Jack Berry Announces Intent to Halt Reedy Creek Relocation Project as Mayor of Richmond
After touring the Reedy Creek relocation project area with neighbors and environmental scientists, and joining the League of Conservation Voters in a volunteer work day removing invasive plants from park, Jack Berry announced that as mayor he will halt the Reedy Creek relocation project pending a comprehensive analysis of alternatives for improving water quality in the watershed.
“The Reedy Creek restoration project is a misnomer. It is not about restoration, it is about relocation of natural streams into engineered channels,” said Berry. “Just because the City project is relatively easy to construct does not mean that it is good for the park, the natural environment, the watershed or the Chesapeake Bay.”
This project is being pursued by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) in order to obtain “credits” for work done to improve the Chesapeake Bay. This particular project was selected in part because the City owns the property and would not need to obtain easements from private property owners.
Stream restorations are a popular way for localities to obtain credits for removing nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. Some projects have much more environmental benefit than others.
“The relocation project will do nothing to change the underlying problem, which is the volume and velocity of the water coming down the channel from the large upstream drainage area,” said Berry. “There may be much better alternatives than clear-cutting a large section of the park, removing over 400 trees, and relocating and backfilling portions of several natural stream beds. More attention should be focused on the upstream source of the problem.”
The project includes Reedy Creek and Crooked Branch, a tributary within the Crooked Branch Ravine Park. The project is downstream from a concrete channel that concentrates storm water.