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Remember: Flooded Ponds at Cedar Beach Parkway

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flooded Ponds at Cedar Beach Parkway

Following heavy rainfall this morning the Cedar Creek at Cedar Beach overflowed its banks and in turn flooded the ponds by the Rose Gardens.




With this flood event, whatever was in the ponds was rapidly spilled into Cedar Creek. The gravel on the paths as well as the gravel pile by the large reflecting pond were in the path of flood waters as well, which means that gravel was being carried into the creek. The Riparian Buffer that was recently mowed down was under water and it is to my understanding that that buffer was put in place to help prevent pond water from getting into Cedar Creek.

So, is this not an environmental mess? Like I have said before I am not an Environmental Scientist (yet) nor am I an expert in hydrology but the situation I saw at Cedar Beach early this afternoon seems to me to be a problem. I want to see as much environmental restoration as possible in our city parks and am looking forward to the major Riparian installation taking place this fall.

That said, in order to keep Cedar Creek as environmentally hospitable as possible, does something need to be done to correct the sort of situation I saw there today? I realize that at this point with upstream development and storm water drainage etc, at best these types of flooding events can be affected at a low level.

I ask my readers who know the answers to my question to please respond. The more I learn about the watershed around here the more it becomes a worry to me. A few token Riparian projects can not be the sort of solution that allows people to sit back and say, hey we did something. We need to be doing everything we can to make sure our watershed is protected and if that means sacrificing some of the things that we take for granted in our parks, so be it.

We are stewards after all, not creators.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous monkey momma said...

Andrew, this is a fascinating evaluation of the flooding that is typical at Cedar Beach. And, now that the ponds are there, we can see exactly how they will "work" in rainy weather. I do think the ponds are beautiful, and my kids really enjoyed visiting them last week, but it sounds to me like they are polluting the surrounding environment. Is that right?

I would say that part of the obvious "solution" to more problems is to limit development at this area. I know you're not going to get into the playground argument, and everyone else is sick of it, but I hope I'm not reading your blog one day and looking at pictures of the playground underwater.

Molovinsky has a nice 2 part series on the plans to drill new wells in the Macungie areas. This has a direct effect on Cedar beach and the entire water supply.

Thanks for raising awareness and documenting this.

August 28, 2009 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Chris Casey said...

With All the well drilling for corporate entities, you probably won't have to worry about the creek in a couple of years, they will have depleted it.

August 28, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, the flooding today wasn't too bad, i have seen it much worse. the problem is that pawlowski, weitzel and their designer from york haven't. this is why allentonians of memory are opposed to these cedar park plans; not racism, or against inclusion or all the other insults offered by the administration. our concerns are not misinformation.

i have often commended you for your informative blog on the parks, but you have been far too complacent about speaking out against building and paving in a flood plain. that's what cedar basin is and always will be.

will you be an environmental scientist or a professional witness for hire?

August 28, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Keep reading Micheal. I am no professional witness. I am a young man learning and figuring out as much science as I can. I know where major problems lie, see my Jordan Park posts. When I know for a fact, with scientific data to back it, trust me, I will be a scientist.

I raised alot of questions in this blog post that i want to see answered. No side stepping either and trust me, I'll find out.

Good posting on the well situation,

August 28, 2009 at 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Andrew's Dad and I do have some experience regarding both environmental issues as well as SWR (storm water runoff. The first misconception is that the ponds are flooding and polluting Cedar Creek. It is the creek that is actually flooding as well as the ponds and the pollution is coming from industrial sources further upstream. Brown water indicates an excessive amount of nutrients, a form of pollution because it chokes off the air supply and fish die because of that and there are other reasons and facets of this that a blog does not readily lend itself to; however, suffice to say the damage was done many many years ago when city fathers decided to place a park with infrastructure in a floodplain. Floodplains flood and that's that. They always do and they always will. To try to 'control' that issue is environmentally incorrect whether a park exists there or not. The so-called Riparian buffer that exists there now is so minimal it has no effect whatsoever on slowing the flooding or infiltrating the water back into the sub-soil. That buffer should be, at minimum, 25' wide in ALL areas and it can't be that big because there is a park beside it. So the city has choices---either leave the situation alone or try environmentally correct methods to mitigate the situation such as creating a larger Riparian buffer, etc. It is not the Mayor's fault or the fault of the planners, and a few paved walkways will make zero difference in this case because the impervious surface they create is minimal.Water runs downhill and floodplains flood, people, that's the long and short of it.

August 28, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i apologize for being far too harsh.

andrew's dad, we may agree about the riparian buffer in the park. it's educational and instructional at the best, but will sacrifice the traditional park experience of seeing and interacting with the creek, a price too high in my opinion.

August 29, 2009 at 5:04 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

Andrew's Dad said, "Floodplains flood and that's that. They always do and they always will. To try to 'control' that issue is environmentally incorrect whether a park exists there or not.... the city has choices... either leave the situation alone or try environmentally correct methods to mitigate the situation such as creating a larger Riparian buffer, etc. It is not the Mayor's fault or the fault of the planners, and a few paved walkways will make zero difference in this case because the impervious surface they create is minimal. Water runs downhill and floodplains flood, people, that's the long and short of it."

Dittos

Floodplains are a vital part of any area's need to allow water to accumulate where least obtrusive to our living areas. I said it before, unless the Cedar Creek is allowed to return to swampland like it was in the beginning, any tampering we do will conform to what is in vogue with current environmentalists line of reasoning.

A swamp, a part time park (when it doesn't rain) or recreation area. The fact remains nature formed this low lying area and all the tampering won't change that. Yes we can mitigate some of our manmade or nature's affects, but unless we accept that as fact we fool ourselves. Any kind of tampering either decreases or increases flooding or alters runoff contents. But the fact still remains... IT DOES FLOOD!

Andrew was concerned with the stones washing in... well up to a few years ago the loop path on the North side of the creek was packed dirt. We biked and passed joggers. They seemed content with that. Packed mud is better not only for the creek's natural environment but its also didn't have to maintained, only mowed. Blacktop is about the worse thing for a jogger.

Comparing Lewisburg Park to Cedar Parkway is comparing apple to oranges. They have 100,000 less people. It is also not situated in a flood plain. So taking the Lewisburg Park out of the equation, what remains is...

What is it we want to do with this former swamp-like floodplain the WPA folks created?

* Turn into an unattended wetlands bird sanctuary?
* A fairgrounds for special events?
* Turn it into a recreational/playground area?

The bottom line is the future generations will argue over this just as the prior generations have. The floodplain will still be a floodplain and it will outlive us all.

August 29, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

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