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August 21, 2006 Tape #016

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:40 A.M., EDT in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Steven Burton, O. D. “Bud” Ferguson and John C. Heimlich, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett, Engineer L. Todd Frauhiger and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Visitors signing the register were Howard Ruemler, Betty Ruemler, Mel Blades, R. K. Abney, Betty Stahl, Joe Stahl, Mary Taulman, Ed Taulman, Kathy Radovich, Mike Radovich, Michael A. Radovich, Doug Sanders, Jason Coonse, Linda Forsythe, Roger Crawford, Earl Hissett, Jeannene Anderson, Daryl Johns, Paul Volk, Carrie L. Woodruff, Clarence and Harriett Cable, Gerry Underhill, Blair Underhill, Darrell and Linda Diggs, Terry Rainier, Denise Doyle, Phil Gralik, B. J. Mursener, Edward R. Forsythe, Louis M., Stan Poelstra, Mike Boonstra, Tony N. Also observed in attendance were Charlie Mellon, Kevin Howell and Joe Roach.

Chairman Burton called the meeting to order and asked to amend the agenda to move item number four up to item number one. There were no objections.

Chairman Burton asked for approval of the minutes of the August 7, 2006 meeting. Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Engineer Frauhiger presented the drainage plans for Excel Co-op’s Monticello Energy. He stated, “This is for the installation of a field station at Hardebeck’s (leased from Hardebeck) up on Sixth Street. It will go up in the corner of the property (indicated on the plans drawing) on five new underground field storage units with a number of drive-thru pump islands. What they have done, there is an existing detention area along the side of the existing warehouse. The detention area also goes behind the warehouse and outlets into the thirty inch existing legal county drain (Albert Altman Tile Drain). What they are going to do is, install a ditch in the field area all the way down the south property line to a six inch tile which will empty into the existing detention area and then outlet into the thirty inch pipe. We’ve reviewed the calculations and we’ve spoken with the design engineer. They are going to look at the possibility of upsizing the six inch to a twelve; they haven’t made that decision yet. The only reason that I suggested that, I ran the calculations and I’m afraid there might be some water overtopping the ditch in larger storms. They are going to reconfirm my calculations and make a final decision. They’ll use the existing detention area around the building which has plenty of capacity to handle the existing hard surface because of the field station.”

Chairman Burton asked what the size of the lease area is. Surveyor Sterrett said it is 113 ft. by 304 ft. Chairman Burton asked for explanation of two measurements on the lease area on the site plan. See tape for discussion. Engineer Frauhiger thought maybe they had to have a buffer zone around the underground storage tanks area where they have to monitor the soil conditions. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks they have a traffic pattern area. Engineer Frauhiger agreed it could be easement for traffic area. Chairman Burton asked if Excel is actually doing this or is it Hardebeck. The explanation was it is on Hardebeck property but it is Excel Co-op’s project. (Excel leased property from Hardebeck.)

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the drainage plan for Excel Co-op’s Monticello Energy project. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Second on the agenda Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We called this meeting for the landowners to discuss the problem on the Faris/Lane Ditch, which is not a regulated drain at the outlet. I would turn it back over to the President of the Board to take questions.” Chairman Burton recognized B. J. Mursener who addressed the audience, “The Airport Board has our engineers here.” Chairman Burton stated, “Let’s back up on who is actually here. Would you like to signify who is here from Shafer, Freeman Lakes, is somebody here? (Daryl Johns Director of SFLECC is present) And then the Airport, and is there anybody else, (B.J. Mursener said people who are affected are here.) DNR or anybody?” B. J. Mursener said, “We do have three people here from R. W. Armstrong Engineering who are the Airport engineers and have been probably since the cows came home, they have quite a history and they have about a fifteen minute presentation on the stance of the ditch, where it comes from, going back years and may answer a lot of questions for the Drainage Board as well as everyone else here, so I think that may possibly be good to do first. It may raise some questions and show some more about what the problems are. Terry Rainier will be the gentleman who will be presenting that, if it is alright for him to do that.” Chairman Burton said, “If there are no objections, a very quick fifteen.”

