02 June 2014

Public Works Poorly Manages North Omaha Stormwater Pond

Another indication how the Public Works Department of the City of Omaha poorly manages another stormwater facility in north Omaha is obvious at the pond along the bend of Carter Boulevard, east of Fontenelle Boulevard.

Another visit was made to this location early on the morning of June 1, 2014 to consider the situation. The flora was doing great, but there were multiple indications of a how poorly the site is being managed.

Initially obvious before even getting out of the driven vehicle, the grass along the street had been recently mown. The height of grass ranged from short-shorn to many inches in height. There was obviously no effort to remove the ubiquitous trash before the cutting, so the publicly tossed debris was shredded and spread further about.

Area sign; note the use of the word "care" in the verbage. A thistle is blocking the lower extent of the sign.

Mown grass along Carter Boulevard, illustrating the even result of the work. It is not known who was responsible for the mowing, but it would not pass muster if it had been done on private property.

It was a humid and warm morning on Sunday. Despite the summery conditions, about a dozen species of birds were present. Overall, based upon numerous records kept since 2011, 30 different species are known to occur at this locality.

There was one morning when a Wild Turkey was limping among the woods of the west slope, and was seen to have an injured leg.

Having big pieces of debris strewn about the trees, if obviously results in a condition not suitable for man nor beast.

The Omaha Public Works Department has no knowledge of the value of this locality for fauna and flora. They have never made an effort to understand these features and make management decisions for the benefit of urban nature in a manner that will also be suitable for a primary goal of stormwater management.

During multiple visits to this site, there has never been any indication that staff of Omaha Public Works to make any effort to clean up this space. The public is responsible for the trash, but the Public Works is responsible for its continual and ongoing upkeep. They posted cameras to catch the perpetrators, but had no success. So instead of cleaning up the site, they tried to catch someone that they could blame for the long-lasting problem.

Officials of Public Works would likely explain the trashy situation away by saying that it is their intent to keep the place clean and simply cannot keep up with the ongoing problem of thrown-away things. Rather than trying, they seem to have done nothing..

Noted during the visit were mostly household items and asundry trash, especially strewn on the west hillside. There were pieces of a couch. Portions of a television. Some carpet was strewn among the arboreal splendor.

Views of trash at the stormwater pond along Carter Boulevard.

The typical presence of a thrown away tire, which is a common feature of City of Omaha green spaces.

Another item that can't be ignored, is the growth of noxious weeds along the east side of the pond. Thistles are a prohibited noxious weeds. Mowing occurred adjacent to a couple of growths of this plant, but they were left. It's quite indicative that one thistle plant is growing right where the Public Works Department of the City of Omaha has their sign indicating their ownership of site.

The trash at this Carter Boulevard site is one-again symptomatic of the many recent management mistakes being made, time-and-time again by administrative officials and their staff, associated with the Public Works Department. There has been excuse after excuse heard in regards to other shortcomings by this City of Omaha agency.

City administration, however, also continues to let it occur. The office of Mayor Jean Stothert, has not directly responded to continued emails indicating problems in taking care of city resources. They talk nice on the phone, but...

Unsatisfactory conditions occur throughout Omaha, and its residents have to deal with the unsightly and wanted situations that indicate a lack of respect and any taking of responsibility.

Martin Grate and Robert Stubbe, and other city of Omaha officials need to take direct and effective action to clean up our green spaces. If that requires them personally working onsite, without suit-and-tie garb, and get sweaty and dirty. They get paid enough in a regular and ongoing stipend to really work for the citizens to whom they are responsible.

Add in some members of the Omaha City Council, in the same regard.

However, based upon previous experience, this sort of a situation would be like hoping to find a leprechaun's treasure of gold on the moon!