather than having a holistic approach.

Our primary concern is that the project along the creek be done in a manner sensitive to its natural setting and its associated values, especially the flora and fauna. In addition to private bird studies, both botany and ornithology classes use the Elmwood Park area for educational purposes.

We request a reply indicating that our comments have been reviewed and will be actively considered in the project design. We also request a notification of when the final design is being prepared so that we may review this plan before it is finalized.

The creekway - not a drainage ditch as identified by the plan - is a unique resource for the residents of Omaha, and this project needs to be done in a manner that is beneficial to the natural setting, as well as achieving the goal of retaining a safe recreation trail.

Dr. David M. Sutherland, also added his name to this email, sent to Omaha city officials on April 29, 2010.

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