Terry Rainier displayed projections on a screen. Terry Rainier presented, “This is the Faris/Lane watershed area. Quite a big area, about 2,500 acres. It drains lands all the way north of 24 (US Highway). Lane/Faris Ditch is about a four mile ditch, it drains south and east, it crosses Airport property and runs into the lake (Freeman) from there. This is Airport property right here, the purple line is the property. This is the Airport’s main watershed area. In fact, most of the water from the Airport drains due east and….inaudible….I recognize you….inaudible……where you live. The south end of the Airport does drain into the Faris Ditch. About 53 acres or 2% of the total watershed area. Now let’s go ahead and look at the south end of the Airport. Here’s the runway, here’s the lake and the end of Lane Ditch where all the silt is happening. The Airport property in purple. Actually 53 acres are in the watershed but a whole lot less drains in the ditch because you can see this discoloration through here, the County built a berm around all the banks back in 1981 and they actually took the ….inaudible…..out of the lake and used that for bonding material. It averages 3 foot plus around the high banks. Right here you can clearly see Lane Ditch. Here where it enters on Airport property and then it drains right here in this inlet and then into the lake. Does that look right for everybody? (no response) I think that’s what we’ve got. It is this portion of the ditch on Airport property that the neighbors are concerned about, the heavy scouring that you see in the ditch. But with only 2% of the drainage on Airport property, where does all this drainage come from? When White County has a four inch rainfall, a hundred and thirty million gallons enter onto Airport property right here. If you threw a toy boat in the water right there, it would be in Lake Freeman in three minutes. More importantly, a hundred and thirty million gallons is carrying over three hundred tons of silt. This is where we think lies the problem. That is scouring, no question about it. We are going to be showing pictures here in a few minutes. We aren’t trying to deny that. This is really silted up bad, we’re not trying to deny that. To substantiate that, let’s look at some aerial photography. Let’s go back to 1939 and what I’d like to do is show aerial photography right through the clearing project in 1987 and also show current. This is 1939 and obviously the Airport wasn’t here, you can clearly see Lane Ditch come up here and it was a lot more wooded back then. Most of the woods have been removed. You can see all the deposits of silt in the entire bay….inaudible….from Lane Ditch, so that’s the source of the animal. If it was a little darker you could see it was really building up between Ski Island and the shore. Let’s move on to 1951. The Airport still isn’t here. Lane Ditch is still pretty clear. The Airport’s woods, or will be the Airport’s woods in about twenty years, you can see heavy silt. At this point, not quite the whole bay, some has either drifted away, we don’t know if somebody has dredged it, or if anything has happened like that in twenty years, but a well-defined flume is now developed at the base of Lane Ditch as well as a big flume right here. (Indicated on screen) This is really getting shallow by this point in 1951. Go to 1971. The Airport is here now, but they have done nothing to stop water shed. In 1971 they didn’t own most of this property yet. By this time it is getting intolerable. If the ditch is not filled in you can most certainly wade across it. In 1978 you can see here the woods has been cleared. It is about the same as 1971 as far as the size. You see a little more color out in here (bay). Go to 1981. This is when the County stepped in and dredged it for the neighbors. See this little white strip here, that’s the berm I was talking about that was put in. There is a little bit of a flume there, but everything looks nice and deep out here. Go to 1987. Once again, everything looks pretty good in 1987. You’re starting to see a trough in here develop. Obviously there’s discoloration from silt. Now let’s go to current time. Here in the light you’re not going to see this trough but obviously….inaudible…and I really think we might have missed some in here as well. But we agree it is bad, it’s not good for anybody. You can see where you couldn’t put a boat in here at all. It’s pretty obvious. Our point being, this ditch has carried a lot of silt from the west, mostly farm land, for as long as it has existed. One other ditch, the Snow Ditch, which it runs real close to the Lane Ditch, almost the same make-up, a little bit larger watershed, let’s see what happens to it over the years. 1939 it’s clean, 1951 it’s almost silted shut, current day it is opened back up. Moving on to the ditch itself, I will take you on a full length tour down the ditch itself in a second. I want to explain, because you are going to see a lot of this in the pictures we get to show, when a ditch carries a lot of flow, a river does it, a creek does it, it does a thing called cut and deposition. It cuts into the bank on one side and deposits it on the other side. Cut and deposit. It does a couple of things. It puts a curve in the ditch and I can argue either way, if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. The point is, the ditch is always trying to adapt itself for upstream flow. In this way it is making itself bigger, making itself longer with more ….inaudible…than it can accommodate. What happens, in these days with watersheds being developed as rapidly as they are, the ditch would never catch up. With more parking lots, roof areas and things like that replacing ground that soaks the water in, there’s more runoff and the ditch has to deal with it. It isn’t all bad. When you see an ugly cut like this, it sure looks that way, but most of it ends up right across the bank. We are going to show you that in the pictures. We are going to start west of Freeman Road….inaudible….until we get to the inlet. This is the first picture. This is at the point there’s just scouring everywhere. Trees are falling down, roots all exposed. Next one is still off of Airport property. Here the scour is so bad that the tree has actually fallen in. Next, this is on Airport property, this is the bank, looking upstream all this is deposition. Turn and look toward the Airport. This is the ditch as you start south once again, there really is not a problem with this area, there’s deposition here, a little scour here, but if the whole ditch looked like this we’d be happy. Right here the channel gets real close, a real steep bank and what we have here is a bank slide. Basically, the bank gave way and the dirt all slid down and knocked a tree over in the process. All the dirt is still here, it is actually re-vegetated. This is a utility easement right here and you can actually see the pipes crossing the utility easement. At this point not a whole lot of concern. Next one, this is on one of the first bends that you get to and this ditch was going straight back in 1979. As you can see, here’s your scour, all this is deposition. This deposition has actually seeded itself. This material has scoured out and pushed over here. This goes on for another two or three hundred feet looking like this, a lot of scouring. This is getting down near the end, this is a deep scour. Once again, all this material here and as we look at this next picture, all this material is deposition that has come off of the scour side and moved over to the other side. The bank here is the same height as the bank on the other side. Once again, this is all deposition here, scouring has happened here. Moving on, Airport Property sand and here it goes into the lake. Where is the silt coming from? We’ve done some testing, some calculating; even this comes up far short of what the national averages are for soil loss. Soil loss on a national level says every acre loses about four tons a year. We think about 600 cubic yards per year comes out of the upper watershed. That’s why a sediment basin doesn’t work. Any sediment basin you may build will fill up in two or three months time. That is about fifteen dump trucks a year. We think about 12 cubic yards come off of the Airport every year, for a total of 612. We have 612 going into the lake every year multiplied times 26 years, which is what it will be when it finally gets dredged, we think it is about 16,000 cubic yards to be taken out. I have talked to Daryl (Johns) and he’s saying well I’m planning on taking out ten (10,000). But, this is in the ballpark. We think this is somewhat conservative. Let’s say it is only ten thousand. Ten thousand cubic yards is enough dirt to raise a full-sized football field ten feet. There is just not that on the Airport property. We know it is coming from somewhere else. The Airport has tried to co-operate. The County dredged the…inaudible…in 1981 to respond to a neighbor’s concern….inaudible. Currently we are working with Daryl’s group to allow disposal of dredged material, to put it on Airport property. It took a lot of work to get FAA approval because the FAA didn’t want it there. We are going to allow it. It would take a thousand dump trucks to put the soil somewhere else. We hope that what the Airport is doing is helping out the neighbors. We also mentioned that we would consider some kind of sedimentation….inaudible….by others on the Airport. It would be hard to maintain but that offer has been put on the table. This is the Airport’s position. And, we want to listen. Based on what we know today, this is what we think. The major source of silt deposit in the Lane/Faris Ditch is the upper watershed west and north of the Airport. We think that Lane Ditch on Airport property is being scoured by upper landowner’s runoff, not by Airport drainage. Airport land, providing only two percent of the watershed, is not a major contributor to the silt problem.”

