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KEA filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mandate to remove the trees along the Rosenberry Drive (“The Dike Road”) in Coeur d’Alene. The lawsuit alleges that the Corps failed to perform an adequate environmental analysis, and that the Corps is attempting to enforce a memorandum that isn’t actually a law.
tangle of one-size-fits-all federal regulations and a failure of common sense threaten the 500-700 trees lining the dike road which separates the Spokane River and Coeur d’Alene Lake from North Idaho College and the Fort Grounds neighborhood in Coeur d’Alene. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspection in the fall of 2010 faulted the dike for excessive vegetation and has ordered the trees removed by the city before the dike can be re-certified for flood control. Without certification, properties behind the dike will be designated as being in an unprotected flood plain and will face flood insurance problems and development restrictions. The trees, which provide shade, habitat and an aesthetic buffer to the beach and park below, have been growing on the dike for years without any problems.
Kootenai Environmental Alliance has launched a major grassroots campaign to save the dike road trees. We have a petition campaign calling for the Corps of Engineers to review the policy that requires removal of vegetation from levees nationwide. KEA is also participating in a City-convened task force to review options for protecting the trees on the dike.
How to help:
1. Stay in touch.
Subscribe to the blog, become a fan on a special facebook page
set up for the campaign, and sign up for email alerts. We have been posting frequent updates and news on this story.
2. Speak for the trees.
So far, the city of Coeur d’Alene seems committed to doing what it can to save the trees. But whatever they decide to do, it is likely to cost money. Coming up with this money will need to be a priority, and it will only be a priority if we demonstrate strong public support.
Trees on the dike road are not exactly something we thought we’d ever need to defend. We need your help
to supplement our already-tight budget to wage this battle.
Dike Tree News:
March 6, 2013 4:15 pm : blog, Dike Road Trees
Last night, the Coeur d’Alene City Council approved the services contract for Ruen-Yeager & Associates (RYA) to serve as the engineers tasked with evaluating the levee that runs along Rosenberry Drive and then certifying it in accordance with FEMA requirements (44CFR, Section 65.10). RYA is a local consulting civil engineering, planning and land surveying firm that has been doing work in North Idaho since 1983. more »
November 8, 2012 12:00 pm : blog, Dike Road Trees
The City of Coeur d’Alene recently received a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers stating, “the levee certification (evaluation) letter provided to the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) and the City in July 2007 for the Coeur D’Alene Flood Control Project will be considered invalid by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on August 31, 2013.” Apparently back in August 2010, the Army more »
April 27, 2012 4:23 pm : Dike Road Trees
Late today, we were forwarded a copy of issued by a U.S. District Court in California denying the Army Corps of Engineers motion to dismiss a case over levee vegetation in Sacramento. The Court rejected each of the Corps of Engineers arguments to dismiss the case outright. Indeed, the order constitutes a complete rejection of the very same arguments which we were expecting in our more »
March 12, 2012 4:47 pm : Dike Road Trees
This is breaking news, and we are still absorbing the just-received document, but today the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers answered the complaint we filed in federal court to protect the dike road trees. The Corps of Engineers’ Answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (pdf) is a detailed and formalistic response which will be used primarily to frame the case as it moves to the next phase of more »
February 14, 2012 4:46 pm : Dike Road Trees
We just received the lamest of lame responses from the U.S. Army in response to our petitions. Taking cover behind “pending litigation,” U.S. Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy barely acknowledges our community’s outpouring of support for the dike road trees with a hugely disappointing “I cannot comment further at this time” letter. In its entirety: This is in response to your letter more »