Dredge Bull Creek
Allegheny County and Tarentum officials need to be on the same page.
Tarentum officials and residents were puzzled last week by a presentation for Bull Creek's restoration.
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $1 million grant to restore the creek.
But a project engineer with AWK Consulting Engineers presented a plan to prevent the kind of damage from flooding that resulted from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. It involves adding rocks and a gabion wall to shore up the creek banks.
The plan, however, didn't include dredging Bull Creek from the West Seventh Avenue bridge to the mouth of the Allegheny River, as Tarentum officials expected.
These smaller bank projects, estimated to cost $170,000, could simply be the prelude to dredging.
One of the project consultants said concerns over endangered species could make it difficult to get permission to dredge.
But a section of Bull Creek further upstream was dredged in 2006. So we find it difficult to believe the EPA and the Army Corps wouldn't approve dredging this section, too.
Debris caught under several bridges in this area, including a stone railroad bridge, caused much of the flooding during Hurricane Ivan. Widening these bridges would be very expensive, so lowering the creek bed by dredging is the best fix.
To its credit, the county agreed to take over this project because Tarentum could not come up with a required match of $400,000.
But we need to agree on the best way to use this grant. And everyone agrees the key is dredging the creek.
Let's make sure the grant covers that purpose.