Jun 28, 2013

Allentown Parks, An Environmental PlayStation

Over the past five years, older visitors to city parks have noticed that the lawns and meadows adjoining the streams have been allowed to grow wild. While we, who appreciate the view and access to the creeks, see this new model as unkempt, our young politically correct speak of riparian buffers and grow zones. The riparian theory is that the undergrowth keeps the nitrogen runoff from the surrounding neighborhoods from reaching the streams; it soaks it up. In reality, Allentown's storm runoff system is  piped directly into the streams, bypassing the buffers, which are then for naught. This charade continues to downgrade our traditional park system because of money. The Wildland's Conservancy get grants and ignore the pipes, and plants the nonsense. It's easier for the Conservancy to prevail upon the Park Department, than persuade farmers and private land owners beyond the parks, where the effort might really do something. These grants not only pay for the plants, more importantly, they play for the hypocrites' salaries. They are also funded by large corporations, which can feel better about their real pollution. The Allentown Park System has become a feel good, environmental playstation. The Conservancy's new grant is to remove dams in Allentown Parks. This practice, in theory, improves water quality. Just as the storm runoff pipes make the riparian buffers useless, the sewer pipe along the Little Lehigh makes the dam removal just another token project. When I pointed out the overflowing sewage pipe, they switched gears, and now speak of allowing fish to swim upstream. Our wonderful park system even takes care of that issue with the magnificent trout hatchery, on Fish Hatchery Road. Please help me protect and preserve the small iconic dam by the Parkway's Robin Hood Bridge. Let the grant hunters ply their hypocrisy elsewhere. Protect our traditional park system.

shown above are the pipes which release rain water directly into the Cedar Creek, next to the Rose Garden Ponds.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM

Anything specific you'd like us to do?

michael molovinsky said...

i believe that that wildland's and other environmental fakers have made the park system a mess. drive along cedar creek from the lake to ott street, and the growth along the water's edge does nothing but provide visual pollution, that's a disgrace. city council told me that they would conduct a meeting about preserving the dam, i will hold them to that, and ask that people attend to show support for the dam and historic icons of our parks. Although they can always clean up and cut down the scrub brush, once we lose hardscape, like the dam, it's gone forever.

Anonymous said...

With all do respect sir, you either don't , or won't , fully understand all the important things buffer zones do. I'm not that young. I'm old enough to remember that when I was a boy, hunting and trapping was permitted in sections of the Parkway, and there was much more and varied wildlife along the banks of this now endangered creeks.
This old man supports them 100%
Thanks for taking my comment and for all you do for the park.

Guy Williams said...

I believe the wildlife conservancy could better spend their money on an education program in the schools and the public in general on the need to stop littering our city streets.Working on cars in the street and common street litter mixed with rain water flows via the storm sewer into our creeks, rivers, and streams having a more negative impact than runoff over the grass at the rivers edge.I would challenge them to dump one weeks worth of any blocks street trash mix with rain water and check the amount of chemicals found therein.Sounds like a good science project to me and give us the results. Yes the parks do look unkept and as a gift from Gen Trexler im sure not his intention to look that way.

Anonymous said...

The general was an avid conservationist. He admired T.R., Muir etc. He hired people associated with Olmstead.
He understood that one could do both conservation oriented landscapes and mix them with more formal design. It's unfortunate that this site and others, push people into belonging to one group or the other. This is patently ridiculous and totally unnecessary.
People who should be collaborating on these important issues, are forced into opposing camps by narrow viewpoints. This is very sad. The parks need a broad base of people to defend them in these troubled times.

michael molovinsky said...

@2:18, as you know, buffers because of invasive species, need much more work than clear mowing requires. in reality the park department doesn't have enough staff now even for the basics, much alone more. consequently because of the invasives, they are cutting down the buffers two to four times a year. what we have now is worst of both. i say clear cut until which time you have a plan for some buffer zones which are maintained from invasives. in the meantime, the area between the lake and ott street is a mess.

Anonymous said...

MM@2:48
Agreed.

Anonymous said...

Clear cut???????
Please sir.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:09, yes, that's how it was cut from 1933 to 2009, when weitzel allowed the conservancy to harvest a grant, and use the water edge as a junior high science experiment, to which I give an F grade. i have no problem with them planting treee along the creek. try the current no mow, grow zones on your lawn, the city will fine you.

AuH20 said...

Once again MM offers a timely thread. This summer i've begun again to do some fishing in our streams. Problem is, I can't find much access to the water. Not long ago I used to see older guys fishing along the Jordan Creek near Home Depot. It offered a good water source plus access to food and bathrooms (thank you Home Depot). I was there last week and could not even see the stream for the weeds were so high. Can't the enviros be more 'moderate' in their approach?

Anonymous said...

Yet another edited out news media outlet locally to prop up the local propaganda of allentowns administration¿ Thank you for the truth about allentowns administrations trangretional economic destruction of the entire rest of the city's historical treasaurs.
redd

Anonymous said...

I love the golf corse look.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:08, natural is great, but don't impose it on a city park, and it's citizens.

Anonymous said...

Cannot begin to list the damage to the city's parks, especially the Parkway. The simplest of caring touches such as garbage bins for dog owners or the removal of rusted tins that in years have never held a doggie do bag but still stand as symbols of neglect and apathy.

Anonymous said...

Bet the city received a grant for those riparian buffer signs and pseudo-enforcement. What a laugh as the raw stink of human waste at times is easily detected during rain storms.

Anonymous said...

What till Mike sees PPL tree cuts in Lehigh Parkway necessary to prevent power outages? Even though not a single of the trees cut down ever in a lifetime would reach those huge power lines, desecration of a park was surely necessary.

Anonymous said...

AuH20 said...

Once again MM offers a timely thread. This summer i've begun again to do some fishing in our streams. Problem is, I can't find much access to the water. Not long ago I used to see older guys fishing along the Jordan Creek near Home Depot. It offered a good water source plus access to food and bathrooms (thank you Home Depot). I was there last week and could not even see the stream for the weeds were so high. Can't the enviros be more 'moderate' in their approach?

June 28, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Maybe that's really the point. Who knows. In the past fishermen were eyewitnesses to bank erosion and would report it.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I'm not buying this. One. I never saw fisherman they couldn't find their way to the waters edge. Young or old. Two. I never saw a sserous fishermen that didn't appreciate the stream that was cooler, and more abundant insect life, and was healthier in every way. These are the conditions that serious fisherman even moderately serious fisherman support .Talk to us "old guys" at Trout Unlimited.
In well-managed park, both styles of stream management can be integrated. It isn't that hard. I respect this blog. I hope you can do better than see it as a black-and-white situation.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:25, i have no problem accepting the absurd science fair project if there were a reasonable number of "clear cut to water edge" access points for us plain folk, but there is not. give us a mowed 25 ft. every 100 yards. mow spots where a path, paved or gravel, is less than 10 feet from the water; these extremely narrow buffers are useless, even under riparian criterion.

Anonymous said...

Your correct sir. The worst of both worlds.