UPDATE: On Friday, December 23, we received notice that the City of Chesterfield is applying to overdevelop even more of the floodplain that they should have never paved in the first place. The timeline for comments is excessively short given the holiday. Stay tuned to @moenviron and @mcewater for updates.
Read the public notice here: pn-permit-reauthorization-p-2032-cmbnd
Below is a post from this past February about the debacle in the Chesterfield floodplain.
by Alicia Claire Lloyd
Spurred by tax incentives, Chesterfield, one of St. Louis’ westernmost suburbs, has grown to be a retail mega development. With Chesterfield Commons, a massive, 1.2 million square foot mega retail complex over a mile long – the longest strip mall in the country, on the south side of Interstate 64 and an outdoor outlet mall on the north side, retail establishments have pushed the bounds and developed floodplain land cover right up to the Missouri River.
What was that floodplain land before it was a retail paradise? A substantial amount of the floodplain contained wetlands that had to be filled in with sediment and paved over before development. Wetlands hold flood waters during extreme events such as the flood of 1993.
In 1993, the Chesterfield Valley was completely inundated as the Missouri River topped the 100 year levee designed to hold the river in its banks. Subsidized by tax dollars, 160 of the 240 businesses located in the valley returned. Despite the property and sales tax benefits the city touts, many experts and scientists note the irresponsibility and environmental detriments of massive floodplain development (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21685491-measures-make-life-near-missouri-flood-plain-safer-have-done-opposite-disaster).
The Clean Water Act (CWA) requires developers to obtain a 404 permit (404 is the provision number in the CWA) in order to discharge “fill material” into streams and wetlands such as those in the Missouri River floodplain. 404 permits require a “no net loss” of the environmental benefits of wetlands and streams by requiring the permittee to “mitigate” or make up for the wetlands or stream habitat they destroy by development activities. In an unusual move, instead of individual developer permittees, the City of Chesterfield assumed responsibility for the combined 404 mitigation projects of most of the new construction and the roads and drainage system that facilitated it.… Read the rest