5 hours ago
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Less people, more development and we wonder why there is more flooding
Luzerne County has been losing people for almost a hundred years yet more farmland and forests are being paved over then the stormwater runoff creates havoc every other year. Do you think there might be a connection?
Flood of progress?
Bulldozers charge through Dallas Township, clearing farmland and taming wild gamelands. New homes spring up as pavers pour streams of asphalt, creating roads for future residents. Miles to the south, older roads are eroded and decades-old homes are damaged by the unprecedented flooding of a creek that has its origins in Dallas Township.
The developers don't think so.
“A lot of people are blaming development for flooding, and that is such a fallacy,” developer John Halbing said. “The development in the last 10 or 15 years since the Toby Creek Watershed ordinance has actually reduced the flooding.”
As usual politics gets in the way of comprehensive solution as the towns on the west side can't get on the same page to address the problem.
North Branch Land Trust Executive Director Frank Oliver considers it unfortunate the communities’ attempt at a regional plan fell through.“It’s a bad harbinger for the future. How could you have just gone through the flooding in the last month and not realize that what one township or community does in approving development affects the downstream communities?” Oliver said. “When you take down trees, every tree can absorb hundreds of pounds of water. If you continue to take down trees and develop along stream beds, you are going to get flooding.”
The North Branch Land Trust is a great outfit that has been successful in preserving the beauty and open landscapes that sustain us. The chairman of the outfit is the Gort family veterinarian and life long friend Dr. Douglas Ayers. Doug was recently successful in preserving the Hillside farm and dairy in Dallas saying this "is not going to be turned into a Walmart." He not only talks the talk but backs it up with his actions.
He is now planning a large addition to the Plains Animal Hospital using the architectural skills of Rob Lewis (another founding member of BMRLT). His dream is to provide all veterinary services in one location. But, as an active member of the Association of Veterinarians for the Environment, he recognizes that his practice must be as ecologically sustainable as possible. To that end, the new building will have light tubes to cut down on artificial lighting, porous surfaces in the parking area, solar hot water heaters, and will include many other conservation measures.