Stormwater comments - again

Tue, 01/31/2006 - 4:22pm
By: The Citizen

By Dennis Chase

There is an inherent danger in responding to loose comments in newspapers, especially those where the authors are not willing to identify themselves. Entering the fray reminds me of what my father often told me, “Don’t wrestle with pigs unless you are willing to get dirty.” Now Iim not making a literal comparison when I direct that old adage at some of the folks who wrote to object so strenuously to the pending stormwater program in Peachtree City, but you get the idea. I expect that my response to the weak and sometimes reckless thoughts in a few of those letters will get me a bit dirty in the process. But here goes.

First, I find it necessary to once again respond to Matt Bergen who wants you to believe that he is the sole authority on the stormwater issue. His latest comment to the Peachtree City officials that they are not willing to listen to “the voice of experience” seems to suggest that he thinks of himself as “the voice of experience.”

Evidently, he thinks that none of us that have worked on this issue for the past three years have his experience, so his logic is that everyone else is wrong because he knows best.

Actually, some of us, myself included, have been involved with the stormwater issues far longer than three years. In my involvement in this, I have nothing to gain other than a reasonable protection of our environment. At the Jan. 19 public meeting, Mr. Bergen seemed to imply that my involvement was suspect when he asked how much I was paid as a consultant. Obviously it didn’t matter to him that I do not accept pay for my participation. He simply didn’t like the meeting because his concerns were not accepted as appropriate.

At least Mr. Bergen is willing to sign his name on his comments. There have been a couple of other unsigned comments that are as far off base as Mr. Bergen. I suppose it is even more adventuresome of me to respond to those, but once again I am willing to take the dirt if it should come.

One of those anonymous letters addressed the Adopt-A-Stream program and, since I am the Fayette County coordinator for that program, I feel compelled to respond.

The writer is confused over the power point presentation on the Peachtree City Web site concerning the proposed Stormwater Program. The Adopt-A-Stream program and the Peachtree City stormwater program are separate topics that happen to be placed close together on that Web site. The only program connection is that Peachtree City encourages these bright students in their involvement in water quality testing. Were she to look deeper, rather than reach her absurd conclusions, SandySue would find that several years ago, Peachtree City implemented an in-depth water quality sampling program apart from the Adopt-A-Stream sampling. The student program is a valuable addition and asset to the city and adds to the developed data base.

Her comments become even stranger when she tells us her daughter made up the numbers, several times yet. I am sad to hear that some of the information may not be totally accurate, but our mysterious author is dead wrong about any tax money being involved with Adopt-A-Stream in the Peachtree City area. The equipment and supplies are paid for by donations from private citizens. The students buy their own boots and travel to their respective sample sites at their expense. She is also wrong about the value of having 40 students taking water quality data each month.

Please, SandySue, get your facts straight before you jump in. And perhaps you should counsel your daughter about what you confess to be lacking in your family, honesty.

Dennis Chase, now retired, was a fish and wildlife biologist with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 26 years. Since retiring, he has worked as a consultant for Fayette County on environmental concerns, is a volunteer with the Southern Conservation Trust Inc., and has published numerous newspaper columns.

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