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What is being done with creeks?

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
605
Points
18
What innovative things are being done with creeks in your area? Do you have photos to explain?

It seems that creeks are romantic and all that, but in practice they are after thoughts in the landscape of developments. Rarely kept up, they become overgrown undesireable features running through otherwise potentially nice areas.

Also as one drives past a creek that crosses under a road, are there any enhancements within visual range (if not the length of the whole creek)?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
"Creek" is a pretty loose term, and the topic is something of a sore spot with me. I have spent just short of three years fighting the department of natural resources to fill in an agricultural ditch dug in the 1970's. There never was a creek or stream there before. Picture a trench six feet deep and ten feet across, rim to rim, fed by drain tiles, and lined with reed canary grass and european buckthorn. Yes, it is really that romantic.

Anyway, it appears that DNR will acquiesce to our proposal to relocate the ditch (I'm sorry, I meant to say "navigable waterway") and [SARCASM]restore the natural stream channel[/SARCASM]. Actually, what we construct has the potential to be very nice, with shallow side slopes and native plantings, featuring drifts of wildflowers. Still, it was a freakin' ditch.

Two years ago I sat across the table from the DNR EnviroNazi who has held up this project and warned him that if they did not change their attitude, to be more cooperative and less ridiculously unyielding even on good projects projects like this, the legislature would strip them of the discretion they have in reviewing permit applications. Guess what? It's happening.

P.S., I do consider myself an environmentalist and have a track record to prove it.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Cardinal....

Those are the types of things you have the farme go and fill in in the middle of the night. Oops, sorry. Poor old farmer Joe didn't know any better.

Sometimes its just easier to not play by the rules.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
I used to live in the Lincoln Creek watershed in Milwaukee. Lincoln Creek was channelized and lined with concrete in the 1950s and 1960s in order to convey water faster to its destination, Lake Michigan. The result was horrific. During a 25 year storm, these giant concrete channels would (1) convey water sooo quickly that the rushing waters were an attractive nuicanse to children. Several would drown every year playing in the fast moving water, (2) With no chance of infiltration, the time of concentation would increase resulting in serious floods - or serwer backups (Milwaukee has combined sanitary-storm sewers) - in moderate events. The metro sewerage district took on a hige project to retunr the crren to a natural channel. Its probably the only thing they've done right in 30 years.

Heres a link to the project site
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
Watershed Academy

I don't know if you are familiar with it. I completed a bunch of modules. It has some good info.

Percolation of water into the ground is a much underrated natural activity: It is essential to ground water recharge. It reduces flooding. It plays a big role in cleaning the water.

Type of soil and type of plants, as well as steepness of slope and some other factors, play a big role in how well water percolates into the ground.

Building in very steep (hilly) areas and paving over too much area increases flooding and mudslides. Steep areas already have trouble adequately absorbing the water. Flash floods and higher-than-ever flood levels, as well as much more frequent flooding, are directly caused by paving over too much stuff, removing too much natural vegetation, etc.

"Channelizing" a creek tends to make it hostile towards just about all life. You may find slime and mold and germs there, but you aren't likely to find native plants and fish. It is no longer really a 'creek', more like 'part of the urban sewer system'. The 'iritating' way that natural waterways meander -- which involves not just the winding path they take but also changing of the basic path over time -- is part of the natural lifecycle of a waterway. It doesn't sit well with people who want to map everything and control everything and want the waterway to be as consistent as a road in where it travels. But a waterway that can't meander is a waterway being choked of life.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
I think L.A. is trying to revitilize the creek errr river that goes through downtown because much of it is concrete. Here parts of the Cazenovia creek are channelized in S. Buffalo but it really doesn't have a big effect on the creek. I know in some rule counties in WNY, creeks are prime real estate spots.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
I put 'channelized' in quotes because the word is used kind of broadly. As I understand it, channelizing is supposed to mean 'making it deeper and straighter' so that the water can flow through the creek bed more effectively and not be so prone to flooding the surrounding area. In practice, it sometimes means 'turning it into a perfectly straight, concrete-lined Canal'. A creek that is channelized in certain problem areas can still be functional as a living waterway in other areas. (At least, that is how I understand it: It is not like I have done such work.)

LA is in a desert. Rivers and Lakes in deserts are frequently 'seasonal'. Some of the lakes in the Mojave Desert -- just the other side of the mountains from LA -- are dry about 10 months out of the year. But, they can have brine shrimp in them when they are not dry. (I know this for a fact because me and my kids went out and caught a brine shrimp as a homeschooling field trip when we lived in the Mojave.) The ground in the Mojave is extremely dry and hard -- it is not sand dunes -- and when we got 2 inches of rain in a day or two (a full THIRD of the 6 inches of average annual rainfall), the low areas were flooded for many weeks. You certainly would not want to build anything in one of the dry lakebeds in The High Desert.

However, the mostly concrete waterway that runs through LA does need serious work. As I understand it, folks drown in the flash floods that occur there every single year. I saw a very dramatic rescue from such a flood in LA on a TV show (something like one of those 'real cops' shows). The combination of desert terrain and urban area with a lot of paving makes the floods very deep, very sudden, and very dangerously fast. And they work on the same principle as flooding in a wadi (dry river bed in a desert): the rain can be quite far away and the flood can come from seemingly nowhere, with no warning. (This is why you don't make camp in a wadi: the rain can be many miles away and you may never know it rained -- and you drown in your sleep.)
 
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