Get those trees outta here!

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COEUR d’ALENE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is requiring the

city of Coeur d’Alene to remove around 500 trees along Dike Road

over the next two years.

The

order, issued in March after the department studied maintenance and

safety protocol along a number of dikes, levies and embankments

nationally following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is to take safety

precautions in light of flooding during a natural disaster.

“This isn’t just a rule thing, this is a dike safety issue,” said

Gordon Dobler, city engineer. “They’re not saying ‘follow the rules

for the rules’ sake,’ it really is a dike safety issue that hasn’t

been focused on in the past but is certainly in the spotlight

now.”

The

affected area will stretch along Rosenberry Drive, known as Dike

Road, near the Spokane River and North Idaho College. It will

stretch about 1,200 lineal feet from the intersection of Hubbard

Street and Lakeshore Drive to River Avenue and Dike Road, while

clearing around 15 feet on the college side of the road, and 25

feet on the river side.

“There are plenty of trees outside of the embankment on the beach,

on NIC’s property, so it won’t by in any means be denuded, but

yeah, there are going to be less trees,” Dobler said.

Army Corps of Engineers representatives couldn’t be reached for

comment Tuesday afternoon.

A

majority of the trees are ponderosa pines, about 12 inches in

diameter. Many are smaller than that, but some are 24 inches in

diameter or larger.

The

city has since been in contact with the department, and negotiating

isn’t an option.

“They’re telling us there’s really no wavering,” Dobler said.

Federal funds won’t be available. Funding will come from city

coffers, around $50,000 over the two years if the city is able to

do the project itself. If it has to contract out, it could be

more.

Dikes are embankments that hold back water levels, breach of which

flood nearby properties. The protected Coeur d’Alene area is the

Ft. Ground neighborhood, north to the Harbor Center. 

Dobler said the department’s request surprised him since the Army

Corps of Engineers routinely inspects city properties, and didn’t

say anything about the vegetation issue during its last visit in

September 2009.

Grass will replace the vegetation.

Dobler will present a 2-year mitigation plan Monday, July 25 to the

city’s Public Works Committee. The subcommittee would recommends

approval or denial of the plan to the City Council.

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