Chairman Burton said, “One question I have, would you back up three slides? That was one question for SFLECC, is there a timetable for that bay?” Daryl Johns answered, “Providing we secure the funding, or our Board of Directors allows me to proceed with the project for funding this year, I’d like to try to do it late summer or fall of next year.” Chairman Burton asked, “But currently it’s not in the plan?” Daryl Johns answered, “It’s in the planning stage. I don’t have a firm budget yet where I can totally commit. We adopt budgets in December so I would know in January.” Chairman Burton asked Terry Rainier if he would entertain questions. He answered yes he would.

Daryl Johns stated, “I don’t have a question but I would like to offer that I contacted Chad Watts from the Nature Conservancy. Chad has been placed on the upper Tippecanoe watershed probably for about the last four years to try to protect the Tippecanoe River watershed and he’s working with farmers around there with things to do like filter strips and so forth, but he has actually identified a ditch up in that area that they are monitoring this year and then they are going to reclaim it next year. After that ditch is reclaimed he is going to invite all the Surveyor’s in the State of Indiana to come up and look at how they have repaired that ditch. Chad is going to come down Thursday and meet with me and perhaps Blair Underhill and we are going to walk up through that Airport property. I want to get Chad’s suggestions on fixes that could be made in that area or even farther up if he has time to go farther up. I do know that they received a 319 EPA grant to help with that project. So if he deems that necessary, maybe SFLECC and the County could work together and maybe we could obtain a 319 grant also to do some repairs in that area.”

Board Member Heimlich asked when they were meeting. Daryl Johns said Thursday at 9:00. Board Member Heimlich said, “I actually had a discussion with Randy Moore, Arrowhead RC&D, and he said that he would come up and look at the ditch, too, and I think that’s probably the same grant he was talking about, same grant that was used on the Buss Ditch, right? Wasn’t that an IDEM grant?” Daryl Johns said, “I don’t know, I know we contributed to that project but I’m not sure what grant.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think that was the same grant and Arrowhead RC&D was involved in it. I might give him a call and see if he could go with you.”

B. J. Mursener stated, “As Terry (Rainier) said, we have been working with Daryl (Johns) and there’s like forty to sixty pages the FAA puts out on watershed and water conditions relative to something like this on an Airport and it was a little bit difficult to work out, we got a flat NO at first and through working with the Lakes Association, they have a way, they don’t want birds attracted to the area obviously with airplanes, etc. and where you put silt, that’s water and wet so there has been some work both on the Lakes Association’s part and ours and some expense in convincing the FAA and we are certainly willing to do anything that they will allow us to do, if they put their foot down we have serious problems. We are trying to help all we can to do our share, certainly.”

Chairman Burton stated, “It would be almost two months ago that we met the last time, this is not going to be something that happens quickly and from what I am hearing so far today, that we are moving in a direction, it may not be as fast as people would like but we’re moving in a direction to try and address this. But, there is no snap of the fingers that’s going to make, with any timely fashion, is there any comment?”

Blair Underhill, “From what Terry said, there will be no attempt to try to control the bank on Airport property.” Chairman Burton said, “I think, to continue from what he said to what he commented about this new project up north, and possibly it would be reviewed and possibly there might be some changes with what they are going to find out or propose at that point.” Board Member Heimlich said, “What Daryl is talking about would be the ditch itself in that area to prevent future erosion.” Daryl Johns said, “I am looking for Chad’s expertise on what kind of projects might be possible to do with that part of the watershed to protect the bank.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “And that was my conversation with Randy Moore at Arrowhead RC&D which is a soil conservation, regional out of Winamac, that’s for the same purpose. As we said a month or two ago, there’s really two issues here. One is getting the silt out that is there now. But then the second one is controlling erosion on the ditch.”

B. J. Mursener wanted to ask Terry a question related to that, “If I understood correctly, what you’re saying, that most of the erosion has remained in the ditch as deposition and that the ditch has lengthened itself and enhanced itself to handle the water. Am I misreading what you said? Most of it is still there, it’s not in the lake?” Terry’s answer inaudible. Blair Underhill asked to go back to the picture of the deposition where the rocks are. He stated, “You are saying that’s deposition under the rocks. I understand why rocks are there, but it’s not going to go. Where’s all the silt? It went on by the rocks.” Terry Rainier answered, “You get a scour like this, you got a heck of a rain. That’s eight foot deep. We’re saying the soil, the water is coming down here with such force, such velocity, it is already filled with all the soil and stuff it can carry. For it to take on more silt it’s got to drop some out. If the velocity slows up at all, it drops a bunch out. Water at a certain peak can only carry a certain amount of material. If we could go back to the breakdown. This has been a concern of ours all along, what if we try to attack this number instead of this number (600 versus 12). You could spend a half million bucks to fix this number or you can spend a half a million bucks and eliminate this number. This is where I have a lot of interest in the buffers upstream and the drainage ways that are being done in other communities that has almost eliminated farm soil from even going downstream. This would be, I think, more bang for your buck.”

