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Concerns grow over Richmond’s Reedy Creek Stream Restoration project

RICHMOND, Va. -- The peaceful sound of nature is just one of the things Suzette Lyon loves about her South Richmond neighborhood.

“I really enjoy being near a patch of woods where I can just go and enjoy the trees and stream,” said Lyon.

Lyon has lived near Reedy Creek for more than 20 years.

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek

However, now, she and others fear for the future of the area.

The City of Richmond has plans to move forward with the Reedy Creek Stream Restoration project. It’s part of a plan to help reduce pollutants from going into the Chesapeake Bay as well as improving the water quality.

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek

City officials have warned that the creek could degrade even further if the project isn’t done.

However, Suzette and others with the Reedy Creek Coalition have serious concerns with the project, as it will result in over 400 trees being removed.

“I think they want to simply do this project and get the credits and be done with it, it’s that simple,” said Lyon.

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek

Bill Shanabruch, with the Reedy Creek Coalition is a former biologist with the Department of Environmental Quality.

He said the project has high risks and low benefits.

“The proposed stream restoration site is immediately below one mile of concrete channel that concentrates all that storm water from Midlothian Turnpike, so the amount of storm water and the force of the storm water that would enter the project site really makes it a high risk,” said Shanabruch

The group said they are also concerned with the maintenance.

“The thought that the city is somehow going to water the trees and keep invasives out is just really hard to believe,” said Shanabruch.

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek

Shanbruch showed CBS6 reporter Chelsea Rarrick pictures taken in March of 2016 of the Albro Creek Stream Restoration Project, a similar venture that the city completed back in 2014.

According to Shanabruch, it has not been maintained.

“Here you can see matting and you can see bare soil where it’s eroding, you’ve got to fix that stuff,” said Shanabruch

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek

The project will cost nearly $1.3 million, with half of the money funded by a grant from the DEQ.

However, on Monday the Planning Commission deadlocked on a measure to accept the $635,00 grant.

Richmond City Council now has the final say and is scheduled to vote at Monday night’s meeting on September 26.

CBS 6 reached out to the city for an on camera interview regarding the project and the concerns, however our request was denied.

The city has warned that there could be penalties with not moving forward with the project.

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek