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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Corps Study: Trees Sometimes Help

A new study by the Army Corps of Engineers says that trees growing on levees can strengthen the flood-control structures in some circumstances, but indicated that results vary by soil type, climate conditions and levee design. “These results cannot be generalized to apply to every levee system,” said Maureen Corcoran, an Army Corps research geologist. Trees and their root systems can either increase or decrease levee safety, she said, and must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. The city of Coeur d’Alene learned this year that hundreds of mature ponderosa pine trees growing along Rosenberry Drive, also known as “the dike road,” don’t comply with the corps’ national levee standards/Becky Kramer, SR. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Any guesses re: how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will respond now that the city of Coeur d'Alene has decided not to be bullied by the agency to clear-cut Dike Road ponderosas?

Save Our Trees Petitions Now Online

Terry Harris & his KEA troops have taken their petitions to save the picturesque Dike Road (Rosenberry Drive) ponderosas from a clear-cut U.S. Army Corps of Engineers one-size-fits-all mandate. You can get your copy to download, print out, and circulate to friends here.

KEA: ‘Inflexible,’ ‘Incompetent’ Feds

In this photo from KEA Blog, endangered trees are on the left, between Rosenberry Drive & Lake Coeur d'Alene.

An incompetent Corps of Engineers and an inflexible FEMA are about to destroy a Coeur d’Alene treasure unnecessarily. The out-of-town and out-of-control federal agencies are blindly calling for the City of Coeur d’Alene to remove hundreds of mature trees from the dike that follows the lake and riverfront around City Park and North Idaho College. (News coverage here, here, here, and here.) Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s, the dike runs just less than a mile and it purports to protect NIC and the Fort Grounds area from 100-year flood events. The main significance, however, is that the dike protects NIC and the Fort Grounds from unreasonable flood insurance premiums/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here.

Question: Do you agree with KEA Blog that Corps of Engineers is incompetent and FEMA inflexible on the issue involving Dike Road?

Deanna: City Has No Choice

Deanna Goodlander: The facts are, that FEMA who are the flood insurance folks have told the Core of Engineers who oversee levees that they must more stringently clear levees in order to make them less inclined to fail. After Katrina and more recently the Mississipi River levee failures they are getting more strict. If we fail to act, the entire fort grounds area will have increased rates and the insurance will not cover the full cost of replacement or repairs. With millions of dollars worth of private property, as well as, the college and wastewater plant the costs and risks will be astronomical. Fortunately even if we have to cut trees they will only be on the slope and the ones on the level can stay. More below.

Reaction?

Panel OKs Plan To Cut Dike Trees

Before it can compromise, the city of Coeur d'Alene will likely comply. A subcommittee recommended Monday the City Council adopt a mitigation plan to begin removing vegetation and addressing other concerns regarding the levee along Rosenberry Drive in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' March order. “I don't love it,” said Deanna Goodlander, City Council and Public Works Committee member, on moving forward with the plan. “I don't even like it.” The Public Works Committee recommended the City Council adopt the mitigation plan during its Aug. 2 meeting, saying the city's hands were tied because of possible insurance increases for the surrounding neighborhood should it not adhere to the changes/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Are you surprised that the city is rolling over on this one?

Corps: Cut Trees Along NIC Road

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is calling for the city of Coeur d’Alene to remove hundreds of trees from its levee, which separates North Idaho College and the Fort Grounds neighborhood from Lake Coeur d’Alene. Rosenberry Drive, otherwise known as the “dike road,” draws thousands of people year-round as a place to park when headed to the college or the beach or events like Art on the Green. A section of North Idaho’s Centennial Trail also stretches along the road and is popular with walkers, joggers and bicyclists. “I don’t think anybody in our community is going to be thrilled about removing 500 trees,” said Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem. “Obviously, we’re going to try to find a solution other than that.” Bloem said city officials are reviewing the Army Corps report and looking for alternatives/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR photo/Kathy Plonka: “I can’t believe they would even think about removing these trees,” said Daryl Rise as he walked with Cristy Hodgkins on the dike road Tuesday at North Idaho College.)

Question: How should the city of Coeur d'Alene handle the Corps of Engineers demand?