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In 1998 Seguin and Schertz joined forces as the Seguin Schertz Local Government Corporation (SSLGC) to harvest water from the
in Gonzales County.
They constructed a 42 inch pipeline that brought this well water into the Seguin Area and a 36 inch water pipeline that completed the
connection to the City of Schertz.
That pipeline's location is shown as a dark blue line on the images that follow.
In modern times, and as the City of Schertz prepares itself for growth, an arrangement was reached with SSLGC to provide redundancy in their section of the pipeline by adding another 36 inch pipeline alongside the original from Seguin.
Soon after these expansion plans were put into motion, it was discovered that the easements for the earlier pipeline were ignored in some cases and structures were permitted and placed along the route. Instead of condemning those structures, it was decided to find alternative corridors for the water pipes.
The sensible alternative to avoid structures on the north side of FM78 in the City of Cibolo would be to find a corridor through Niemietz Park on the northeast bank of the Cibolo Creek. That corridor would be about 400 feet long. Rather than following the east bank of the Cibolo Creek, the City of Schertz decided to promote a 5000 foot route through Bexar County's nature park.
The rationale given by Schertz for selecting a route through the nature park was that Cibolo might not want to provide an easement related to Niemietz Park.
|This justification is what is known as a red herring
Something that is intended to be misleading or distracting
|"Does the defense's case hold water?"||"No!"
"The defense is wrong!"
|(from My Cousin Vinny 1992)|
The City's apparent reason for choosing such a damaging route was to advantage Schertz for piping future water into Southern Schertz.
The unfortunate fact is that if they had fully analyzed their self-serving decision, they would have seen that entering the nature park was significantly more expensive than following a route on the northeast side of Cibolo Creek (full explanation below).
Not only has Schertz selected and advocated a worse choice, they made no effort to provide proper concern for the assets of Crescent Bend Nature Park.
An emergency exit that provides an all-weather escape route during flooding, and also serves as half of the park's bicycle loop, will be ripped up and never replaced. The asphalt surface, which has never been properly maintained by the City will be replaced with a much narrower crushed granite walking path. During Schertz's period of responsibility for CBNP (from late 2009), the existing crushed granite walking path has contracted from a width of 5 feet to 3 feet.
No effort is being made to re-establish the original width of the present walking path. Based on Schertz's under-performance on their agreement with Bexar County, all crushed granite walking paths will succumb to the overgrowth. And, as for the bicyclists, they will be forced onto the walking paths, colliding with visitors and their pets.
This is just a small part of the impact of Schertz's decision to pass through Crescent Bend Nature Park. The rare birds and other wildlife will leave the park when the earth moving equipment arrives. Many years will pass before some of these species return to CBNP.
The images on this page compare the sensible routes (cyan and yellow) with the nature park pipeline route (red).
|Blue||The original 36 inch water pipeline|
|Cyan||A sensible and economic route embracing the nature park, saving great amounts of money, and in full support of Southern Schertz's future water needs|
|Yellow||Portion of the proposed route to connect with the Southern Schertz water facility|
|Red||Schertz's preferred water pipeline route through CBNP that will cause long lasting harm to the Park's assets|
The smart route for the disputed section of pipeline is shown as the widened portion of the cyan line. The segment passes under several fields in agricultural use and through the sport field in Niemietz Park. Niemietz Park would need to be closed for one day.
The pipeline needs to go under Schneider Creek to emerge on the west side of La Cabana's driveway, so as to not impact their daily operations. This route is 1000 feet shorter than Schertz's preference, and saves almost a million dollars of public funds.
Obstacles can be seen along FM78 at the Schneider Business Park and along FM3009 at a storage facility.
These are mistakes made by the Planning and Zoning staff in the cities of Cibolo and Schertz respectively.
Rather than condemning these businesses, the route selection effort turned to trying to redirect the pipeline to avoid these obstructions.
It seems that Schertz, recognizing the potential growth in Southern Schertz, had an interest in getting the alternative route located in a manner that would benefit a future addition of a 36 inch tap into the newer pipeline from Seguin. A water tower and storage tanks are now planned near Corbett Junior High School, about a mile south of the location where alternative routes were being considered.
This is the point where Schertz went 'BAD'.
The City of Schertz led the decision making process of favoring a route into Bexar County, and into Crescent Bend Nature Park. The less expensive and much easier path would have been to remain on the northeast side of Cibolo Creek passing through Cibolo's Niemietz Park, a few open fields, under Schneider Creek and a driveway.
Schertz does not own Crescent Bend Nature Park (CBNP), and has under-performed on its contract to manage the nature park, whose actual owner is Bexar County. Schertz would be in no position to grant any easements across lands that they do not own, but that didn't stop their effort. At this point the only option under consideration by SSLGC is in damaging Crescent Bend Nature Park.
Imagine your neighbor granting an easement onto your property. Additionally, imagine that the easement he granted would provide benefits for him while under the same conditions, you would be made to suffer.
There is a Friends of Crescent Bend Nature Park group that regularly meets with Schertz's Parks and Recreation Department. It seems reasonable to expect that Schertz would have asked for their input into the affects of possible construction inside this beautiful nature park.
Instead, the Friends of CBNP, who found out about the issue accidentally, placed it on the agenda for their departmental meeting the next day. At that meeting with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Friends were told that the decisions were already made, and that the consequential damages would occur.
Those damages would include loss of the paved emergency escape loop around the park that is enjoyed by bicyclists, but much more
importantly, there would be assaults upon the park's wildlife.
