LOCAL NEWS

100+ trees removed from Historic Wheeler Farm to help with future flood control

Sep 7, 2023, 11:07 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

MURRAY, Utah — About 120 trees are slated to be taken out. Some are dead, some are unhealthy — but a lot of them are healthy. But this is all being done to protect the detention basin that was put in here after the 1985 flood.

Change is never easy, but this one is difficult for some residents to see happening at Historic Wheeler Farm.

“I mean it’s heartbreaking to see,” says Amy May.

It’s a sort of backyard to many people like Jake Krong and his family.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re in a city,” Krong says. “You’re just like, it feels like you’re in the country and natural place.”

Krong says they visit the farm multiple times a day.

“Between walking the dog and going for runs around the farm or pushing my son in the stroller.”

But earlier this week something was different.

“We just saw some of the trees going down and at first we were like, ‘well maybe they’re just clearing out some of the old, dead trees,” Krong said.

But it is part of a much bigger plan.

About 65 trees are planned to be removed on one side of Little Cottonwood Creek and around that same amount on the other side too.

“We need to do that so we can inspect the dam and make sure that this facility is used for flood control and operates properly when needed for spring runoff,” says Kade Moncur, Division Director for flood control in Salt Lake County.

He says the area is overgrown and roots threaten the retention basin that helps control the flow into Murray downstream all the way into the Jordan River.

“So if we don’t have this detention basin in place, then we won’t be able to control those peak flows,” Moncur said.

There are new trees being planted to replace the old though they can’t go back into the embankment.

“Yes. There’s that adage that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago,” Amy May said. “The 2nd best time is now.”

Amy May is with Tree Utah, that coordinates plantings at parks all over the state, and they’ll continue doing that here.

But as you know it can be decades before the trees really mature.

“I just wonder though… Does it have to be this drastic?” Krong said.

Salt Lake County flood control is moving quickly. They could be through this within a couple of weeks.

You can always volunteer and or donate with Tree Utah.

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100+ trees removed from Historic Wheeler Farm to help with future flood control