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Author Topic: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help  (Read 6077 times)

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Offline kwendt

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old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« on: January 06, 2015, 12:24:20 PM »
 

  Our new property has a low, forested ravine. It is basically a rather deep depression, a forested ravine, with MoA soil, that holds water from April til about late July. There are some 15-20" dbh trees in there, lots of bushes. The fringes have grown outward into the fields with saplings, apple trees, more bushes. Not grassy at all. At first I thought it might be a vernal pool, but the vegetation and landscape doesn't match the descriptions. It's beautiful habitat... except that the former farming occupants of the land have been dumping their farm trash into the same ravine since about 1900 or so. The latest, greatest event is that back in the 1980s (I'm guessing on the date), the original farmhouse burned. The town got together, cleared the rubble, and built a new house for the elderly farmers. Awesome heart warming story... except that the rubble, old appliances, the burned peak roof of the house, tons of stuff... was... you guessed it.... dumped into this same handy shallow ravine.

In my walk through of the land prior to purchase (late September-dry season)... I saw the following items in this overgrown forested ravine: old tires, a refrigerator or some appliance, the peak roofline of a house (about the size of a tractor); another roofline (collapsed shed or springhouse?), barrels, plastic jugs, I think a old deer blind, bits and pieces of old windows, doors, wood construction, concrete blocks, lots of twisted metal, roof shingles, glass, bottles, soda cans, black tarp or tarpaper, and unnatural looking 'lumps' beneath matted leaves. At the time, like a dummy, I didn't take pictures.       

I realize that as the landowners of record, we should clean this up. And honestly it's something I would do anyway. The stuff has been in there for years... do people just leave it?

Anyone on the forum had a similar dilemma? Any of the conservation foresters out there have a recommendation? 
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline Crow99

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 03:11:26 PM »
I think it's great that you want to clean up, preserve,  and improve your property, so please don't get me wrong here or take this the wrong way... I'm 100 percent on your side here.

It almost sounds like you may be about to trip over the "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" syndrome.  And if it goes in the direction that I fear it may it might end up costing you a bit of money.

On just about any old farmstead I can think of, there is some place that the old owners used as a dump ground of some sort.. at least so far you haven't indicated that chemical containers, petroleum, or tons and tons of cull potatoes are part of the problem,  and that's a good thing. Wood, concrete and old tires and appliances don't indicate a water pollution problem,  so you might just be able to haul most of that out yourself (at great effort of course) and the pool and water will be ok. And I can imagine that a lot of these things were done and hushed up and nothing ended up the worse for wear.

The problem comes with the recent rather extreme increase in over reaching state regulation over the past years.  Shoreland zoning, the recent increase in "wetland setbacks" and the whole topic of "vernal pools" has created controversy and disagreement in a lot of places including here in Maine, and a lot of potential for problems and expense for land owners.  All relating to the government's "right" to come onto your  land and tell you what you can do with it.

I guess if you really believe that the government cares more about your land than you do and can take better care of it than you can... and it sounds like you've already contacted a bunch of them and really let the cat out of the bag anyway... then rock on.  But it sounds like you've really got your head in the right place and could accomplish most of what you want without first inviting the government to crawl all over your land and then putting up with all the unintended consequences.. 

In some ways this is similar to the "SSS" (shoot, shovel, shut up) concept. Do it right, do it on your own, don't necessarily make every little thing public knowledge, and keep the gov. at arm's length or farther whenever possible.

Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2015, 04:35:56 PM »
@Crow99 I totally get that...and I'm wondering the same exact thing.  I had contacted NRCS about Forestry CRP and endangered species habitat creation in the back of the property....  before I realized the eyesore I had out front. I'll have a Forester in to do the CRP plan and the Maine State Forestry Management Plan. My impression was that it was a good faith offer to help the poor city slicker girl who just bought a bunch of property and doesn't know a thing about land. ;D  ;D  I told them that was an awesome idea, and I'd contact them sometime in the spring. Sometime...

