Katy Beth Boyers / Arts & Life Editor
Birmingham has experienced record rainfall the past two weeks, resulting in flash floods in neighborhoods and Shades Creek. These flash floods and heavy rain resulted in different areas, including an apartment complex, becoming flooded.
According to the Friends of Shades Creek, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and protection of the creek, Shades Creek is a natural creek located along Lakeshore Drive in Homewood that extends 56 miles through six different cities.
Shades Creek in the past has always flooded due to heavy rain, and this time was no different. Homewood City Council member Barry Smith has been a Homewood resident for 25 years and said that Shades Creek has been an ongoing issue and is always going to possibly overflow during a significant rain event.
“I think we’ve gotten better at forecasting it and knowing when it is going to happen,” Smith said.
Two weeks ago on Feb. 5, the Crescent at Lakeshore Apartments complex experienced some flooding that resulted in the complex being evacuated, WBRC 6 reported. Smith said that the fire department was able to get people out before the flooding got worse.
“Our fire department has been very active in watching water levels,” Smith said.
The Greenway flooded due to Shades Creek two weeks ago, resulting in debris and mud in the path. Smith said that this is an ongoing issue that the city continues to deal with by monitoring it and managing it as best as they can.
“A lot of it is just being able to be attentive and responsive,” Smith said.
The city has also encountered many other issues with Shades Creek, resulting in the development of a watershed plan. According to Shades Creek’s website, the watershed controls where the rainwater flows, which is into Shades Creek.
The Watershed Management Plan is intended to improve water quality in the watershed and mitigate the impacts of possible future development.
“It provides documentation of existing environmental conditions and challenges while offering a vision and strategy for protecting the physical, chemical, and biological integrity for wildlife and human uses,” the website states. “The WMP will help us understand the condition of the watershed, to promote opportunities to ensure its long-term health, and to ensure that the public will be able to enjoy it for generations to come.”
City Council member Jennifer Andress is the marketing person for the watershed management plan and recently said that they had an open house for the watershed and everyone was welcome to attend and talk about areas of concern and flooding in Homewood.
The city continues to work on the expansion of the Greenway from Columbiana Road to Sam’s Club and WalMart at Wildwood. The Greenway will be entering its second phase of construction and expansion soon and is expected to be completed by June or July of this year, according to Andress.