Letter to the Editor | Drainage district is very unhelpful

Letter to the Editor | Drainage district is very unhelpful

Last June, the elected trio of Upper Salt Fork Drainage District commissioners, without notifying affected landowners, contracted for clear-cutting hundreds of trees along the east bank of the Salt Fork River, north of St. Joseph and behind private properties of the Heather Hills subdivision.

Video of this unwarranted destruction can be seen on the Prairie Rivers Network website. Thousands of feet of fallen timber, and gigantic root balls, litter the river bank, block natural drainage, add to increased back flooding within private properties and increase bank erosion.

A vast majority of trees were healthy, standing far back from the river bank. Any suggestion they "may fall into the river someday" is ludicrous. The 3- to 6-foot piles of lumber deny some property owners river access.

In July, residents held a public meeting, hoping for answers; only one commissioner attended. Explanations were vague: "no plan," "no timeline," "burn the trees in place next year." This is a dangerous, unacceptable alternative.

On Nov. 14, some residents and I met with the commissioners. They agreed not to burn the logs where they now lie, but were unwilling to commit to a timeline for removal, give prior notifications to property owners or investigate long- or short-term alternatives to mitigate flooding in our subdivision.

DIANE WARDROP

St. Joseph

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