County News_logoAn issue with the Peter Sarber Ditch in Polk Township was back on the agenda of the Marshall County Drainage Board.

Last month John McGovern Jr. and farmer Craig Anderson told the board the 11 inch rainfall in August had a very negative effect to the farm ground with water coming out of the ditch and into the field.  They allege that neighbor Tom Forrester leveled approximately 2 feet off the ditch bank causing the field to flood.

At Monday’s meeting Tom Forrester was able to give his side of the story.  Forrester contends that 4 years ago a tornado went through Walkerton and he lost 14 trees, 4 of which were on the ditch bank.   With the sharp curve in the ditch, it’s created an eddy causing water to swirl and erode more ditch bank away.

Forrester said any substantial rain fall causes debris to be left in his backyard causing a disaster he has to clean up.  He said, “I did not, at any time lower the elevation on the property.”  He said using Google maps you can see the erosion over the last several years.

Mr. Forrester said, “It’s not a point of me lowering the elevation, its more erosion.”   He contends, “The lower the grade is the worse off I am.”  He suggested bringing a bunch of fill and building back up the ditch bank and said, “The elevations got to come up for this to stop happening.  Every time it (the level of the bank) goes down it’s creating my problem and creating John’s problem.”

He continued his comments by saying, “I’m in construction and have farming in my family as well and that would almost sabotage to do that,” alluding to the deliberate lowering of the ditch bank.

Marshall County Surveyor Larry Fisher questioned Forrester on the trees still standing that have their roots exposed, noting they were broken.  The surveyor said water erosion would not have broken the roots.

Forrester said, “I did not do any excavation with a machine as far as lowering or raising the grade.”

McGovern and Anderson said on Monday they’ve never had a problem with flooding on the east end of the property.  McGovern said, “When I went out there the ditch was high and the water was flowing where the bank had originally been and the trees, it was gone.  The bank was completely gone. Leveled out and 2 ½ feet down from what it originally was.”

McGovern and Anderson contend that Forrester deliberately removed the ditch bank with equipment, although they never saw any machinery moving dirt.

The Drainage Board didn’t hear anyone give direct comments to seeing the bank being removed so they will review photos and try to determine if the bank was removed by machine or the course of nature.  The Peter Saber Ditch issue will be on the November agenda of the Marshall County Drainage Board meeting for additional consideration.