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Residents Seek Guidance from Conesville to Address Erosion

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/23/24 | 2/23/24

By Leila Crockett

CONESVILLE- During the "privilege of the floor" portion of the monthly Town of Conesville meeting, residents took advantage of the opportunity to share ideas and seek advice from the Town Board. 

John Riedl proposed the idea of a "Turkey Trot" 5K race to take place on Thanksgiving in the town of Conesville, with the aim of raising funds for the Conesville Historical Society. Although the event is still in the early stages of planning, Riedl has already garnered the support of the Historical Society as potential sponsors and has been working with Town Historian Kim Young to iron out the details. Riedl envisions the formation of a 5K Committee that would include representation from the Town Board, the Historical Society, the Fire Department, and possibly other organizations. The goal of the committee would be to raise funds as well as create marketing materials and merchandise for the event. Riedl stated that his purpose in bringing the idea before the board was to officially inform them of his intentions.

Randy and Helen Timm were also in attendance, seeking guidance from the Board on how to address the issue of rising water in Manor Kill Creek, which has caused them to lose more than 15 feet of their back property due to erosion. Randy Timm explained that the issue also involves an adjoining Town property, where a concrete septic tank was exposed during the last high water and is now hanging out over the creek. 

Timm also reported that several trees have fallen as the water encroaches, including a cedar tree from the town property that is currently lying across his back lawn. In addition, a telephone pole belonging to Verizon was dangling by the wire, requiring four Verizon trucks to repair the damage. 

After battling the issue on their own for years, the Timms finally reached out to the Catskills Watershed Corporation for assistance. The CWC sent two surveyors to assess the situation, who confirmed that they believed the issue would continue to be problematic unless addressed but stated that they were unable to provide assistance. They advised the Timms to contact Greene County Soil and Water Department. Timm explained that two weeks later, GCSWD happened to be surveying a tributary of Manor Kill and that he walked over to ask if they would be willing to examine the issues affecting his property. GCSWD stated that they were already aware of the issue of the bank being washed away at Timm's location, but said that there was no money left for revitalization and that the issue would likely not be addressed as it was not considered an emergency.

GCSWD said that even with the involvement of the town property, the issues did not rise to a level that required their intervention aside from possibly providing trees that could be planted in the hopes of slowing erosion. The Timms feel that option would not be helpful. 

Timm had noticed in the previous edition of the Mountain Eagle that funds were becoming available again and reached out to GCSWD via email, inquiring about the application process. Timm learned that the process is extremely involved, possibly beyond his current resources, and asked the board to consider filing a joint application as the same issues are affecting the adjacent town property. County Supervisor Bill Federice explained that the Timms' request is timely as he had just spoken with GCSWD and they asked if the town has any particular areas that are eroding or need stabilization. Federice went on to say that he would reach out to GCSWD again and see what options might be available and that he would have an answer in four or five days.

The Timms reported that in the days after the Board Meeting, they received a visit from Council Member Robert Proudman, who came to survey the damage to their property as well as the adjacent town property. Bill Federice also made a trip to view the damage for himself. "I visited the site and found the situation as described, if not worse. I don't believe that solely planting along the banks is a solution to the bank failure occurring along that stretch of the Manor Kill. Though I will still ask for GCSWD to conduct a field visit, I will also invite Schoharie County Soil and Water to join us with the goal of benefiting from their experience and knowledge working with the Manor Kill, as they are best equipped to make a recommendation for remediation and funding options, if any."

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