29 January 2012

Increasing Habitat Diversity at West Omaha Greenspace

A federally-required mitigation project to replace wetlands will revise the diversity of habitat at a greenspace in the suburbs of western Omaha.

On December 20, 2011, the expenditure of $279,000 was approved by the city council of the city of Omaha for work at Black Elk Park in the Quail Hollow sanitary and improvement district (SID 437), as approved by the Park Advisory Board of Omaha. Work would also apparently occur in an adjacent property parcel owned by the subdivision.

These dollars would be used to create approximately 1.76 acres of mitigation wetlands within the tract, according to details given in a document submitted to the city council, as associated with the spending request, and by Omaha Parks Recreation and Public Property.

About 1999, the subdivision received a nationwide permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to staff of this wetland regulatory agency. The permit considered stormwater runoff and ancillary measures, and required mitigation for water-related impacts associated with the development of the subdivision.

Temporary stormwater detention basins will be removed during this project. Tree mitigation would also be required, according to details in a city council document. Sidewalk removal and addition will also occur.

Details on tree replacement were not indicated within the documentation provided to the Omaha City Council.

The expenditure derived an interest, with details requested for further consideration, including an email or two, and a phone call to the Omaha regulatory office of the Corps of Engineers.

Considering the place, it was apparent a visit was necessary. A visit on Saturday afternoon January 28th required mechanical, gas-driven transportation as conveyance to this distant suburb.

A portion of the trees removed at the project site. The large tree removed would have provided foraging habitat for the resident Red-bellied Woodpecker, and other species.

The tiny water flow, showing its disturbed condition.

Project boundaries were marked by flags stapled upon wooden laths.

There was an obvious extent of removed trees, with material piled in dumpsters.

A bit of a southerly stream flow was present and unfrozen, though it is a small feature through the site. Tracks of contractor equipment had slightly imposed on the flows of water during this winter. There was no other water-space at this place, though some skeptic might point to the trash-laden, southern terminus of the stormwater detention basin nearby, with a pond a few feet in size.

Stormwater basin at the site.

Second stormwater basin at the site.

Black Elk Park, located at Z Street and 161st Avenue, comprises a couple of acres of city of Omaha property. Adjacent tracts are owned by the SID, which based upon the visit include Quail Hollow Park, west of 163rd Street and Quail Hollow Nature Preserve which is a linear space northward from W Street. This place is on the north side of the designated park.

The park-associated space has about sixteen acres based upon a limited extent of public information, and includes nearly three acres of woodland west of 163rd Street where there is a bench and bridges across the ravines. An unknown number of acres comprise the designated parcel north of W Street.

Property owned by the Quail Hollow SID is open only to visitors who are residents of the subdivision.