Etna, Sharpsburg flood study done; reviews are mixed
A flooding study by a Washington nonprofit that helps protect and restore rivers lays out ambitious proposals that might be difficult to implement, say officials in Etna and Sharpsburg.
They're taking a cautious view of the report completed last year by American Rivers, which has an office in Edgewood. The nonprofit recently distributed its recommendations to officials for review.
“To help with flooding in Etna, you'd have to move upstream,” said borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage.
She said the borough played no role in developing the proposals. Among suggestions for Etna, the report says the borough should consider flood prevention ideas when revitalizing the Tippins brownfield and expanding a walking trail.
American Rivers believes the Tippins site could be an especially good area to make significant improvements, said Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, associate director for river restoration.
“Anytime you're looking at taking a brownfield and bringing it up to a new use, there's a great opportunity,” Hollingsworth-Segedy said.
She said the report identified two types of flooding — the 100-year storm types similar to that from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and nuisance flooding from heavy rain. It recommends “green” infrastructure and green-space ideas to beautify the communities and help with flood prevention.
Hollingsworth-Segedy remains hopeful the ideas will enable officials to tackle several issues at once.
“They're facing multiple problems,” she said.
Sharpsburg borough Secretary Jan Barbus said she expects officials to discuss the report this summer. Some of the ideas would require a lot of work, she said.
“It's a lot of extreme changes,” Barbus said.
Ramage said by the time flooding reaches the communities it can be too late for mitigation.
“If you want to hold water back, you have to hold it back before the floodplain,” she said.
American Rivers suggested a gateway between Sharpsburg and Etna and “green” parking lots to control stormwater runoff.
The suggestions could be useful for a multi-municipal plan, Ramage said, but American Rivers officials should not assume their ideas will be considered.
Hollingsworth-Segedy said she would next like to look for money to pay for a feasibility study on some of the recommendations.
Barbus said Sharpsburg's budget does not include money for any of the potential projects.
“The overall goal is to find as much assistance that's available ... to get these projects ready for implementation,” Hollingsworth-Segedy said.
Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.