A riddle for greenway supporters

Riprap--12 years old (L.Coleman)             Articulated concrete blocks

When the City finally comes up with their plan for the ravine, I predict their plan will look something like this:
  • We propose keeping the stream open but lining the channel with riprap (or articulated concrete blocks--see previous photos) "because that costs the least, and our contractors know how to do it."
  • We will try to save as many trees as possible.
  • You say you want some nice landscaping and curves? We can't do that without breaking the budget, just for people living on two streets. Apply for a grant on your own--of have your properties each assessed $5000 to pay for it. 
As is turns out, no grants are available to enable 20 or so residents improve their backyards at some foundation's expense.  Since no one wants to pay, and no one knows how many trees will be cut, everyone reluctantly agrees to go ahead with the City plan.  They feel powerless.

But when the work is completed, residents are very disappointed and upset:
  • More trees were cut than they hoped , because the riprap is bulky and goes straight.
  • Big equipment got in there, and the ravine is completely changed--just an open scar that will take a long time to heal.
  • And when it does heal, the stream is long gone--underground.  Trickling invisibly between the cracks of the rocky rubble.
So, how can we change this future?  Change this dynamic?  Think about it.

I invite readers to post your ideas below, and to discuss the ideas others come up with.

Mary Norton proposes:
  • To prevent too many trees being cut, get a plan in advance of which trees will be cut, then have observers make sure plan is followed during construction.
  • For landscaping, volunteers remove stones from the creek bed to later use for creating terraces or holding back upper levels of soil.  Also use large limbs from trees that are felled for the same purpose. 
What do you propose for landscaping?

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