By Deb Patterson
The establishment of the Turkey Creek Dam and Dike Conservancy District is now in the home stretch.
Members of the Indiana Natural Resources Commission voted Tuesday morning, Sept. 15, to refer the recommendation report of Dawn Wilson, hearing officer for the NRC, back to Kosciusko County Circuit Court for final action. The filing of the recommendation is expected to take place today, Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Overall the report indicates the petition meets the necessary requirements. The final decision will be up to Judge Michael Reed. If he approves the petition, he will then appoint the initial directors for the district.
Wilson’s report included a summary of the petition and evidence received during the public hearing July 23 along with mailed comments. The bulk of her report pertained to proposed findings and recommendations. The determinations looked at were: whether the proposed district appears to be necessary; whether the proposed district holds promise of economic and engineering feasibility; whether the proposed district seems to offer benefits in excess of costs and damages, whether the proposed district proposes to cover and serve a proper area and whether the proposed district could be established and operated in a manner compatible with established: conservancy districts; flood control projects; reservoirs; lakes, drains, levees and other water management or water supply projects. Responses were made individually for the dam and for the dike.
The report, 40 pages in length, included letters from various state agencies and a technical review. It responded to five questions relating to flood prevention and control, improving drainage, and operation, maintenance and improvement of a work of improvement or water based recreational purposes or other work of improvement that could have been built for any other purpose.
In her report, Wilson notes “The department (Department of Natural Resources) has determined that the dam is not a flood control device … On this basis, for the purpose of flood prevention and control … dam may be ineligible for consideration.” The report further notes analysis regarding the dam is discussed in the portion of the report on “drainage” as a proposed purpose. It is noted in the DNR’s report the facility is “a lake level control structure without capability for flood control.”
Additionally the report notes the dike “is not currently operated or regulated as a flood control structure. The department notes that, to meet the criteria of a certified levy, ‘it is likely that, the current dike would need to be removed and a new structure built to federal design requirements.’ Insufficient information is available to determine if repairs proposed by the petitioners would qualify the dike as a regulated flood control structure.” She does note that the purpose of flood control could be “fulfilled by the dike as an unregulated structure if sufficient activities are proposed… .”
It is stated in the report the proposed conservancy district appears to be contiguous in relation to serving a proper area. However, Wilson states “Subject to the court’s determination concerning benefits to private owners of the TCCD-Dike (Turkey Creek Conservancy District) and others who may also receive benefit from the TCCD, the proposed TCCD would appear as contiguous and would cover and serve a proper area for the purpose of flood control.”