(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final installment of a three-part story examining the Tippecanoe River logjam removal project, which is to begin today.)
When asking Nash Brallier what his main goal was in creating the “Don’t Sign Tippecanoe River Property Owners” flier that began circulating through the county last week, his answer and resolve is clear: to stop the logjam removal process.
After nearly a year of fundraising, a project to clear 47 of the 111 log jams blocking the Tippecanoe River will begin today.
In Brallier’s flier, he questioned several aspects of the project including the validity and the environmental impacts the removal process could have on aquatic and wildlife living within the river. He also noted the Palmiter project in the early 1980’s that dropped trees and placed snags into the river to prevent further erosion.
Though Brallier is not among the first wave of Tippecanoe River property owners who have received a written request from the county to have their property accessed by logjam removal teams, he will be among those in the next group. Brallier stated that his major concerns of this project are for the safety of the river itself and the wildlife. He also does not think the clean-up will prevent flooding.
“If you pull all the logs out and it doesn’t help where do you stop next?” he asked. “Do you take out the grass? Do you clear cut the logs 40 feet back on the banks? What do you do? You’re doing damage on top of damage on top of damage.”
Brallier also said he believes the removal project is entirely unnecessary as he believes there are no legitimate logjams on the Tippecanoe River. He said the money would be better spent testing waters in the county than removing logs that are a natural part of the river’s ecosystem.
“I haven’t seen any logjams down there. There are always a few logs piled up there, but they don’t extend anyways out into the river really. We don’t get the large logs floating down like we used to. That’s very rare.”
Though Brallier does admit many trees recently have fallen due to a dry spell and disease, he does not believe that merits the claim this is an unnatural part of the river’s ecosystem. In addition, Brallier does not believe the removal project will reduce flooding along the river and surrounding waterways, he believes that it is a temporary fix and bad approach to fixing an even bigger problem, which he sees as the “overdevelopment” of areas such as Warsaw that has caused increased pressure on waterways.
“Last year I didn’t have a raccoon at the house for 9 weeks in a row and that’s beyond my power to imagine,” he said. “I had one opossum last year and no opossum this year, no skunks. I blame Warsaw on that, well the whole county because they don’t care enough. They don’t know what is gone and they don’t care.”