District soil projects highlighted

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District did various projects during the 2012 and 2013 construction season, a few of which were reviewed this week by county supervisors.

District Field Manager John Persch gave a presentation on the projects to the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee Tuesday at the County Office Building.

Persch noted his district was called to assist the Sprite Club in the town of Oppenheim with survey design for a dam issue at a pond. He said water took out 500 yards of material and there was a danger of water “blowing out” the dam.

“They didn’t have an emergency spillway on their dam,” he said.

Persch said he did a field survey of the situation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviewed the situation. He said the district did a stream crossing and poured concrete abutments. He said the club did some of the work itself, using wood on the property to construct a bridge.

“I had them cut all the trees off the dam,” Persch said.

He said dry materials were found about three miles away and about 1,500 yards were brought to the dam site for repairs. He said a new spillway was created and lined with some “good-sized rock.” He said inhouse repairs with the district’s assistance ended up costing the club $15,000 compared to an estimated $110,000 cost that might have come from a private contractor.

Persch said the soil and water district also assisted Margaret Bartyzel of Ridge Road in the town of Broadalbin, who owns 30 acres, half of which lies in state-classified wetlands. He said her eight-acre pond was becoming “encompassed” by wetlands.

“I got in touch with DEC and asked if we could get a permit to drain this pond and dredge it out,” he said.

Persch said about 45,000 yards of pond was taken out, but a portion was left shallow for water fowl. Clean water was diverted out and eventually drained back to the pond.

He said the original estimate for pump dredging was $340,000. But he said the final cost to Bartyzel to dredge was $175,000.

Dredging was also done behind the former Jansen Avenue Elementary School in Johnstown, which Persch said the district also assisted.

He said water jumped the Cayadutta Creek and was getting onto the athletic fields off Briggs Street. He said downed trees were also damming up the creek.

“I got a call from the Johnstown school district to see what we could do here,” he said.

Persch said he conferred with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He said he eventually obtained a DEC permit and used two-ton blocks of limestone to establish a “vein” in the creek to divert water flow.

Other district projects in the last couple years involved a boat launch repair at Peck’s Lake, and a bank failure off Eighth Avenue in Gloversville.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com