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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 23, 2011 9:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was A letdown for Portand condo owners. The next post in this blog is Not as we do. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do bioswales breed mosquitoes?

They like standing water -- as in drainage ditches, which is what bioswales are. Connection? Now that the mosquito population in our area is getting nastier, it's a question worth asking.

Comments (36)

Yeah, but, bioswales are so fashionably green. That's what's wrong with the question.

Yes.

"... we found that about 60 percent of bioretention sites had a significant
amount of mosquito breeding for most of the summer season."

Sam can ask the Gates Foundation for mosquito nets.
After all doesn't Portland qualify as a 3rd world country now? We certainly have enough debt.

Doing some research this morning on the subject, it appears the secret is the Water in Bioswales must drain in 24-72 hours. Poor design, erratic vegetation growth, large leaf accumulation, gravel saturation with silt can all turn a bioswale into a mosquito breeding pond.

Never had so many mosquitoes at my house in NE until they started putting wetlands in all the parking lots.

Time to bring out those newsreels showing how mosquitoes were dealt with by the fumigators.

The Winged Scourge

1905 fumigation car eradicating
the mosquitoes

I wonder how spraying oil atop the bioswales will be received?

The O's Katy Muldoon asserts that she did not have space to address the question yesterday:

"Sorry, Gardiner Menefree, I just didn't have room in that story for a discussion of bioswales. But during the reporting, I asked about them. Vector-control experts say that bioswales, when engineered and maintained correctly, do a much better job than traditional catch basins of preventing standing water."
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/06/oregon_insect_experts_keep_an.html

Ms Muldoon apparently did not have time to ask whether bioswales have replaced "traditional catch basins" or added an entirely new medium for mosquito reproduction.

Yes, the schmutzdecke needs to stay wet to work as a bioswale. Once it dries out, and it will after a couple of dry days, it becomes impervious and holds water, thus mosquito events begin.

Jack--you should consider buying a bat box for your house. They're pretty nifty, relatively easy to install, and having dozens of bats swooping around at night feasting on the mosquitos may provide peace of mind. I'm contemplating buying one myself.

Yeesh. I expect that Sam will suddenly talk about putting up purple martin and bat houses to deal with them, and never mind that neither eat many mosquitoes, if ever. (Now, if I wanted to be really horrible, I could tell him "You know, I could set you up with 20,000 Venus flytraps, and they'll eat all of the bugs AND put the homeless to work." But that would be cruel, least of which to the flytraps.)

Yeah, those bioswales are lovely. All that water percolating down through pourous soils, recharging the aquifer.


Except that over on the wst side, and especially throughout residential southwest, away from the downtown core, there is zero percolation in the soils. The bioswales out here don't drain. They fester.

And when one tries to tell BES that, one gets the response that "they are in the stormwater management manual"and "they are an approved tool".

Less than a year ago the City did some core sampling along Capitol Highway between Taylors Freey Road and the viadict at Garden Home Road at Multnomah Village in planning for a road rework. Perc tests wer important to the engineering. That portion of Cap Highway is in large part on a ridge line which separates the Fanno Creek Drainage Basin from the Tryon Creek Drainage Basin. Hole drilled. Water put in. Perc test condicted. Zero perc down and out of the test holes. Soil all clay. Indeed, in one test bore, the hole filled up about half way from ground water pressure from a water table that was essentially at ground level.

But bioswales are amn "approved tool: and fit anywhere and do rverything in keeping storm water out of combined sewers.

Yeah, right.

I get a kick out of watching the city using its precious Bull Run nectar to water the bioswales in the summer months.

Besides street bioswales being mosquito breeders, there are the numerous BES Stormwater Management Manual "Mitigation Measures" that have been required in the past 12 years. Like Eco-Roofs, Roof Gardens, Landscape Planters and Stormwater Planters AB-CD.

Many homeowners complain about the Stormwater Planters that retain water, slug, and smell. Of course they are inspected/approved by the city when built, so you can assume they are "engineered" correctly. They aren't cheap, many average sized homes are averaging over $7,000 to $10,000 for these stormwater systems.

Adding these measures to the bioswales, parking lot swales, and all the other back to nature hyperbole, we have compounded many problems. And interesting, many of the staff at BES, when off-the-record, concur. When is sensibility going to return?

Here is the solution - just get drunk and pee in them. I'm pretty sure someone from the Portland Water Bureau will spend $36K to drain the bioswale.

i don't know crap about bioswales. does the water just sit there?
i had a similar problem once. i learned that skeeters only settle on still water, if you can swish it around, keep it moving, or just rippling, the problem could be solved...

The city doesn't clean them out because if they did, they'd need a hazardous materials disposal permit. Ten years of brake dust and leaking auto fluids- I would never touch the dirt in one of those things.

Now there's one Portland population segment that certainly will double in ten years! Bioswales are their new Portlandian high-density condo developments ("The Heartworm Arms"; "Encephalitis Escalade," etc.).