Blair Underhill stated, “ If you go out Luse Road just past Airport Road where that ditch starts going down….inaudible…..at that point and time you look at all those ditches they are well maintained, seeded, I walked in there and I didn’t see hardly any erosion.” Terry said, “I know, you do have a big blowout occasionally…….inaudible”

Gerry Underhil said, “There is very little scouring west and north of Airport Road. Past Walt Sare’s old farm, I’ve walked that whole thing and it’s minimal. So, I don’t know where your 600……. Vegetation is grown up on both sides of the ditch.” Terry said, “Material will get from the field into the water in a real bad storm. Grass does serve as a buffer but there are better designed filter buffers…inaudible…..”

Some lady stated, “I have lived in this area about four houses from this ditch and that used to be ten feet deep up in there. You could go up in there with a boat, fish…..inaudible…and this is all silted in. After say a four inch rain, when it comes out into the lake, the lake is just orange with the silt coming out and logs, limbs, and you know it just all moves out here in front of us.” Terry Rainier said, “It is a big rain that causes it, that’s for sure.” The lady said maybe even a three inch rain. She said it will get all orange out in the lake, clear to Ski Island. Terry Rainier said, “We have seen those clues in the aerial photos, there’s no question. Something that happens, too, look how pretty and clear this water is (going back to a photo) but look on top of every rock, silt. A four inch rain picks that up and gets rid of it too. That’s not Airport silt, that’s upstream somewhere.”

Chairman Burton said, “One thing I think is coming out of this, the Airport IS interested in co-operating, or making adjustments to the area that goes through their property, correct?” B. J. Mursener answered, “Yes, we don’t have deep pockets to solve everybody’s problem but …..inaudible.” Blair Underhill had a CD he asked to show. He stated, “That is in front of Darrell Diggs’ place there, that little rock thing you see there, that was a silt trap that was dug a couple of years ago. Now it is completely filled in, in front of Darrell’s place. Actually that is where Darrell used to dig out. Every couple of years he dug that out and then somehow they didn’t want him to do it anymore, so he quit. And, about that time is when we got that hundred year rain and all the silt he was catching in his trap, that’s what you’re looking at, and the hundred year rain just went on by. That’s why we got so hammered after that rain. That’s when this all kind of started. That’s on by Darrell’s. That’s at the mouth. They’re not in order. I was sort of going to walk you through it. That’s the east side of the bank where they cleared the trees. This side here, that’s the west side where they hauled the dirt when they dredged it in 1980. That’s the same dirt coming back into the creek.” Terry Rainier said, “We didn’t find that, where is that?” Blair Underhill said, “You have to go on Darrell’s property and walk back. There’s a big huge mound of dirt back there.” B. J. Mursener said, “This is off of Airport property?” Blair Underhill said, “You have to walk through Darrell’s to get to yours.” Inaudible conversation – see tape. Continuing with Blair’s CD, Blair Underhill said, “You can clearly see the spoil here where they made the berm.” Terry Rainier said that’s not Airport property at all. Blair Underhill said, “Yes it is. See where the tree line is clear to the left? That’s the beginning of the erosion right there. All along that berm, where they pushed that berm up, right directly underneath that hill where that berm is, is where all the erosion is…..inaudible…..starts right there……inaudible…..”

B. J. Mursener asked, “Are you saying that the Airport is dumping a lot of stuff in there as erosion, or……” Blair Underhill said, “I’m saying that over the years, right here where they channelized it, cleared the trees………inaudible………” B. J. Mursener said, “That could be from the upstream stuff also, am I right? Blair Underhill said, “Well, all that water coming through there has to go somewhere. It is going to take the natural course and as it does that, it cuts the sides out…..” B.J. said, “And deposits it, ok, ok.”

Chairman Burton stated, “The one thing I’ve heard today is, there is a direction to move in, that two different items here, one silt and one the ditch, a direction to go in and try to help this situation. I am not aware of any other process or ideas to deal with this. My inclination would be to wait and see, one if he gets the grant money for the dredging of the bay and then the second thing is working with professionals that deal with this instead of just going in there and saying we’re going to do this and it is going to cure it. I would be reluctant to do that without some experiences that other people are doing and working that direction….inaudible….” Board Member Heimlich said, “Yes, I would be interested to see what the gentleman from Nature Conservancy and if Randy Moore could come and look with him and see what their ideas are for preventing erosion on that stretch of the ditch.”

