Letters to the editor May 19

MUB must consider
trees, wildlife in route
Morgantown is a popular place. What’s not to like? There are great restaurants both in town and nearby, venues for dance, theater, movies, soccer, baseball, football and available jobs and watering holes serving everything from craft beers to bubble tea.
This is both the cause and effect of population growth in the Morgantown area. We see it on the roads, we feel it as we wait to turn onto Van Voorhis Road, and we pay for it in our taxes and sewage bills. So, with the increasing population and stress on local resources, it makes sense MUB would plan for an alternative water supply in case of temporary disruption to the Monongahela River. Months ago, we heard discussion of the Cobun Creek Reservoir and a plan to provide this supply. Then, we saw a swath of trees cut out along Mississippi and a piece of pipeline snaking through a shallow ditch.
It wasn’t until later that we found out the path of the pipeline. It would go through White Park, passing near the waterfalls next to the dam and then turn back along the main path. At the Morgantown City Council meeting, the MUB engineer said that in the original engineering plan, trees were simply counted.
This implies that the trees’ age, health and canopy were not considered, but hopefully will be for alternative pathways for the pipeline. The pipeline is gravity fed, meaning that no  pumping station is needed.
Additional issues to be considered are habitats for birds such as owls and woodpeckers, and amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. As MUB, thankfully, considers alternate routes, soils, trees and wildlife must be considered.
There is no guarantee that the gravity-fed design will work, and a pumping station may be needed in any case. The time to think this  pipeline’s pathway through is now, because the largest trees are providing hundreds of thousands of dollars of ecosystem services each, and so much of Morgantown’s history is embedded in White Park.

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