Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 13, 2012

100 trees on a 100-year floodplain

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Thursday marked the beginning of the planting of 100 trees as part of the Gas Creek Watershed Improvement Project.

Last spring, 20 trees were removed so construction equipment could fit into the construction site located around Montgomery Road, near A to Z Occasions, and by the railroad near GECOM. The construction helped lower the floodplain three feet.

Greensburg is on a 100-year-floodplain, or a floodplain with a one-percent flooding risk. In 2008, the one-percent chance happened, exposing the need to repair and improve drainage systems.

The resulting construction required the removal of trees, which are also part of the endangered Indiana Brown Bat’s natural habitat. As per Indiana conservation standards, the trees were removed before the bats’ nesting season at the end of April, so as not to hurt any of the flying mammals that might have been nesting.

There has been no evidence that any bats were actually in the trees at the time, but, as part of the mitigation plan with Indiana, Greensburg is responsible for replacing the trees. Greensburg is not responsible for bringing back any bats which may have left the area.

Street Department Commissioner Mark Klosterkemper said the 100 trees cost approximately $9,000 in total, and that each tree measures two inches in diameter, with nine different species among the group, including include paw paw, hackberry, red maple, bur oak, shagbark hickory, white oak, black walnut, red bud and dogwood. The trees will be planted on one-third acre of land around GECOM’s pond.

Klosterkemper hopes the project will finish by Friday, but added he doesn’t expect it will.

“Because it’s relatively freshly excavated dirt, it’s really soft, and it’s really muddy,” said Klosterkemper.

He said that around 150 work hours would be required, and the project would likely take three days.

After the trees are planted, the Street Department is required to monitor them for three years, compiling an annual report each year. Per the mitigation agreement, 85 percent of the trees must survive.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004.