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I am shocked and stunned by the complete removal of the wildlife habitat on my property that was committed by Hendersonville Public Works contractors this week.

 

Without so much as a knock on my door, workers rolled Ditch Witch trenchers and Kelly tractors over the NABA-recognized butterfly sanctuary I established this year for the promotion of endangered Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies. Every root, leaf, nest, burrow, shade, branch and other natural area was ripped out, leaving a mud bank that will be subject to erosion and an estimated personal property loss of around $25,000, based on landscape and monetary outlays.

 

When I called the permit office, they had no record of a request for tree removal in that location. I am officially requesting to speak to those responsible for this decision and hasty action.

 

Alderman Jim Waters suggested these actions are done to prevent flooding of the homes opposite the creek, including in his own neighborhood. In a heavy rain, like we had in 2010, the water rises above the banks of the opposite side of that creek before it reaches the base of the bridge, so it floods their properties.

 

It is not the trees that cause the flooding. It is the increase and intensity of storms and related water level rise. Cleaning out the debris under the bridge and removing some of the sediment would be a reasonable and less expensive action to ensure adequate water flow. Due to the proximity to the lake, this is a protected area for wildlife.

 

The trees actually buffer the effect of storms on neighborhood properties. They absorb hundreds of gallons of water during a flood, secure the banks, and impede floating debris from gathering around the bridge (factors that typically exacerbate flooding problems). I have spent countless hours cleaning up the creek after each rain storm, removing plastic and other trash that had accumulated under that bridge.

 

Beauty in nature makes Hendersonville an attractive location for those wanting to raise families or just retire here. Nature is God's way of teaching us how to love unconditionally. We should plant native species in our neighborhoods, provide shade and refuge for diverse and interdependent species of wildlife and fauna and teach our children and neighbors how to do likewise. Our quality of life, that we take for granted here in Hendersonville, is dependent on this.

 

I want to have a voice in restoring the property's wildlife function and beauty. Planting wildflowers and small native trees along the bank that promote the health and diversity of birds and pollinators would bring stability and beauty back to the creek. It will also restore some of my property value and land loss. I invite collaboration with neighbors and administrators to protect and promote the native ecosystem.

Jennifer J. Miller,

Hendersonville

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