Daryl Johns asked, “I have one question, I don’t know what the legality is, but since it is not a regulated drain and like Terry said, he feels like the money in the project would be better spent upstream, how do we gain access to those properties? Do we have the right to or do we have to deal with the individual landowners?” Attorney Loy answered, “The monies that this Board has jurisdiction over can only be used on the actual route of the regulated drain. Anything that you are talking about beyond that typically will require a mutual effort with landowners, unless the Drainage Board assumes jurisdiction by extending that drain.” Daryl asked where the regulation ends. Surveyor Sterrett asked Terry to go back to the USGS map. He said it ends on the north line of Section Six in between Luse Road and Freeman Road approximately. Daryl Johns asked what percentage of the watershed is regulated. B. J. Mursener asked, “It ends right here?” At which point Surveyor Sterrett then corrected the Section saying, “It ends one hundred and fifty feet south of the northwest corner of Section Sixteen.” B. J. Mursener said that is the wrong end. Surveyor Sterrett said, “That is the upper end. One hundred and seventy feet south of the northwest corner of Section Six.” Terry Rainier said that three of the four miles of ditch is regulated.

Gerry Underhill asked if there is a map of Airport Grounds and is it available. Terry Rainier said yes, there is Airport layout that explains future plans and yes it is available, he brought a copy with him.

Chairman Burton said at this time he feels like at the first of the year we will know more about dredging and money available. Board Member Heimlich would like a report back here. Daryl Johns said he would like to get Chad Watts himself in here. Blair Underhill asked if anyone from the Airport could be here. B. J. Mursener said it should be an engineer, someone that’s knowledgeable. B. J. Mursener said he can not be there Thursday but he would be glad to go at some point. Blair Underhill asked if they would be on the agenda next meeting. The Board agreed that September 5, 2006 meeting would be too soon to get all parties together and have something prepared. The Board will be sure interested parties are notified when they are put on the agenda. Hard copy of R. W. Armstrong presentation filed with hard copy of these minutes in Surveyor’s Office.

Surveyor Sterrett introduced Jason Coonse who was on the agenda to address the Board concerning silt in the Harp-Helfrick Drain. Jason Coonse stated, “I’m just really concerned with the large amounts of sand and silt that’s been put in there. I grew up here; I’ve been up here twenty-nine years. I learned how to swim, ski, fish. I know now that I’m older; I have five children of my own. I have a boat; my grandparents have a place back there. Five years ago I could get my boat and jet skis in and out of there. It has filled in to the point where actually we had to get off and shovel out the jet skis to get them through the canal-way. I can’t even get through the canal-way anymore. That last heavy rain we had in August, it brought tons of sand from somewhere up there. We started checking into seeing about maybe some hydraulic dredging done. Started calling around the State and different things. They told me that, they asked if the ditch was maintained by the County and I said well they collect ditch fee on it, and pretty much their answer was come back and talk to you guys and see what your stance was on it. I talked to Denny Sterrett and he said he was aware of the problem but he didn’t really know what to do with it. So I took that back to the chief of DNR, Jimmy Ray, and he said there should be plenty of knowledge what to do with it, because this County received two copies of the ditch manual, technical guide and everything. So the next reply from Denny was ‘where’s the money going to come from?’ That’s when I said something about the ditch fund. I know that’s not a lot of money but there are other programs out there, the Clean Water Act of Indiana ….inaudible….program, that’s just things I’ve found. Other homeowners are here for the same. Pretty much to see what we can do, what can be done. Everyone wants to work together to see what we can do about the problem.” Some landowner said, “In other words it’s filled in, it’s nothing but a mud hole now.”

Chairman Burton asked Surveyor Sterrett to refresh his memory, “From the river, where it goes clear back, is that regulated clear down to that point?” Surveyor Sterrett said it is regulated clear to the river. Chairman Burton added, “And the definition of the gravel pit versus the ditch?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “There’s some canals that come off of this ditch. The ditch has a legal description that goes straight to the river. I don’t know how the gravel pit got there. I guess they dredged that out years ago and took gravel from there.” Chairman Burton asked, “Is the gravel pit considered part of the ditch?” Surveyor Sterrett said yes, there would be a strip through there but not the whole gravel pit. Jason Coonse stated, “If it would have been maintained like it should have been, I heard it was supposed to be maintained every two years by the County, it probably never would’ve been a problem, but now it hasn’t been maintained, it’s overflowed so it has filled all the canals…inaudible...” Chairman Burton asked, “What are you referencing to that the County should maintain every two years.” Jason Coonse said that was just a rumor he heard. The consensus of the Board and Attorney Loy was “no” to that rumor being valid.

Chairman Burton stated, “In the past we have been up to Palmer Drive and talked about the silt just below the steel culverts and we are trying to address a plan to deal with the silt there, and we have concerns there from a property that if we do proceed with our plan the County would be put in a position of…..” Jason Coonse interrupted, “I know where you are talking about and there are several other things, there could’ve been a spillway put in there or what would be the problem with extending the tunnels, all they are is old rail cars, and then covering them with soil. You’d never have a concern with that property. It never would affect them Or a spillway. Most of the silt is coming from farther up and the problem has got a lot bigger than right in front of the….inaudible…it’s all the way to the waterway. I stood out there three weekends ago getting my jet ski I stood this deep in silt. My kids swim in this, play in it. All that silt you know once it’s filled up here it’s got to go somewhere else now it is going any place it can find a spot to lay, even at the mouth of the river it is only about a foot deep now where you used to get boats in and out of there all the time. You’re lucky to get a john boat through there now. It’s got bad. I’ve seen neighbors have to dig out their boats after a hard rain, literally with shovels where the silt has washed up to.”

