Corps of Engineers order tree planting at creek site
Nineteen months after political fur flew over the city of Louisiana dumping materials at the riverfront, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not metered severe punishment.
Instead, the city and the Corps have agreed to let the 1.5 acres of fill in the wetlands stay, in exchange for creating three acres of wetlands along Noix Creek at the far western edge of town.
The Jan. 31 letter from the St. Louis District Corps of Engineers regulatory officer Charles Frerker calls for planting trees along the northern bank of Noix Creek from the Hwy. NN bridge east behind the city industrial park.
That’s where the city wanted to do the official mitigation, according to City Administrator Bob Jenne.
“All we have to do is plant seedlings,” Jenne said at the Monday, Feb. 10 city council meeting. Jenne said he would speak with Stark Bro’s co-owner Cameron Brown about possible donations for the new riparian area.
The situation started 10 years ago, when the city began dumping fill dirt at the riverfront just south of the existing parking lots to extend Riverfront Park.
In May 2012, the city got large equipment operators from Local 513 to spread out the fill for free, in anticipation of using the land later.
Frerker said the Corps was alerted by several phone calls from “concerned individuals,” and issued a letter to the city claiming that moving the fill was illegal.
Shortly after, then-city council member Robbyn Morris and current city councilman Chuck Hoffman objected to the way the project was done without federal and state permits.
Then-council members Monroe Elliott, Jim Wood, Larry White, Ann Handford and Don Oakley voted for it as a city improvement.
Although the Corps initially threatened to have the city dig up the fill, that was not ordered in the recent letter.
However, the Corps will not allow anymore earth to be dumped at the riverfront site. In addition, no development will be allowed in the new riparian area along Noix Creek.