Wayne County Conservation has a new director. Bonnie Friend arrived from Maryland this week to take charge of conservation and the county parks and wetlands. Friend spoke briefly to the board, telling them how much she is looking forward to getting started and thanking them for trusting that she will do a good job for the county.
Garrett Abel, who has been filling in as conservation director for several months, was on hand to go through the last details of his duties and finish out the fiscal year 2013 with the board. Abel informed the members that all paper products have been ordered and all fuel barrels have been topped off. He also said he had been in contact with C & E Trucking, which hauls the county parks ‘garbage and was informed the prices will go up, from $65 to $100 per dumpster. The increase is due to the increase in operating costs. Abel also told the board that FEMA funding will not be available for the shower house at Bobwhite and the board will have to look at other funding streams for the project.
FEMA has, however, a program in place, which will fund a large portion of the cost to install emergency shelters at county parks. After FEMA money and state allowances, conservation would be responsible for approximately 15 percent of the total cost to install the shelters. The board directed member Jan Ledyard to work with Bill Yeager, who made the board aware of the proposal, and see if an emergency shelter could be installed at all five county parks.
The fireplace at the shelter house at Bobwhite Park has been repaired. All that is left to do is form a lip around the front perimeter and install the grate. A load of fill dirt will need to be placed at the east side of the fireplace in order to keep rain water from running down the embankment and pooling there.
The board showed great appreciation toward two county businesses; Shivvers Manufacturing and Vetters Equipment were commended by all board members after learning Shivvers was willing to loan a mower to conservation for this season and to Vetters for their work in providing a good price on a new mower, which was purchased by conservation. The board agreed without the help of these two companies conservation would not be in the position to keep mowing at all parks this season.
Membership to the Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards was tabled until another meeting in order to give the new director time to see if continuing membership is viable for the county.
Storm warnings will be given to park users via a local fire department member contacting them, or through the sheriff’s office giving the information to camp hosts and having them inform users of the impending emergency.
Conservation will be involved in Humeston Watermelon Days in the form of a fishing tournament. New director Friend will be on hand to help with the event and anything else that needs to be done concerning conservation during the festival.
Some restitution money has been returned to conservation. The funds are in regard to a previous mis-use of FEMA money and the board was given a chance to discuss a pending resolution that will be brought before the Wayne County Board of Supervisors later in the month regarding how the funding is to be used.
The next conservation meeting is scheduled for July 8, at the Bobwhite Park office at 6 p.m.