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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Should Stormwater Mitigation Be Part of Open Space?

Northampton County's Open Space program consists of municipal park projects, farmland preservation and preservation of environmentally sensitive land. At yesterday's Open Space meeting, Open Space Coordinator Bryan Cope suggested it's time to start thinking outside the box with environmental services that include stream bank restoration, wetland mitigation and flood mitigation.

Scott Parsons agreed that stream bank restoration is "something we really have to look at," and mentioned as an example a bridge on Stockertown's Lefevre Road that was nearly lost as a result of a recent flash flood. "That's what our Act 13 money is all about," Parsons added referring to a fund from fracking extraction fees that can be used for stormwater mitigation.

I suggested that, instead of investing in dubious open space projects like steep slopes and swamps that will never be developed, it's time for the County to lead a regional approach on stormwater mitigation as well as stream bank restoration, which would help improve water qualities.Scott Parsons agreed, and suggested again that is where Act 13 money should be spent.

Open Space Advisory Board members like Isidore Mineo and council member Mat Benol pretty much rejected my suggestion out of hand. Mineo said the Advisory Board exists to preserve significant natural resources, without regard to whether they are developable. Mat Benol blamed the municipalities for developing too much, making stormwater mitigation a "waste of money."

Judith Henckel, an occasional sparring partner with Ron Angle, also slammed the idea of getting into stormwater management. "I'm afraid the natural areas part of the program is slipping away," she opined, arguing that we should be preserving our history, culture and biodiversity. She opposes using open space money for a "public works stormwater management program."

I think we should be preserving people's homes from being washed away every time it rains. Advisory Board members want that money spent on people like themselves, who have spent quite a bit of the county's money preserving their own properties.

Parsons promised to discuss this issue again when his Committee meets in October.


Anonymous said...

No thanks. As the owner of a vinyl-sided colonial on former farmland, I would have no street cred with the boulder lovers.

Peter J.Cochran said...

One expert in Easton on this subject is indeed- Dr. Ruggles a Lafayette College professor ,and Easton City Council-D-was an -R- member. He IS an authority on water run off. Hire him, and find out.EZ - impervious surface ratios and type of ground a factor in this . I don't know anything about it except that my ex neighbor will not be able to build a house on that property he owns if he moves back.