Chairman Burton said, “What you’re suggesting is to go clear to the river?” Jason Coonse answered, “We don’t know, we know it has gotten a lot bigger than just that problem, it’s actually built islands where it has almost closed off from one piece of property and the gravel pit all the way across to the other side. And on a nice sunny day when the water has not been turned during the week if you would stand on the property over by the tunnels, you can stand there and see from the sun pretty much the same view they had there the different shades where it is filling through. I don’t think any of us know really what to do or how to do it.” Chairman Burton said, “If that’s regulated clear to the river, Denny, are all the properties that are along the what we call the gravel pit area assessed also?” Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks they are, he hasn’t looked at all of them but he knows some of them are. Jason Coonse said, “Everybody, and I know there’s two different gravel pits in there and everybody on both sides all the way around are paying the ditch fee.” Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks the minimum assessment is five dollars. Jeannene Anderson approached the Board and explained she is assessed on the Harp-Helfrick Ditch. Chairman Burton said, “What I am getting at is, if this is decided on and it was agreed that this was cleaned, the money to do this will come from property owners.”

Linda Forsythe said, “The property owners paid a lot of money three years ago to have that dug out by the boat dock. That is all filled in again.” Chairman Burton said, “That was not anything we were associated with. What I want you to realize here is that this Drainage Board operates off of fees collected from drainage, and in this project we have no super fund to go out and do these projects. It is paid by landowners that are assessed for this.” Someone asked who would put in the silt trap. Linda Forsythe said yeah, we need a silt trap. Someone said they are using the gravel pit for a silt trap and not maintaining it. Linda Forsythe said she has pictures where it’s all grown up in front of their house; he had to dig the boat out. Chairman Burton said, “I am aware of that!” Linda Forsythe stated it’s not going to do any good if that gets dug out unless they have a silt trap. Attorney Loy asked, “You are the property owners that have the house on…. (County Drain right-of-way)…..” Mrs. Forsythe interrupted saying, “Yes, we’re the property owners that have the house, the people that bought the house next door, he’s a surveyor and he could not believe…….” Mr. Forsythe interrupted saying, “Not only that, where the wall is caving in around the culvert, it’s all caving in there…..inaudible…..that’s what’s making this…..inaudible from the back of the room someone puts in…..”

Chairman Burton said, “What I want to identify here, if there’s any silt trap, or the County is involved in this, property owners that use that ditch, that’s where the money will come from.” Someone asked about money that is already paid in (maintenance fund). Chairman Burton explained, “If there is $4,000.00 in this account to maintain this Harp-Helfrick Ditch and this would cost $10,000.00 that other $6,000.00 would be added on to your bill and the property owners, whether you are all the way up or whether you are five feet from the river, will pay.” Someone asked if that would extend up through three counties it flows through. Chairman Burton said, “The watershed of THIS ditch.”

Someone offered, “All of this started, they took five hundred loads out probably ten years ago (others said twelve) and ever since they took them out of there, it has just made a silt trap there, and that’s exactly what is happening. All the water is gone and the silt is just laying right there. It’s not only there, but it’s closing off the ones that come in and closing off the other pit over there where I’m at. It used to be we could get a pontoon through there, a speed boat through there, now you gotta walk. You got about this much water. All that silt’s coming over and right into the other pit.” Inaudible multiple conversations, ideas about the culverts and silt traps – see tape.

Chairman Burton stated, “A year ago we were proposing just south of the culverts on Palmer Drive continually dipping silt at that point.” Jason Coonse said, “Excuse me, and that would’ve been great, but it’s gone so far that it’s way past the culverts, I mean it’s, you would actually have to get out there in maybe a boat with a tape measure or a stick to feel the silt in there. When you stand almost waist deep……”

Someone stated, “I had all the property owners ready to dig that one ditch out and I went up there and seen Ezra, I went up there to see him and he said it was too much responsibility on the trees and stuff, falling over on the trailers……..see tape – multiple conversations inaudible……he wouldn’t be responsible to come in there and dredge it out, and we were going to pay for that.” See tape – multiple conversations about having it dug out three years ago…..inaudible.

Someone asked why we don’t have a study on this ditch with taxpayers’ money like they are doing on the ditch they just talked about. Chairman Burton said, “Right now the County is not paying for these studies.” The gentleman asked who is? Attorney Loy said, “You would have to talk to the Airport Board about that, this agency did not pay for that.” See tape for conversations about looking into grant money. Jason Coonse said, “I checked with DNR, with the……program and things like that, the Clean Water of Indiana, another grant that the…….board had, I’m not knowledgeable on this, I just did homework, making phone calls to DNR, USDA and they said there’s all types of funding out there and it all starts with you guys, the local governing body. They’re not going to grant the money just to come in there and dig a mud puddle out, dig a hole. They would grant the money if a full summary, where the problem is coming from, how to fix the problem, whether it be a silt trap, whether it be a buffer strip or whether it be a bunch of stones thrown in the middle of the ditch for a filter to slow down the process. They said there’s all types of funding, grants out there.”

Chairman Burton stated, “Yes, I hear that statement and Daryl probably hears that hundreds of times, there’s a lot of funding and grants out there, but when it comes down to it, it’s just not that simple, right Denny, to say here’s a problem, send us the money.” Jason Coonse said, “No, I know, and it says right here for this program, it gives you all the requirements that the County has to do to apply for the funding. It’s a couple of pages of stuff.” Chairman Burton said, “It’s not something that we’re familiar with, I’ll check into it, if it’s something that will work, then…….” Jason Coonse said, “And I’m not trying to say these are all the right avenues, this is what you guys should do, or how it can be done, we don't know. We are here to get educated on it as well, but we know there’s a big problem, the fishing habitat, almost done back there.” Chairman Burton said we always welcome suggestions. Jason Coonse continued, “Used to kids could fish all day, catch a fish, about the only thing you catch anymore is turtles, maybe a small carp. Used to be able to swim back there, enjoy the place, now it’s almost disgusting. You could still get your boats in and out of there. And that’s not to mention the property values or the dredging that they’re doing down on the lake. They’re down here spending hundreds of thousands of dollars dredging down there, by Lowe’s Bridge, every place else, and eventually all the stuff makes it right back down to that hole. And eventually makes it all to the dam and causes higher maintenance at the dam. And all of it affects the County because your property values are going to be lower and your taxes are going to be lower. Maintenance bills are going to be higher.”

