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Story Archives: Wetland issues draw attention to jury members
|Wetland issues draw attention to jury members|
Agents of two federal agencies cautioned Franklin Parish Police Jury members to beware of giving assistance to farmers on drainage matters because, "you could hurt them in the pocketbook."
Jason Hardie, district conservationist with the Winnsboro office of the National Resource Conservation Service, said the jury could unwittingly cause a farmer to lose any existing federal payment by violating rules which govern either "wetlands" or soil conservation.
Robert G. Ulmer, and environmental specialist with the U. A. Army Corps of Engineers, described the permitting process from his agency. He pointed out at the jury's regular monthly meeting last week that the agency permits both individual and public projects.
"The best thing," he told jury members, "is to let the Corps see the proposed plans and get a letter back from us saying that no permit is required." he suggested.
Although the Police Jury has not been called into account for any drainage work on private property, recent efforts to qualify for federal funds relative to hurricane damage recovery have highlighted the need to follow federal rules.
"The Corps likes to look at projects on a case by case basis," said Ulmer, "Our job is to determine the amount of impact on wet lands."
Hardie said by doing work on a farmer's property before approval could result in the farmer losing any income he may received from any U. S. Department of Agriculture program.
"You could help him break the law," Hardie said.
"If it's drainage, we need to look at it," said Ulmer, "particularly at the dredged materials and where it's placed."
When questioned specifically, Ulmer said improvements to the existing pier in Turkey Creek would not require Corps permits, but prior approval of most other improvements at the recreation area would best be reviewed.
In other jury actions:
Permit fees of $50 for water well drilling on farmland were eliminated and all other current fees were affirmed; Clerk of Court Ann Johnson was granted permission to use collections in the office to make office repairs; two individuals were hired to maintain the pubic area at Turkey Creek; a local firm was hired to create and maintain a web page for the parish's recreation and economic opportunities.