Letter to the Editor

Dear Ms. Smith

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I have several concerns about the proposed change to Ditch 37 in Clay County.

I attended a meeting with the engineer telling what was to happen. This implied we, as land owners have nothing to say in the situation. The farmers and landowners in this area have talked with are opposed to the changes. Even people who originally signed the petition. I've had several thoughts, mostly concerning erosion and the environment.

The engineer told us there was little sediment in the ditch bottom. Seems to me it is doing its job well —my concern — apparently all the trees are to be removed and the “spoils” bank removed. My farm ground has a slope leading to the ditch and the bank along the ditch has been doing a wonderful job of slowing surface water flow. Apparently this is not unusual on other farms either with the lack of sediment. If the banks are removed, how much direct water flow and thus erosion will occur? The grass in the area has been well established and doing a fine job of controlling surface water also. Once this is removed, and new grass doesn't grow overnight, how much more sediment will happen to the bottom of the ditch?

Also, on one side of the ditch on my farm ground (and the adjoining piece of farm ground to the south we used to farm,) only one bank was established. There are ox bows which some years do flood if the water level is high. This just means sometimes we are able to farm 4 acres instead of 5. This seems to be natural and logical. Not a big problem.

The sides of ditch 37 are well lined with trees which are wonderful for wildlife and hunting. I simply cannot picture that whole area naked and more open to wind erosion! It also seems to me that the places problems occur and where there are no trees. What is that explanation?

The ditch has been a beautiful area teaming with life. I cannot see that destroying it would be beneficial in any way. Many changes would only lead to erosion problems which would only cause more complications which do not now exist.

I hope there is a way for the “paper pushers” in the ivory offices to hear the people who actually are farming the land.

— Jennifer Loudermilk, Property owner along Ditch 37, Clay County