If you thought riding your four-wheeler up and down the Portsmouth levee, or if you thought having your fitness people run up and down the levee in the same spot was a good idea, Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen says it is not only a bad idea, but it has to stop – now.
Allen said the Portsmouth flood levee is a very important structure that protects the community from flooding from the Ohio and Scioto rivers. He said the condition of the surface of the levee, including the grass, is critical in protecting the earthen base of the levee from erosion due to rain.
“They’re running four-wheelers up and down the levee and the grass is gone. It has all gone into dirt,” Allen said. “When it rains it washes out and roughs it.”
If you thought only four-wheelers can cause irreparable damage to the levee, look again.
“Some of the sports teams, and these crossfit places now are making the crossfit people run up and down the levee and they’re all running in the same spot,” Allen said. “They’re killing the grass. Right in behind the city building the crossfit people run up and down and what they’re doing is running in the exact same spot and it just kills the grass.”
One of the places that has seen all the grass destroyed and replaced with dirt is an area of the levee just off Bertha Avenue in Portsmouth.
“We don’t care if people run up and down the levee, but you can’t run up and down it in the same spot,” Allen said.
Allen said, while normal pedestrian traffic is not harmful to the levee, vehicular and ATV l as repetitive running exercises in the same location can cause serious injury to the levee surface.
“If the levee is damaged it can be costly to repair and it can cause the city to be cited by the U.S. Corps of Engineers for faulty maintenance,” Allen said. “Such damage can ultimately affect the effectiveness of the city’s flood protection.”
“We’re stepping up police enforcement for that,” Allen said. “But the other people, we’re just asking, if you run up and down the levee, just run in different spots so you don’t kill the grass.”
Allen issued a warning to ATV operators and levee runners.
“Please refrain from all unauthorized activities on the levee, including ATV and vehicular traffic, as well as repetitive, organized running,” Allen said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.