Holding pond placed on Shell Rock board manager’s land

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Gary Pestorious, a manager of the Shell Rock River Watershed District Board, will place a holding pond on 80 acres of his land that will hold 52 million gallons of stormwater.

The pond will serve as a pilot project for the watershed district, not because Pestorious is a board member, but because his land is one of nine areas in the Pickerel Lake subwatershed that is suitable for a holding pond. Most of the other eight possible projects have multiple landowners, each of whom would need to agree to set aside their land for holding ponds for the projects to move forward. The other eight sites are smaller than Pestorious’.

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&8220;What we’re looking at right there is it’s going to run somewhere into the low six figures to do this,&8221; said Board Chairman Harley Miller. &8220;It’s not going to all be our money.&8221;

The federal and state governments will help chip in to pay for the project, which will use up land with over $40,000 of tile on it. Crop losses for Pestorious are estimated at $20,000 a year.

&8220;If we build one of these things, we can use it as an example to the other landowners that have a site,&8221; Pestorious said.

The other landowners of the nine sites in the Pickerel Lake subwatershed have already been contacted. One other holding pond that would cover between 10 and 15 acres is in the works, but

the three landowners have not signed the agreement yet.

&8220;All these projects help; they all have a purpose in the hydrology of the lakeshed,&8221; said District Administrator Brett Behnke. &8220;And that will be our second project, if we can make it happen.&8221;

At the meeting last Tuesday, board member Paul Overgaard raised concerns about conflicts of interest.

&8220;I think this is a terrific idea, but we’ve got some critics out there who could look at this and say &8216;Look at the first thing they do; they spend a pot full of money on one of their own board members,’&8221; Overgaard said.

The board moved forward with the idea unanimously, citing its great benefit to the watershed for flood mitigation.

&8220;What the public has to understand about this is if I wasn’t on this board of managers, I probably wouldn’t be considering this,&8221; Pestorious said. &8220;You get involved in an organization like this, you get involved in conservation.&8221;

(Contact Kari Lucin at kari.lucin@albertleatribune.com or 379-3444.)