Archive for Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wetlands value

March 21, 2006


To the editor:

Before the city of Lawrence completes its first "beltway" on the south side of town, I would like to ask the citizens to take another look at what we are blessed with on our southern border, the Baker Wetlands.

I don't think growing cities derive much long-term solution to traffic problems from building bypasses. It seems that one trafficway begets another, as we can see from Kansas City and countless other examples. Also, it seems to me, they only encourage more gas consumption, not less.

However, my main point is to invite everyone to look again at the wetlands, its beauty and value to our community. We have an abundant wildlife and plant habitat right here that would be hard to find in most cities. Maybe you should take the time to enjoy the slide show on the wetlands at the public library on March 29. Enjoy a Sunday walk along the paths through this marshy wilderness. With the spring budding out all around us, there will be much to see. Possibly you will see something worth preserving as it is.

Automobiles can turn left or right to follow the road wherever it might be built. Who can tell us if the plants and animals, disturbed by a road through their habitat, can turn to a new home? Who knows for sure that they will return to our borders when we take away their present environs? Will they recover in the numbers comparable to what they are now?

Let's all think long and hard before we despoil something that we might miss when it is gone.

Daniel Poull,



b_asinbeer 12 years, 1 month ago

I concur Daniel Poull, I hope the good citizens (and the not so good also) of Lawrence will understand and cherish what we have. I've been there about 4-5 times and it was a pleasure each time. I hope we can protect that habitat.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

A recent visitors report:

It was cold and what little precipitation there was seemed more like light sleet than rain. I checked both sides of 31st Street, but did not see any indications of salamander migrations.

Then I went to the north side of the road directly across from the Baker entrance to see if our beaver allies were out working. Rather than being startled by more explosive tail slaps as I was last time, I actually got to see at least seven beavers and two muskrats swimming in the area immediately north of the square culverts under 31st Street. Four swam to the vicinity of the culverts and dove, I presume, to their den. Three others kept swimming from the largely submerged barbed wire fence across open water in my spotlight, only to turn, swim toward me a few yards, and turn back toward the fenceline. The two muskrats, rather small, came within ten feet of my flashlight beam before diving.

One of the beavers actually seemed to reconcile himself to the fact that I was not leaving immediately. He climbed up on a stump out about thirty feet away and appeared to be chewing for a few minutes before making another attempt at getting across to his den.

If you go beaver watching I'd suggest a large light and lots of quiet patience. Use your ears more than your eyes. The Beaver do not look all that large while swimming. Only a span three or four inches wide and a few feet long protrudes from the water. You can see the tail, especially if you can get above, as I did by moving up on the road above the culverts when several got close. That is how I was certain the other two swimmers were muskrats and not juvenile beavers, not that they look that much alike.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

Wetlands are important and valued environments which come at no cost of maintenance to taxpayers. Many times they are destination sites for travelers and should be considered for their free educational values for our school systems. A fun field trip for young people.

boatman8325 12 years, 1 month ago

To everyone who doesn't want the SLT ever built...I suppose you don't like I-70 either, or how about k-10. Maybe we should all go back to the horse and buggy days...would that make you happy. The choice is it now or build it later for a lot more money. This discussion has been going on for 15 years and if we had built it back then, just thing how much less we would have spent on it.

doubledogleg 12 years, 1 month ago

Those interested in the facts should look @ The Corps of Engineers website has a bunch of good info on this project compiled by experts. For example, the 32nd street alignment will create 317 acres of wetlands, which actually offers a "substantial" net increase in the number of wetland acres.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

Wetlands logic Saturday, July 16, 2005 To the editor:

The Journal-World recently printed several articles and letters on the subject of the destruction of the Baker Wetlands as a result of the planned completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway on a route that includes 31st and/or 32nd streets. What some of these letters and stories mentioned is the possibility that the destruction of the wetlands might be accompanied by the creation of a new nature center. There are a number of problems with this possibility. 1. No nature center can take the place of the "real thing," the natural world. Doesn't it make more sense for children (and others) to have the opportunity to study nature in the great outdoors rather than to destroy the great outdoors and try to "replace" it with stuffed or caged animals and videotaped presentations? 2. We already have at least two other places in Lawrence where we can study nature. There is the Prairie Park Nature Center at 27th and Harper streets, close to the wetlands, and the Natural History Museum on the Kansas University campus, just a bit further away. 3. The planned construction of a large number of homes south of the Wakarusa River further demonstrates the folly of insisting on building a highway through the present wetlands rather than south of the Wakarusa River. Let's build the highway in a more sensible location and save the wetlands.

Jane Frydman,\

gr 12 years, 1 month ago


I think the purpose of the nature center was for the public awareness and nothing to do with taking the place of anything.

If you are for canceling the road completely, then as another wrote, maybe we should get rid of the other roads. The average person wants roads built.

If you are for building the road south of the river, what about damage to other ecosystems? The way I understand it, the road will cross the river several times affecting riparian systems. It will also allow a greater possiblity for trash to blow into the river and for oil and other pollutants to directly enter the river. Who's to say wetlands are more important than riparian? Wetlands which have been farmed in the past and are right next to city traffic and runoff? Wetlands have an over abundance of protection status whereas riparian and other ecosystems are neglected.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.