Chairman Burton said, “It may have not been a perfect fix but I felt that a year ago we were, it wouldn’t have cured or removed what you are asking today, but I felt a year ago we were in position to move forward on this, and at least on a regular basis try to deal with some of the silt, but we hit a stone wall with that.” Jason Coonse said, “Getting a waiver on a piece of property there, which that could be overstepped several ways.” Attorney Loy said, “How’s that?” Jason Coonse said, “Why couldn’t you just put a spillway in there? A spillway would take care of the problem wouldn’t it? Or why couldn’t you extend the tunnels? All those tunnels are is old railroad cars.” Attorney Loy said, “But all the cost has to be paid by landowners. What you’re referring to is ……” Jason Coonse interrupted, “Landowners have paid all their taxes and paid all their ditch fees. My grandfather, how long have you owned your property? (He answered thirty some years) He doesn’t get any road service, no trash service, his money goes to schooling. He doesn’t have any kids in those schools.” Attorney Loy said, “It doesn’t come out of those taxes. It comes out of ditch assessments.” Board Member Heimlich said, “The only money we have control over is the ditch assessments.”

Liberty Township Trustee Walt Hough spoke, “Can I ask a question, last time we were up there we sat and talked about it, we saw the situation then and today the situation is three times worse than it was. The first week of August or close to the 5th or 6th of August I had a conference to go to in South Bend. We had about a two or three inch rain. In one day on his property that sand was that deep. I never saw anything like that before. That came through that culvert so big and so fast. It’s got to the point now where it’s coming across, and I understand we try to address the situation, what we’re trying to do is look at and address the situation how can we…..it’s coming across now to where Tony has a piece of property, he bought Alice’s property, it’s coming across right now, right there that’s going to be landlocked. If we don’t all try to work together and get the situation looked at, we’re going to have nothing but a mud hole back there. It’s going to be gone. And, it’s not, you don’t control the pit because that’s not County, the ditch goes through. I talked to Daryl from the SFLECC, the ditch overflows out into the river. Now at the mouth of the river the ditch goes to, that’s completely covered over. To get a boat through you have to go like a bat out of holy heck to get across that because that keeps filling in. That’s impeding the silt from here going out to the river and continue flowing like it does, because the flow has been constricted now to the point where the flow is never like it was. Usually when you have a hard rain you see the river flowing and it flows pretty fast, it draws the water out. Now the water is just sitting there. The SFLECC KNOWS that’s a problem. We all know it’s a problem. All we’re asking is we all get together and figure out how to correct the situation. It’s like, it’s not your problem I can’t get my boat in and out, but we’ve got a problem and it’s a silt problem. We need to address the situation.”

Board Member Heimlich asked Daryl Johns if he thought his contact from the Nature Conservancy (Chad Watts) could go up there and look at that. Walt and Jason both said they had talked to him. Board Member Heimlich asked what he had to say. Walt said he really didn’t give him too much. Jason said I’ve talked to several and all they really say is what does your County say?

See tape for numerous conversations on putting silt trap in, deep enough ditch to catch silt, charging landowners, etc. Charlie Mellon offered, “Twelve years ago that was dipped out and it cost us $11,000.00, that was all of our money. I’m probably the only farmer here representing that area. I’m not up there any more but I got family up there. (For discussion on rates see tape). About eight years ago, they talked sand trap then and we had a representative from Pulaski County, most of the farmers are in Pulaski County. That place was full but the farmers voted the silt trap down. The place for that pit shouldn’t be in the canal. That dirt back up there should be caught before the canal.” Jason Coonse said that’s what they’ve done; they’ve used the gravel pit for a silt trap. Charlie Mellon said, “Walt and I was talking and crop time like this, that rain we had in August, there should never been that much silt come in there. There never has before. We think up on those four ditches (that feed into this ditch from upstream) some place someone has cleared off a bunch of stuff and let all that sand came right in. It comes in there with big velocity because from the first crossroad north where three of those ditches come together into the one, that’s about ten to twelve feet higher than where it dumps into the canal. And you can imagine, because they’ve left logs and stuff in that strip on the other side of the road to slow that water up so it doesn’t all get in there.”

See tape for more discussion and ideas on getting more water flow. Mrs. Forsythe said the part where they asked about digging before is way out from their, about fifty feet. She said nobody asked for you to dig along side, it’s way out. Chairman Burton said, “I agree with Walt that we are willing to look at this and work on it and I feel that we have always been in that position to do that. It’s move forward on this and see what our possibilities are and like I said, if you will leave that one sheet with me I would like to emphasize that people talk about going out and getting grant money, it’s not that easy and plus the fact, if everybody understands that there’s not a big bank account that the County’s got there, it is worth spending your money on this, along with other people that aren’t here today.” See tape for more discussions on revenue.

Jason Coonse stated, “We know that just going in there and digging that out is not the solution, it would just be throwing money away. It needs to be properly taken care of, well you guys have a copy of the Indiana Drainage book…………….everyone knows the purpose of that book is to identify drainage without affecting downstream water quality. Which, we’ve got the drainage but it’s tearing up downstream water quality.” For inaudible conversations amongst landowners – see tape.

