Tree protection and erosion control off to a sloppy start

Work was scheduled to start Oct. 4, and be completed (except for plantings) in December.  With a late start, and the vulnerability of the project to wet conditions, the contractor may have to rush.

Work with heavy equipment began on Tuesday, 10/19 (or Wednesday).

...the orange construction fence went up earlier.  It's a special measure to help the contractor limit damage to the fenced area.

A dirt road has been built about a third of the way down from Owen Drive.  The immediate goal is to bring in equipment which will be used to remove the doomed trees. 

A sky platform is in place to get arborists up into the trees. 

A large power shovel, a bobcat, and a bulldozer are parked on the site.

Violations noted after two days of work...

Tree protection

The road hasn't cut much into the soil yet, so not many roots have been disturbed.  However, I did see at least one root over 1/2" diameter (near the parked bulldozer above) that didn't have a clean cut.
  • A bulldozer was parked overnight close to endangered trees outside the fence (above).
  • I didn't see any damage to tree trunks.
  • Supplies (below) were stored close to the three "endangered trees" that are within the orange fence at the east end. That means equipment drove close to deposit the supplies, compacting the soil.

In summary, only minor threats to the trees so far, but there's evidence of initial disregard for the tree protection rules.

Erosion control

You can see the erosion control plan here.  (Click on 3171.pdf)

Five elements of the plan should be in place by now...
  1. Gravel construction entrance 50' long (to prevent tracking out of mud)
  2. Gravel surfacing of the access road.
  3. A gravel check dam below the work area (to stop sediment  and slow erosive force of water)
  4. A sediment trap below the project on Midvale, coupled with stormsewer inlet filters and diversion from the main channel towards the sediment trap.
  5. Stormwater inlet filters on Midvale downstream, to catch sediment that escapes #4, as it surely will.
None of these measures have been completed as of the end of 10/21.  Only #4 has been started--and except for the big concrete "Jersey barriers," the other elements haven't been added, so the sediment trap is still non-functional.

I've stated elsewhere that this erosion control plan is quite inadequate. Here we have a ravine that drains a basin half a mile long.  To see so little progress on a poor plan is-- discouraging, to say the least.  An 80% chance of rain is predicted for tomorrow (10/23), and more rain every day through 10/26, so these 5 deficits must be corrected by the end of today.

Heres a quote from the erosion control permit that the City has to comply with:

"All measures to be installed prior to any other construction.  No disturbance, grading, stockpiles or borrow pits shall be allowed in park area without approval by the parks division prior to construction."*  Signed by Timothy N. Troester.

And another: "I have reviewed and understand Chapter 37 of the Madison General Ordinances regarding erosion control and stormwater management and I shall implement the control plan or checklist for this project as approved by the City."  Signed by Robert F. Phillips, City Engineer.

On the form letter attached to the permit: "A Professional Engineer...shall certify the initial installation and implementation of the measures shown on the approved erosion control plan."  This engineer is John Fahrney.  Does he certify that it wasn't done two days after the start of disturbance to the area?

"Failure to abide by any of these requirements... is considered a violation of the City's Erosion Control Ordinance...and can result in the issuance of Official Notices, citations, and/or referral to the City Attorney for resolution of non-compliance."

This would be humorous, if it weren't so dysfunctional.  The erosion control inspector is going to refer his boss to the City Attorney for "resolution of non-compliance"?

This paperwork seems to be window dressing--like all the forms the banks sign to foreclose a mortgage.   It looks like another example of "robosigning."

Endangered tree #162 remains optimistic, despite the poor start.

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*  Note... that when you examine it, this statement is confusing--more evidence of sloppiness in all details of Madison's erosion control.  Always an afterthought.  The reference to "parks" indicates the document hasn't been revised recently and does not really fit the present project.  The document seems to say--and ought to say--that the erosion control measures have to be implemented before the ground is disturbed.

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