Years of erosion along the banks of Cayuga Creek slowly have uprooted huge trees and now threaten to collapse small sections of the Stiglmeier Park nature trails in Cheektowaga.
To combat the problem, town engineers are working on a plan to stabilize a several-hundred-foot-long section of the creek's south bank, located across from Danforth Street.
"What we've been observing over a number of years is there's been a lot of erosion along the south bank where it abuts Stiglmeier Park," said Town Engineer William Pugh.
Many rough winters and high creek levels in the spring have accelerated erosion along the fairly isolated, meandering section of Cayuga Creek, Pugh said.
It also is ready to take its toll on the nature trail at certain points where Cayuga Creek runs along Stiglmeier.
"This has gone unchecked for years and years and years," Pugh said. "Something's got to be done sooner or later. It's got to the point where it's carved out the root system of large trees."
Erosion also is affecting the stability of a small footbridge that crosses a creek outlet nearby.
The Cayuga Creek erosion-control project is at the top of the Engineering Department's list for next year.
Although the project is not as costly as some others, Cheektowaga is seeking grant money from the state Environmental Bond Act.
Town officials hope for funds to pay for half of the estimated $50,000 project.
The work entails installing rip-rap to prevent further erosion and prevent the loss of more trees and parkland, according to Ed Merriman, of Merriman Conservation Consultants, a consultant to the town.
Rectifying problems with the footbridge would be part of the project.
The erosion problems are not new to Cheektowaga.
The town has had to stabilize banks not only on Cayuga Creek, but also Scajaquada, Slate Bottom and Ellicott creeks.
The approach planned for Cayuga Creek has been used along many miles of Cheektowaga creek banks in the last 20 years, and no additional work has been needed, Merriman said.