The City began preserving natural drainageways in the 1960s. Initially these environmental corridors were open pastures and prairies. Unfortunately once these corridors were preserved little was done to manage them as the surrounding watersheds developed. Over the last several decades without maintenance, the greenbelt corridors become degraded. This degradation includes invasive trees which have overtaken many greenbelts leading to the loss of quality ground cover and to erosion. In some cases this erosion has become very severe.
In 2007 the City Council directed Engineering to begin a city wide greenbelt maintenance and rehabilitation program. The reasons for this program are twofold. First, because of relatively recent EPA and WDNR stormwater regulations the City is now required to clean stormwater runoff prior to the water entering a lake or stream. The greenbelt system in its original prairie conditions is an ideal way of treating this water. Second, because the greenbelts have become so degraded there is a need to rehabilitate these environmental corridors. Since 2007, Engineering has been coordinating a segmented approach to rehabilitate the greenbelt system.
Prior to work beginning in a greenbelt section the site is toured by Engineering and Parks staff to review current conditions. A neighborhood meeting is then held with all adjacent property owners. At this meeting Engineering and arks provide information regarding the city wide greenbelt management program and a specific discussion takes place regarding the section of greenbelt to be worked. After the neighborhood meeting and prior to the start of work, Engineering and Parks meets with residents individually at their properties to discuss specific concerns that they might have.
In approaching the work, each greenbelt section is treated somewhat differently depending on the character of the greenbelt. Factors effecting how the work is approached include the existing topography, existing trees and ground vegetation, the extent of any erosion that may be occurring, and the interests of the adjacent property owners. Significant efforts are made in each greenbelt to balance the competing functional requirements of repairing any erosion and cleaning the stormwater with the resident’s desires to maintain visual and noise buffers and to create a pleasant environmental space. Click here for more information about greenbelts.
If there are any questions regarding the greenbelts rehabilitation program please contact Engineering at 755-3160.