Landowner Chooses to Permanently Restrict Development on Additional 2-1/2 Acres to Protect Creek and Wetlands
Kathy Reiland has had a strong conservation ethic most of her life. So, back in 2005 when TLC asked her to donate a conservation easement on wetlands she owned adjacent to TLC’s 4-acre Waichunas Conservation Area, she was happy to do so. At the time, Kathy chose to permanently restrict development on 14 1/2 acres of land she owns on River Road near Lily Lake Road, just north of Griswold Lake.
In 2015, Kathy approached TLC with a request to expand the easement by 2 1/2 acres. There is a road development project slated to condemn about one-half acre of her property adjacent to the original donated easement for a stormwater detention pond. Kathy was concerned about the negative impacts of the project on the creek and wetlands that her easement protects.
After looking into it, TLC’s board of directors had concerns about the project too. In late 2015, TLC’s board approved the addition to the easement as a vital buffer to the creek and wetlands.
The proposed location for the detention area: has a high water table, is prone to flooding, and is the site of several springs.
To build and maintain a detention basin in that spot, the engineers need to install a drain tile system to lower the water table by 3-4 feet. If implemented, the project will lower the water table in the nearby creek and wetland, possibly destroying the wetland and creek on the easement property and at TLC’s Waichunas preserve.
Kathy’s decision to expand her conservation easement dos not mean that the County cannot condemn her land for the road project. That is still an option. However, Kathy’s action changed the conversation to include alternative locations for the basin, and we are all hopeful that an agreement will be reached that balances the needs of the road project with conservation.
Congratulations to Kathy for doing everything she can to preserve natural land that is important to her. Never doubt the power of the individual to make a difference!