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County Residents Concerned on Safe Clean Water Meeet

May 3, 2011

05/04/11  Concerns on how to keep the lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds clean and safe has been foremost in the minds of several Marshall County residents for many years. On Saturday, residents from all over the area met at the Plymouth Public Library to learn more about what can be done.

Among those leading the meeting were members of Leadership Marshall County Class XVI.  Kathy Clark recruited fellow members Larry Emmons, Justin Miller and Kim Caudill to use the topic as a springboard for their required class project.

Clark, who has been advocating for water protection for many years, works with the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council. In 2007, she began informing the public of how hydrilla could invade Lake Maxinkuckee in the future. Hydrilla is an extremely invasive aquatic plant.

Clark said, “When I first started looking into the effects of hydrilla, I didn’t know who to call for help.”

Sister Mary Baird of the Poor Handmaidens of Jesus Christ located on the shores of Lake Gilbert in Donaldson has also been a long-time environmentalist. Baird said she has spent time over the last two or three years with those in Kosciusko County who are working through similar concerns. Baird said, “The group here in Marshall County may be looking at lakes, waterways, and watersheds.” She said, “We want to collaborate as much as possible.”

The next meeting of interested parties will be on May 5 at Ancilla College where they will be forming by-laws and the organizational structure. During the Meeting on April 30, Sister Baird read a mission statement being considered to give direction to the efforts. She said, “This will be a county-wide think tank.”

Clark and Emmons said their role as Leadership Marshall County members was to launch the project that they hope will be taken over by concerned citizens.

Guest speaker on Saturday was Bill Schmidt of Steuben County. Schmidt said, “For almost 38 years, the Steuben County Lakes Council has been working to protect the lakes and streams.” The council is based in Angola. Schmidt says the tourism trade over the Fourth of July weekend brings in some 150,000 people to use the lakes. He said, “There are 22 lake associations in the county. Some of active, some are not so active, and some are just on the books.”

Schmidt pointed out that by joining forces, groups or associations have more of a voice in addressing county officials and are more successful in receiving grants. He said, “Our association is mechanism to get things done.”

Among those attending the meeting were Ralph Booker, Marshall County Plan Commission, and Wes Burden, Marshall County Health Department. Sister Baird said they have a lot of information to offer.

Carol Anders Correspondent