Not enough options

So far, the City has given us three options
  • Option 1, with the stream buried and a road on top, was the old plan neighbors soundly rejected--because of the road and loss of 65 trees.
  • Option 2 is a little better because it leaves the stream open and eliminates the road, but it cuts 66 trees, and fills the ravine with stone rubble called riprap.  Riprap is not friendly to children or wildlife.
  • Option 3 leaves the stream relatively natural and cuts few trees, but doesn't solve erosion or all of the sewer problems.  The erosion is bad and needs to be fixed for health of the lakes.  People want the sewers to work.
So if we are limited to the current choices, most people are going to choose Option 2.  It's a foregone conclusion.  People who love wildlife and want to save most of the trees have lost out.  They didn't have a real choice.  With the riprap in Option 2, you won't see the water except during heavy storms and spring runoff.

What we need from City Engineering is a real choice--an Option 4.  Something that leaves the ravine more natural, with some pools of water, yet still solves the problems of erosion and sewage. 

Wildlife lost out, because they weren't among the 5 objectives listed for the project:
  • Address erosion in the greenway
  • Address aging sanitary sewer
  • Allow for maintenance of sanitary sewer
  • Minimize land disturbance
  • Minimize tree loss
I hope to see "retain wildlife habitat" and "maintain appearance of natural stream" added to the objectives.  Perhaps also "develop outdoor laboratory for local elementary schools."  A place where they could plant woodland flowers, help control garlic mustard, or observe plants emerge in the spring.

"Option 4" should also include long-term plans for reducing runoff from the neighborhood.  For example, rain gardens to handle runoff from streets, and a hundred tiny dams to hold the water back during a cloudburst.  With less stormwater runoff, designs for the ravine can be more modest--less destructive and less expensive.

What's the hurry?
There's time to develop Option 4.  If there aren't any suitable techniques to stop erosion, then let's design new ones that can be installed without destroying the ravine.  There's plenty of talent in Madison. 

Wildlife seen in or near the ravine in recent years
'Possum (probably had young this year in dead tree 190)
Wild turkey
Hawk (circling overhead and calling today)

Nature--not always pretty, but always educational for kids. Young 'possum found dead in ravine today.

'Possum carcass in foreground, probable den tree #190 in rear.

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