CBNP has become known around the United States for having over 200 species of birds identified within its bounds, and for its fairly regular discoveries of birds not known to come into this part of Texas.
As the construction effort enters the park and cuts a 50 to 60 foot wide swath across its roads and fields, habitats will be destroyed, and animals that require peaceful protection for themselves and their young will move onto other locations.
It has taken over a decade for some bird species to find solitude and protection within CBNP, and once the construction begins, a number of those late arriving species will not return for a long time.
Many of the park's human visitors eat at local restaurants, shop at local stores, re-fuel in town, and rest-up in local hotels. Failure to respect wildlife inside a nature park by this governmental entity that is charged with caring for the park is truly reprehensible.
What seems to be known at this point is that it is not too late to oppose Schertz's failure to involve the public. We need to convince the Bexar County Commissioners to disallow destruction of the very character of this nature park.
Schertz should accept the fact that it is an unwise plan to select a route that to goes through the nature park in a misguided attempt to get this water source into Southern Schertz. By all accounts, several better solutions exist to provide water into Southern Schertz.
This region of Bexar County is highly impacted by flood events. 100-year flood lines dominate the area west of Cibolo Creek. There were several destructive floods during the late 1990's and throughout the next decade.
Many people living in this area at the time, tragically remember the great floods of 1997 and 1998. They were disasters that led to abandonment of a few hundred home sites. Floods of less than 100-year status affected the area in the years that followed.
7 July, 2002: Cibolo Creek roiling
Flood waters 20 feet above normal flow
Emergency access from East cutoff
20 July, 2002: two hours after another rain
Emergency access and escape limited
More isolation by waters along Schaefer Road
Through the combined efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and Bexar County, measures were taken to reduce the threats and damages from future flooding.
FEMA and Bexar County combined funds such that SARA oversaw the conversion of a 200 acres housing area into a nature park. A few years later Bexar County funded a multi-million dollar box culvert drainage system permitting emergency access during periods of flooding.
The box culvert drainage system is immense. Much effort was put into assuring its stability. Any digging beneath it must be far below the box culvert's stabilized soils. Trying to place the pipeline over the box culvert wouldn't allow ample clearance and could jeopardize a very expensive public safety system.
The old water pipeline was wisely placed on the high lands northeast of Cibolo Creek.
Unfortunately, over the years, both Cibolo and Schertz have improperly permitted commercial structures to be built over the pipeline
route along FM78.
Now the planners intend to place a secondary water pipeline. For most of the distance along the route from Seguin, the new pipeline could be installed next to the original one.
It was discovered that several buildings in the Schneider Business Park were allowed to violate the original pipeline's easement. One structure even violates the railroad's right of way. The most logical route could not be realized unless these businesses were condemned. The wisest solution to avoid these obstacles would be to pass about 700 feet to the south, still on the high lands northeast of Cibolo Creek.
As the Cibolo/Schertz area grows, a couple new water towers have been envisioned.
A new water line had been proposed to add resilience to the present water distribution system.
The route for that water pipeline and the location of water towers were coordinated.
For most of the route a large excavator working from the surface can dig a trench, lower in pipe sections and place the fill. The practice is almost as simple where the pipeline crosses streets, driveways and ditches.
However, when waterways and significant underground infrastructure need to be crossed, the process becomes much more complex.
Passing under Cibolo Creek and possibly under a box culvert drainage system requires a large work area to be prepared.
For this project, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) will be used.
Each instance where HDD is required, the price tag of the project rises. The sensible route shown above would make one such crossing now and another crossing on a future water pipeline project.
HDD is a three-phase process.
First, a drill bit tool creates a pilot hole approximately 1 to 5 inches in diameter from the entry to the receiving locations at an angle of 5 to 30 degrees from the ground surface.
The second phase is reaming, which enlarges the hole by approximately 50% and prepares it for the pipe placement.
A reamer tool replaces the drill bit and is pulled back or pushed forward by the HDD machinery to expand the pilot hole.
The third phase is pipe pullback, where the product pipe is attached to the reamer and pulled through the HDD borehole into place.
The route under consideration by SSLGC, through persuasion exerted by the City of Schertz, would require two expensive crossings of
Cibolo Creek now and a less expensive crossing of the box culvert drainage system on a future water pipeline project.
The route chosen by Schertz would needlessly take a significant toll on the nature park.
Schertz made no effort to ask for input from stakeholders regarding their intention to sell-out the nature park. Furthermore, Schertz is still being evasive regarding their intentions to come back into the nature park to extend their planned waterline to the Corbett Water Tower.
Consider this commonly heard complaint: If Schertz wasn't so committed to deceiving the public, they could benefit from collective
But that sentiment has never taken hold within the City's chambers.
Crescent Bend Nature Park needs help from the public. The nature park is owned by Bexar County. If the County hears from the many folks that use the nature park, and from those that simply like the idea that there is a commitment for natural settings, then, we believe, Bexar County will not condescend to Schertz's view that Crescent Bend Nature Park can be exploited simply as available real estate.
These 12 survey markers were placed in Crescent Bend Nature Park on March 10th, 2017.
If this nature park is going to be saved, this is the time to convince the Bexar County Commissioners Court to guard its future.
Nelson W. Wolff
Precinct 1 Commissioner (South)
Sergio "Chico" Rodriguez
Precinct 2 Commissioner (West)
Precinct 3 Commissioner (North)
Kevin A. Wolff
Precinct 4 Commissioner (East)
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