Park Board Proposes Drainage Fix with Little Cost

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Park Board has opted to propose a solution to drainage issues alleged to be caused in the Starke County Forest.

Landowners neighboring the forest filed a complaint with the state of Indiana alleging that beaver activity that dammed Anderson ditch is the source of flooding seen in the early spring. As a remedy, the Starke County Drainage Board voted to remove the beaver dam, draining a marsh that has been at the site for decades.

Though the Park Board has been at odds with other parties in the county over the issue, both sides have described their desire to find a long-term solution to the drainage problem. Commissioner Kent Danford attended last night’s Park Board meeting. He says there are plenty of issues to consider.

“The only way in my mind that you could make this work would be to come off the main spurt and dig a bypass back into the main ditch through your beaver pond, but you’re still going to have the problem with the beaver, if there’s water running, they’re going to plug that sucker tight,” says Danford.

Board members disagreed.

At issue during Tuesday night’s meeting was whether to conduct additional study on the site to determine if the beaver dam was indeed the cause of the flooding. The Park Board previously requested more time of the Starke County Commissioners to determine if the study was necessary.

In order to pay for the study, $5,600 was planned to be spent out of the Park Board’s funds. Board members expressed their dissatisfaction using the money for such purposes when there are other plans for its use.

The Starke County Forest is overseen by Bruce Wakeland. He says his original proposal of constructing a bypass ditch across the south side of the property could be the most cost effective fix at around $20-thousand.

“One reason for going right ahead for going right ahead and building a bypass ditch right from the beginning is that I think I can get a grant to pay for that, and I think I can get a grant to pay for pretty much all of it from the RC&D,” says Wakeland.

The proposal to grant fund the construction could buy the Park Board time until January when the grant period ends.

If the solution is implemented and does not take care of the flooding, board members say the study may be necessary to determine where the flooding is coming from, including the possibility of a culvert blockage well east of the site.

The recommendation to apply for grant funds will be considered by the Starke County Commissioners at their Monday meeting.