Tuesday, March 25, 2014

County will address damages at Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve

Last March 4, several neighbors reported work at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (CSNP) that caused noticeable damage. The source of this disruption was heavy equipment operated by DeKalb Co. Watershed Management. Neither the CSNP nor the property owner were notified about the project [CSNP is privately owned but maintained by volunteers who, over many years, have invested thousands of hours into developing and maintaining trails and signage].

On March 20, MANA sent a letter to Commissioner Jeff Rader that read as follows:
Dear Commissioner Rader: 
We were greatly alarmed to learn of the recent destruction of green space within Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, a privately-held and volunteer-run asset to our neighborhood. It is our understanding that DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management began work along the sewer easement without making any notification to the landholder. While this action alone is disturbing enough, we were utterly appalled to see the large tract cut through the preserve and across one of the newest trails. Furthermore, we observed large pits dug into spaces that are not within the sewer easement. The creation of these craters further destroyed natural habitat in a space that is dearly beloved by the neighborhood and by many who visit from surrounding areas.
It is clear that the sewer line along Peachtree Creek needed improvements and that these repairs required Watershed Management to access the space through the preserve. However, the blatant disregard for the property owner and the inability to perform the work in a manner consistent with protocol by following established easements is yet another reminder that there are portions of our County government that remain dysfunctional. 
We know that you recognize the value of the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve to our community and appreciate the efforts of their board members and many volunteers who have worked tirelessly to maintain this green space as a vital asset to our neighborhood and all DeKalb County residents. Therefore, we ask that you give your full support to the board as they negotiate reparations from Watershed Management.
On March 21, CSNP President Chris Beck met with Commissioner Rader and the head of the Watershed Management--both were dismayed about the situation. CSNP will be filing a claim against the County outlining recommendations for restoration at the Preserve, and the County will assess the damage and then respond to the claim.

We will keep you posted on this issue.