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Sharp Farms cleans debris in North Skunk River

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 11:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 11:01 a.m. CST

Cutting down trees is a normal operation for most, but for one farm, it led to a world of trouble. On Dec. 7, the Daily News reported that Sharp Farms — owned by Todd Sharp — cleared some trees on its property and the operation left some debris in the North Skunk River adjacent to the Lynnville exit on Interstate Highway 80.

It caught the attention of State Sen. Dennis Black and Jasper County Conservation Director Keri Van Zante. Black, who also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee, was concerned the debris would have an affect on a bridge downstream, and at the time said the following:

“It’s unbelievable. I have never seen that amount of slash in a stream bed. The potential of flood waters with a big rain storm or winter storm melt endangers that bridge.”

Recently, Bill Gross, a senior environmental specialist with the DNR’s Field Office 5 in Des Moines met with Sharp Farms to review the situation.

“I met with him (Todd) out there and it looked good,” Gross said.

According to documents given to the Daily News, Gross said, “On January 3, 2013, work was completed regarding the debris from the logging operation on the North Skunk River. Sharp Farms, being conscientious stewards of the land, had planned on doing the project from the beginning of the project.”

“After inspecting the North Skunk River that goes through Sharp Farms land, I hereby relieve them of any further responsibility for potential damage downstream.”

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.

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