Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pond needs help

The Hulen Meadows Pond just north of Ketchum, created by Blaine County, has needed maintenance for several years, primarily dredging.

After last spring's heavy runoff a gravel bar developed, and it virtually prohibits Big Wood water from entering and refreshing the pond. Without this water, the pond will stagnate, and fish and riparian habitat will disappear. The county created the pond in 1990 but has shirked its maintenance responsibilities through lack of interest and/or lack of funds. At one time the county budget had a $15,000 line item for pond maintenance. However, the line was dropped, and the county now says it has no responsibility.

An article in the June 20, 2007, edition of the Idaho Mountain Express notes that Blaine County has received $1.06 million from the federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes program. These funds are paid to communities that support public lands. As Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said, "this money (is to) ... help pay for essential services ... and to help improve school, water and road systems." Please encourage our county commissioners to earmark a portion of this money for maintenance of the Hulen Meadows Pond, the only public body of recreational waters in our valley, and a heavily used one at that.

Peggy Dean

Hulen Meadows

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