[Bristol-Birds] Kingsport engineer to speak at BBC August meeting and introduce mitigation projects

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 19:02:08 -0400

 Hold the date on your calendar for the Bristol Bird Club, Tuesday, Aug. 17,
 meeting at the Bristol Public Library when a project engineer for the City
 of Kingsport's mitigation design to create new wetland areas to compensate
 for destructing or altering the Meadowview wetland bird habitat, will be the
 program presenter for BBC. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. 

 Steve Robbins, the engineer who has considerable experience with a
 variety of wetland and land use projects during his career, will bring maps
 and photographs to inform BBC members about what the city is doing 
 and plans to do.   To Kingsport's credit, they are going to do the mitigation
 work themselves -- with the help of a design engineering firm. 

Robbins will provide plenty of time for open questions and discussion.
Underlying wetland mitigation is the assumption that it is scientifically 
possible for humans to recreate the structure and functions of a wetland, 
either by restoring a site that had previously been a wetland or by creating 
an entirely new wetland. 

Kingsport has chosen two sites for the mitigation of the Meadowview 
wetland destruction.  They are shown in the photo above and are labeled
as site 1 and site 2.  Both are in the Reedy Creek drainage.  Both are
along the stream and along the Kingsport Greenbelt which is depicted on
the photo in green.  The areas are part of a floodplain and have been 
in agriculture use.  Kingsport is seeking to control, own and sometimes
manage such sites.  They will greatly reduce heavy sediment that flows
thru the city along Reedy Creek and carry the soil from farming activities.

Site 1 is about 13 acres and the city has had control of the area for some
time.  It is located along N. John B. Dennis Hwy.

Site 2 is about 43 acres and the city acquired the land not long ago from
a family which donated part of the tract and sold part of it to the city.  It
is located just south of E.Stone Drive (US 11W) just before you drive
under the overpass heading further south into Kingsport.  It is upstream
from the American Way access which is popular among birders.  Marked as
a red A is a possible access for nature watching which could park maybe
a half a dozen cars or so.  Also shown in the photo are yellow letters V
which suggest potential public viewing locations or possibly one or more
viewing platforms.  None of the possibilities at A or V or actually in the
present project plan but are simply ideas aware to the engineer.

Very soon, the city will receive notification from TDEC (Tennessee
Department of Environment and Conservation) that the city may
advertise a public hearing for the Meadowview wetlands project 
and the two mitigation areas. TDEC will provide the copy for what must
be advertised in newspapers.  A public hearing will follow closely.

Kingsport could begin work this winter on the wetland mitigation sites.
Other considerations will affect the timing of the Meadowview project.

Robbins will also present maps that suggest locations for small ponds
which will be located on each site.  The larger site may have two

Under a complex permit process that interweaves both federal and 
state approval, any building project that disturbs an existing wetland 
must compensate for the impact through wetland mitigation, a process 
that restores, creates or enhances a body of water to make up for 
the loss.

Environmental groups and the staff at the TDEC have been longtime 
proponents of the method that it puts the environmental 
responsibility for cleaning up affected wetlands firmly on the shoulders 
of developers.  Especially in such smaller project.  However, wetland
mitigation banks have their place and considerable value.  If Kingsport
were to simply purchase credit from a distant mitigation bank, the area
would lose the Meadowview site and nothing would replace it.  The 
mitigation bank purchase could be spent for a project many hundreds
of miles away.

Kingsport will be responsible for ongoing monitoring and for guaranteeing 
the success of the mitigation. In these initial stages, the monitoring of
the progress of these new sites will come under the watchful eye of
not only TDEC but the TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers who are
part of the permit process.  Eventually, TDEC may be the single monitor.

The city wants to hear from the Bristol Bird Club and its members.  They
want suggestions and recommendations.  They want to get it right
from the beginning and make sure they achieve their wetland goals.

However,  their biggest challenges will be can they get the
wetland vegetation appropriately selected for the site and get it
correctly planted and see it grow and succeed ?

Of course birders want to see everything in place for the site to 
consistently attract both local breeding of some populations such
as the Virginia Rail and also become an attractive stopover area
for migrant shorebirds and other wetland birds as well as birders.

In these mountains, every acre of wetland has enormous value
and is much needed.

Make sure you are at the August meeting and learn the details
correctly and help the birding community support conservation and
the hobby.

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

JPEG image

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