Chairman Burton stated, “From what I’m hearing today, what we were proposing to do a year ago, nobody wants to do. They want to do it in different areas so we are back to square one.”

In response to landowner conversation Attorney Loy noted, “Part of the Indiana Drainage Code requires that it is illegal for anybody to put anything, a permanent structure within seventy-five feet of the top of the spoil each way. And those structures can be ordered to be removed. There are obvious reasons why you’re not supposed to build on the crest of a drainage ditch. There are houses built on other people’s property. It is your responsibility to make sure you build on your own property. You need to speak to the Title Company. I don’t know if you got a survey. Everything we are speaking about is YOUR responsibility, not OURS. The seventy-five foot law has been around forever." See tape – more conversations on ideas of how to fix the situation and about the property built in the right-of-way.

Chairman Burton stated, “At this point I would like to close this meeting. At this time we don’t have any direction. We will discuss, entertain or see if it’s possible to pursue some kind of silt trap. It’s just in my opinion we’re backing up here a year of the direction we thought might help. It’s not being accepted at this point and at this point in this meeting I can’t say let’s go do that because it is going to take time and research and asking a lot of people and maybe going back and look at some history on the situation.”

See tape – more conversation on conditions and how to do things. Several different ideas were offered by landowners. Someone said that the tank cars are going to have to be replaced anyway because one of them is in bad shape. Chairman Burton stated, “We’re not going to come to a conclusion today. We can’t decide what the best course of action is. We need to end this meeting and do some more talking.” See tape – Chairman Burton interrupted by more input from landowners with their ideas of how to correct the situation.

Chairman Burton stated, “We are not going to come to a solution today. Let’s move forward on this, but I don’t think we can decide today what the best course of action is. Agreed? I will go back and look at north of the ditch.” Daryl Johns stated, “A silt trap is effective but it doesn’t cure your problem.” It was decided that another meeting would be called in the future. Chairman Burton said, “If we learn something workable to use up there.” The group pushed for a time to return to Drainage Board Chairman Burton stated they could fill the room, come to the Drainage Board meetings “but until Denny or I come to a decision on what can be done……We will use Walt (Hough) as phone contact.” Board Member Heimlich explained, “We don’t know if in two weeks we have anything concrete.” The group meeting was adjourned. Landowner Jeannene Anderson left her phone number with Chairman Burton 815-806-9807.

Not Recorded:

Surveyor Sterrett reported that he has four ditches ready or nearly ready for maintenance projects or reconstruction: On the Big Pine Drain, he has the Army Corp of Engineers permit, everything has been sent in for the process of getting the DNR permit and it has enough money in the maintenance fund to do that project on maintenance.

The Vanatta Branch #1 Drain was petitioned for reconstruction. The estimate on that project is $15,500.00 and there is $9,000.00 in the maintenance fund. We are not collecting on it in 2006. It would take $6,500.00 more for the project and that would put it in debt and take three years to collect the difference. It collects $2,000.00 a year. It is on a variable rate with a $5.00 minimum. There are approximately 3,000 acres so it is assessed at under $1.00 an acre. He asked the Board if they wanted to do it on reconstruction or raise the maintenance on it.

Board Member Heimlich said in the past we have raised the maintenance rate for three years to pay for some projects. He said if there is already enough assessments collected on the Vanatta Branch #1 Drain to pay for the project in three years he sees no need to raise the maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett said the plans are ready to go and he is waiting on DNR. Board Member Heimlich asked if we could collect in 2007 or if we could not collect until 2008. Secretary Kiser said the project is planned for this fall so the first payment to the contractor would take the fund under the four year collection amount, so in February 2007 they would put it back on collections.

Chairman Burton thought go ahead and do it on maintenance, either way it would be in debt whether we do reconstruction or maintenance project.

Board Member Heimlich said why not use the maintenance money. Chairman Burton said if we do a maintenance project it puts it further in debt and with reconstruction they have five years to pay. Board Member Heimlich said, “We have raised the maintenance for three or four years on other drains to do a project. It was petitioned for reconstruction. So we need to have a Hearing process on it for reconstruction. We need to ask George."

Surveyor Sterrett said there are forty-six landowners. Chairman Burton stated that most of the landowners are in favor. Board Member Heimlich suggested applying maintenance money towards reconstruction but Chairman Burton said there isn’t any brush on it. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Attorney Loy has said maintenance funds can be used for brushing. As a landowner you’d want to use the maintenance money.” The Board agreed. Surveyor Sterrett stated we had to notify Big Pine Drain landowners by certified letter.

Surveyor Sterrett reported the Julia Connor Drain has $2,300.00 in the maintenance fund. His estimate is $6,826.32 and the fund collects $570.00 a year. He asked how the Board wanted to approach this project. Chairman Burton said it was not petitioned. Surveyor Sterrett said that was right. He asked if it should be included in the reconstruction of the Vanatta Branch #1 Drain. He said it is in bad shape, the pipe under the road is clear full. There are fifteen landowners on the Julia Connor Drain assessments. Chairman Burton suggested, “Let’s see what George’s response is on the Vanatta Branch #1 Drain and tie the Julia Connor Drain into it.” Surveyor Sterrett asked, “How do we pay for it, raise maintenance?” Board Member Heimlich said to have a Maintenance Modification Hearing on it, have Vannatta and Connor at the same time, together.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.