Go by West Nile Bikeway! Bzzzzzz....*smack!*

The Fever ~ Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
w/Bruce Springsteen, Clarence, Little Steven....
Live at the Agora Club, Cleveland 1978
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ3amVBypEk

Not a problem, just give the bioswales a good dose of old lawn mower engine oil and the zkeeters are toast.

Mojo , thanks for the kick asz tune , everyone reading this should stop and go listen !

Seriously lets all 'adopt' a bioSwale each and pee in it daily , problem solved !

The Tigard Liquor store got a nice face-lift out of that Burnham street project.

They probably do breed mosquitos.

It's just another bad idea that our green-fanatics in office have swallowed hook, line and sinker, thinking they're saving the planet, when they're really only being played for fools by the big bank(s) who keep bankrolling stupidity while waiting to snatch up the foreclosures.

If you are concerned about the mosquitoes breeding in your bioswale, there is a simple solution - pour in 1 can of motor oil.

I reviewed the photos on Ben's link of Tigard's Burnham St. bioswale makeover. The "before" photo looks more green, less Europeanized, and more Oregon than the "after" photos. We are being bastardized by the Planning Mafia telling us curb extensions, bioswales, more concrete is more Green. I almost feel like I'm in Berlin looking at the after pictures. Time to take our Oregon and cities back.

Time to take our Oregon and cities back.

Agree, but how do we do it?
Make a list of decision makers who promote this look and do not vote for them again? Protest that too much concrete and cement have taken over our greenery?

Enough already, but I am afraid they are into redoing and redoing until we no longer recognize where we live. It is like a Mafia. More greenery is being taken, the old trees are chopped down and little street trees are put in their place.

Looking at all those many many streetlights and signs, what a visual mess, very chaotic looking. . where the before picture looked calm and peaceful.

Bioswale? Sorry, I am 26 coming on age 27 and I had to google "Bioswale." Forgive me for not keeping up on the latest urban weird.

What I learned and did was paint fish stencils on drains telling my neighbors not to pour engine oil and other household chemicals down street drains in elementary school. I missed the whole "bioswale" thingy majig.

When did helping spread the West Nile Virus and reintroducing malaria to developed countries via bioswales become hip?

Are these freaking people out of their God danged minds? Do they fully understand what creating still, pools of water can create?

Bioswales and other idiotic enviro nonsense almost makes me wish stranger assisted euthanasia via any means necessary was legal. These people don't even deserve the right to breed.

I reviewed the Burnham photos again and now realize why the vehicle pulling the boat to make a right hand turn was mostly in the on-coming traffic lane. The curb extension requires impeding on-coming traffic to be able to make the turn.

I experienced the same yesterday making several turns in the curb extension mecca of the Pearl District and along the new Couch St. Couplet on the eastside. I wasn't even pulling a boat, just driving my smaller Tacoma truck.

Other vehicles in these curb extension streets tend to crowd the center line or more, so trying to make a turn becomes almost impossible and sometimes requires swinging way out, slowing way down, holding up traffic to just make what was once an easy turn. I pity the poor service trucks with even a little longer wheel base.

These kinds of non-sense adds to our carbon footprint and not decrease it. The propaganda exceeds the facts from the Green Agenda.

Are these freaking people out of their God danged minds?

YES!

Do they fully understand what creating still, pools of water can create?

NO!

Jerry -

(Sarcasm mode on)

Well, if some idiot is going to pull a boat trailer with a carbon fueled vehicle (probably a hateful pick up) and have a carbon fueled boat on the trailer, they have no right to actually use a street.

(sarcasm mode off)

One is only alloewed to use a pick up to crash over curbs when one's pants are unzipped.

So, Nonny Mouse, do you propose going back to the good ol' days when all the crap in our storm drains went straight into the river and killed a lot of the fish? You prefer the good ol' days when our rivers were even worse open sewers than they are now?

How 'bout we deal with the mosquito problem instead of going back to storm SEWERS?


NEWSFLASH: 99% of the crap in our storm drains still goes straight into the river. The bioswales are just Union-Made window dressing. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage also flow into the river when it rains, which constitutes a FAR GREATER danger to the river.

There are dozens of sewer mains leaking raw sewage into creeks and aquifers across the City of Portland, most of which have been doing so for a decade or more. Out of sight, out of mind.

With the new mosquito species "Rock Pool" from Asia, carrying West Nile, Dengue Fever, and Encephalitis, this should be a fun summer. They feed all day, not just at night. Good planning "Green Streets" engineers.

In my opinion, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
takes on this meaning around here:
"Out of Mind" - Elected Officials
"Out of Sight" - Behind the curtain dealings.

Old Shep,
How much fun will it be this summer at all the outdoor music concerts?
or will we have to be "sprayed" or buy products to smother ourselves with in order to attend?

Didn't the Bioswales get born out of the $20million rebate from a contractor in the Water Bureau... I just figured that when Calgon lost their patent for the UV system the week before our windfall, we reaped the spoils in the form of a rebate. Pampas Nick pointed out that we voted in the UV system to comply with the Glicker LT2 Rule... so when the patent was gone the price went down. We got Bioswales, extended curbs and bike lanes... what a waste.


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