Cumberland Times-News

Letters

October 23, 2013

Riverwalk concept won’t work in Cumberland

The San Antonio Riverwalk was a popular theme during the Chamber of Commerce’s visioning session several years ago. The Riverwalk is an example of maximum development that also requires maximum flood control measures to protect it.

For Cumberland, it is not really a viable alternative. However, other flood plain approaches that allow for flooding such as in Reno or Houston are more viable alternatives.

In March, I did a presentation at an international conference in San Antonio on the behind the scenes tour of the Riverwalk. I began the presentation by raising the question why someone from Frostburg, Maryland was presenting on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

The simple answer is that it is my area of professional expertise. Most people visit the Riverwalk, enjoy its many treasures, and leave thinking how nice it would be to duplicate the Riverwalk in their city.

Unfortunately, they leave without understanding how the flood control infrastructure makes the Riverwalk possible. My presentation provided that understanding.

Rivers flood. It is axiomatic. It is not if, but when they will flood. The Potomac River is no different from the San Antonio River. Without extensive flood control measures, the San Antonio Riverwalk would not exist as we know it today. The river forms a large oxbow through downtown San Antonio.

It is not unlike the oxbow the Potomac River makes as it touches Cumberland. The first flood control measure taken in San Antonio was to dig a bypass canal with floodgates to avoid the oxbow.

Next, the Army Corps of Engineers bored a 24-foot diameter tunnel three miles in length 150 feet beneath San Antonio. A reverse syphon, it is designed to accept one-half the flow of the worst known flood.

Completed in 1997, it cost $111.4 million. Also, when the river flow drops below 50 cfs, flows are augmented by recirculating water back through the siphon.

For Cumberland, the bypass canal and tunnel concepts could be combined where a tunnel is bored through the mountain between Ridgeley and Carpendale.

Cumberland uses traditional levees to solve its flood control problem. Utilitarian, they do the job. They are planted with grass. Trees and larger vegetation were removed to increase the flow rate past Cumberland. It is the standard no frills flood control design.

The design has two unintentional consequences. Visually, the levees divorce the river from the city. Second, the mowed levees and the channelized river discourage use. To further discourage use, no trespass signs are even posted on the levees.

Alternative flood control approaches are available. These approaches allow for low impact development within the flood plain. The Army Corps of Engineers is slowly beginning to recognize these approaches. The whitewater course in the Reno whitewater park is designed to washout during floods.

In Houston, the Buffalo Bayou Trail is designed to be completely submerged during their frequent floods. Galvanized steel is used extensively in the bridges, railings and other fixtures that become inundated. Electrical fixtures are designed to tolerate flooding and panels are placed on high ground.

Trees, walkways, and trails lace the flood plain and are designed to survive floods. The benefit is that the flood plain has become a viable recreational park for citizens. Also, flood control has been enhanced.

The Riverwalk concept in San Antonio is not really feasible for Cumberland. Developmental costs are prohibitive. Developing recreational facilities like a whitewater park designed to be periodically flooded are a much better alternative.

In addition, a whitewater park would provide an attraction for people to visit the river and it would help reconnect the city with the river.

Robert B. Kauffman, Ph.D.,

Professor and chair,  Department of

Recreation and Parks management

Frostburg State University

Frostburg

1
Text Only
Letters
  • Which approach to the school makes sense?

    What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
    I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.

    April 16, 2014

  • H.O.G. Rally coming to Cumberland in June

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Francine Kraft and I am the Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally Coordinator for 2014.
    With a team of seven others, we have put together a rally for June 19-22 to be held in Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Access to trout ponds hard for those who have trouble walking

    I took my 5-year-old grandson Easton, who lives in Cumberland, to the Evitts Creek three ponds on March 31, the day it was stocked with trout.He had the joy and excitement of catching his first trout and two more. I have a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wait long enough; they will die off without being cared for

    The letter to the editor of April 14 (“Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.”),  I am afraid, hit the nail on the head — sort of — about this next set of returning veterans.

    April 16, 2014

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.

    Our legislators in Washington must stop playing politics with our veterans, this is  especially true of Vietnam war veterans. Will the game playing carry over to our veterans of present day wars? Will they too become pawns? Veterans have few friends in Washington. Just like the Vietnam veterans, today’s veterans will face
    what we are up against, little to no support.

    April 13, 2014

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads