Concerns for The Nine Mile Creek Flood Plain

Many areas of the Creek often overflow the banks and flood into the yards of the neighboring homes.  After a day of heavy rainfall the Nine Mile Creek floods onto individual properties in some cases by more than 30 feet. At this time there is discussion of two possible types of trails in these areas - boardwalks which would be built above the yearly flood level but are very expensive, or an impervious surface, which would allow water to seep through the permanent surface, but solve nothing in terms of ridership when flooding does occur. In other words, this option does not solve the issues of the proposed trail being under water and inaccessible to bikers during times of flooding or heavy rainfall, which is an extremely common occurrence in a floodplain. At this time the proposed trail will be open only during the months of March through early November - the months most prone to flooding. It is difficult to see how a path could be 16 feet wide (10 feet plus 3 foot area on each side) built up 3 to 4 feet above the existing grade (an eyesore), or in the second thought process of the impervious surface allow for proper drainage and still be environmentally or aesthetically friendly. Further issues are the displacement of water with a surface of this size running for almost 17 miles. Displacement of this type of surface area would affect the flow of the nature along the Creek bed as well as those at the mouth of the Creek - including endangered species the Northern Cricket Frog.

In the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District January 9, 2008  Draft rules It states the following information and policies:

It is the policy of the Board of Managers to ensure the preservation of the natural function of floodplains as floodwater storage areas and to maintain no net loss of floodplain storage in order to accommodate 100-year flood storage volumes. The District will seek to maximize upstream storage and infiltration of floodwaters.

Land-disturbing activity: Any alteration of the ground surface that could result, through the action of wind and/or water, in soil erosion, substantial compaction, or the movement of sediment into waters, wetlands, storm sewers, or adjacent property. Land-disturbing activity includes but is not limited to demolition of a structure or surface, soil stripping, clearing, grubbing, grading, excavating, filling and the storage of soil or earth materials.

"No structure may be placed, constructed or reconstructed and no surface may be paved within 50 feet of the centerline of any water course."

The proposed path certainly falls in areas of floodplains, and would also be considered by the rules above as a "Land Disturbing Activity" As far as not building a structure within 50 feet of the water course ....In some cases if this rule is followed would a path then run further from the Creek and into the backyards of Edina constituents? A recent meeting with the Watershed District indicates if a path was built near the Creek that it might be in the form of a boardwalk - a walkway placed several feet above the ground. For residences that overlook the Creek this would completely invade privacy, block views of the wildlife and create an aesthetic eyesore. 

Anyone resident that has lived along Nine Mile Creek in Edina is aware that real estate taxes for those homes are consistently higher compared to similar residences in the area that are not located on the Creek. There is little doubt that placing a bike trail required to be 50 feet from the water body puts the trail quite literally in the back yards of those along the Creek. There is little doubt that placing such a trail or boardwalk in such close proximity to the backyards of those residents will have a significantly negative impact not only on the natural floodplains, habitat, and beauty of Nine Mile Creek, but also on property values. The City of Edina is one of the few communities in our current economy that has been able to maintain property values and a strong property tax base. All of that is jeopardized with the placement of the Proposed path along the Creek.