It was only two weeks ago that Mayor Dan Coody held a press conference to claim credit for a streambank restoration project completed several months ago in Gulley Park. Dan was in a run-off election campaign at the time and thought it might get him some favorable news coverage. Now the campaign is over, and the city is busy dredging and ditching another neighborhood stream in violation of state and federal laws.
Thanks to local blogger Aubrey Shepherd for bringing to public attention the city's renewed destruction of Kitty Creek, a tributary of Mud Creek and the Illinois River. A local resident sent Shepherd an email this morning, reporting:
The creek that runs by my house (Kitty Creek) has been attacked within the last few days by heavy equipment. First they cleared most of the riparian vegetation and vegetation in the creek, and in the last few days have made a mess with a track hoe and other equipment directly in the creek. It’s all mud right now.Shepherd says, "Neighbors complained to ADEQ, which learned that the city has planned to dredge more of the stream south of the street as well. Apparently, the city now will be required to get a Corps of Engineers permit for further dredging. The irony, of course, is that the city should be the agency PREVENTING such violations of Stormwater II regulations, not the jurisdiction violating the intention of the regulations."
The City of Fayetteville just completed a stream restoration project in Gulley Park that cost over $200,000 and used outside consultants/designers/contractors…but Kitty Creek is getting trashed by who? The city? Some guys with track hoes that they paid to clean it out?
I’m planning on contacting ADEQ as well…maybe a newspaper or two. It seems like we spend the money making a show of restoring one stream, but go for trashing when other creeks run to Oklahoma. Or it only counts if it’s visible in a park.
This incident is another reason that we are thankful for our local blogging community and citizens who take action. Take a look at Shepherd's Aubunique blogspot for additional photographs and maps of the destruction wrought this week.
This reckless disregard for Kitty Creek is also a reason to be skeptical of politicians who preach sustainability and pretend green while spending our tax dollars to dredge streams, destroy riparian buffer zones, increase the damage from urban runoff, and ignore environmental laws and regulations.