Debris in watersheds poses problems

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By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

Sun Staff Writer

Last month’s ice storm may be water under the bridge, but there’s a whole lot of other stuff under county bridges that needs to be cleaned up. Debris from fallen trees, and in one case, a whole tree itself, have clogged many watersheds across Washington County. The Washington County Fiscal Court, with assistance from the Kentucky Natural Resources Conservation Service, recently met in an emergency session to pull the plug on mother nature’s wrath.

The KYNRCS is offering an Emergency Watershed Program due to the recent ice storm in late January. NRCS district conservationists Herb Davis and Joe Carpenter informed the court that approved sites in the county are eligible for up to 75 percent reimbursement of the cleanup cost. A dozen sites were discovered in the county, with five sites meeting the guidelines for approval by the NRCS. The sites that were not approved will be handled by the county road department. Two of the approved sites, Hall Lane and Beech Lane, will still be handled by the county since they are small jobs.

One problem that the county road department ran into was a 60-foot tree that had washed into a storm culvert on Tick Creek Road.

“Out on Tick Creek Road, we had one tree that was as long as that tile,” said county road department director Albert Wimsatt. “It was 60 feet or better. That tree went in little end first and went right down in there. They took a backhoe and kept pulling it out. They said they had never seen anything like it.”

Four companies submitted hourly rate bids to the court. After review, magistrate Billy Riney went with the two low bidders and made a motion to award Buck’s Bobcat Service a contract to clean up the Tick Creek Road bridge off of Mackville Road and Mt. Zion Covered Bridge. Riney also moved to award a contract to clean up Roye Lane to Springfield Excavating Co. Riney split the work between two companies to speed up the cleanup process. The motion was seconded by magistrate Benjamin Settles and all magistrates in attendance voted unanimously in favor. Magistrate Greg Simms was not present.

The NRCS estimates it will cost approximately $8,000 to clean up the debris at Mt. Zion Covered Bridge just north of Mooresville, $8,744 to cleanup Roye Lane and a combined estimate of $14,850 for Tick Creek Road, Hall Lane and Beech Lane. An estimate for Tick Creek Road by itself was not available.

Each company will have 10 working days to complete work.