Creek stabilization project

A major construction project to upgrade water lines and streets in Burleson Heights is pretty much wrapped up, and one designed to repair sewer lines and stabilize the banks of Country Club Creek is nearing an end.

Back when this neighborhood was developed, it was standard practice to install sewer mains in the beds of creeks like CCC, which wraps around two sides of Burleson Heights. The problem is that when there’s a leak, it contaminates the watershed and exposes people and animals to health risks.

The sewer main near our neighborhood had frequent leaks, but has been repaired in the past few years. Next the creek banks were stabilized with ‘riprap,’ boulders that line the creek to prevent erosion. The riprap is at bends in the creek, where erosion is most likely: in two areas near the base of Douglas Street, one each at the foot of Princeton Drive and Ware Road, and one between Princeton and Ware.

Next the city needs to complete a storm sewer at the bottom of the hill on Ware Road, between the dead end and the creek. But that property belongs to the owners of the Douglas Landing apartment complex, which is near Oltorf street and on the other side of the creek from Burleson Heights. The city has been trying to negotiate with the California-based owners for months to obtain the land and create an easement. It is set to condemn the property in a City Council meeting on Aug. 18.

Once the city can create a 70-foot easement, crews can complete the storm sewer so that water collected by the new drainage system along Ware Road and Benjamin Street can make it to the creek without flowing above ground and causing flooding.

The city is working to create a 70-foot easement in a clearing between the end of Ware Road, in background, and Country Club Creek so it can finish a drainage system for the neighborhood.

Stone riprap now lines the banks of the creek in five places near Burleson Heights. The new storm sewer is incomplete at the foot of Ware Road, but will empty into the creek in this area between Ware and the Douglas Landing apartments, rear.

The last step in the creek project will be to revegetate along the banks. Grasses, shrubs and trees will be planted in curving rows, starting 3.5 feet from the edge of the riprap and extending to the existing wooded property. Drought-resistant native plants that will grow to about 5-15 feet will be used, and most of them flower or have fall color. Species include roughleaf dogwood, mountain laurel, Mexican redbud, evergreen sumac and flameleaf sumac.

Native plants will line the banks of Country Club Creek, creating a band of small to medium plants between the creek and the taller existing trees.

But not even drought-resistant plants can get established in a drought, and planting has been delayed by this year’s harsh conditions. Plants will not go in the ground until the weather cools off and rain seems more likely. Once trees and shrubs are planted, the contractor will be responsible for maintaining them for a year or two and must replant any that don’t survive.

A cooler season would also be a good time for the neighborhood to organize another creek clean-up. Residents and volunteers have made big improvements in the area in the past, but there are once again problems with littering in some places. There also is a lot of dead wood that could fuel a wildfire. Let’s band together and make some improvements soon.

Dead trees and branches are a wildfire risk.

For now, our contact for the creek project is the same project manager who has been coordinating the street construction project: Rick Colbrunn, rick.colbrunn@ci.austin.tx.us or 974-7089.

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About burlyheights

C. Forrest is a longtime resident of Burleson Heights.
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