Now, I'm not dismayed by a farm dump... we all had one growing up. But personally, I don't like the tires, the old jugs of ??? laying around. I can salvage the metals... I'm a smith! My initial reaction is haul that stuff out of there immediately, maybe put it in the barn and sort through it - deal with it appropriately. Get any broken glass or nails out of there... dangerous to humans and animals.   
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline submarinesailor

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 05:21:30 PM »
kwendt,

I would NOT let the NRCS anywhere near my land.  After my and others that I know that have had dealings with them, I truly believe in the "I'm here from the government and I'm here to help" will cost you LOTS of money.  PLEASE think it over very carefully before you let them set foot on your place..

Bruce

BTW - I use to work for the "GOVERNMENT", so I know how @#$%^&* they can be.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 05:24:08 PM »
I would not tell them about the dump or the vernal pools.  :-X
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Offline submarinesailor

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 05:38:54 PM »
I have a buddy that has 150 acres west of Clarksburg, WV.  When he purchased the land there was several run down homes (VERY RUN DOWN)on the bottom land.  Well beings that he is an Out Of State owner, the property taxes are basically double what a resident would pay.  But, he was told if he put a permanent building, like a hard deer stand (vacation home) on the property they would go down in haft.  But, he later found out that the feds/state/county had designated the bottom land as a WET LAND (because it floods every once in a while, like once every 5 years..maybe) and now he cant do anything with it.  It is some of the best bottom land I have ever seen in West By God Virginia.  The top soil is VERY deep and just as black as it can be.

This is just one of the reasons I strongly recommend you keep the GOVERNMENT out of your place.

And I totally agree with cfarm on not informing them about the dump or pools.

Bruce

Offline Crow99

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 06:16:04 PM »
Kwendt, another thing you might want to do (as unobtrusively as possible) is to visit your town office and ask to see their Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, specifically the map with the affected bodies of water on it..  streams, lakes, wetlands, etc.  See if any of your property is covered and to what extent.  It is a legal requirement for every town in Maine to have such an ordinance and it might be one they wrote themselves or it might be the state "model" forced on them in the absence of writing their own.

This will not only affect building but also some agricultural activities including building roads and culverts and tree harvesting within any covered zone.  It should also show any identified wetlands on your property.  This will at least help you to determine where you presently stand in relation to your future plans.

Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 06:17:15 PM »
Wow all... That's like 100% so far of all the same similar opinion.  :-X

87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline landscraper

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 06:21:09 PM »
Brief synopsis of a situation one of my customers endured:  He had a piece of land zoned commercial that he was in the process of building on when the great recession hit.  He suspended work while he waited to see if the economy would get better.  The site had a sediment retention basin on it that he had to build during construction and remove upon completion.  While the work was suspended, the sediment basin self-vegetated with a variety of species including cattails.  When he went to reactivate his building permit and start work again, the environmental inspector from the state came out for a look-see and ....... (are you ready for this???) ...... told him that the cattails and other aquatic vegetation were indicative of a man-made wetland, and that was protected from disturbance by regulation.  He had to re-design his site plan to shift a parking lot around the basin, which had to remain.  Thousands of dollars extra by the time it was all done.  I would call the NRCS folks and tell them you've had a change of plans and do not require a visit at this time.  I would clean up the dump using your best wisdom about what is right and good, and leave it at that.
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Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2015, 06:22:05 PM »
Kwendt, another thing you might want to do (as unobtrusively as possible) is to visit your town office and ask to see their Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, specifically the map with the affected bodies of water on it..  streams, lakes, wetlands, etc.  See if any of your property is covered and to what extent.  It is a legal requirement for every town in Maine to have such an ordinance and it might be one they wrote themselves or it might be the state "model" forced on them in the absence of writing their own.

This will not only affect building but also some agricultural activities including building roads and culverts and tree harvesting within any covered zone.  It should also show any identified wetlands on your property.  This will at least help you to determine where you presently stand in relation to your future plans.

Good idea.... I believe we checked this in regards to a stream that may or may not be within 500' of our utmost back property line. (Awaiting the actual boundary survey). There was nothing listed that would seem to effect our property... but I will be sure to recheck that soonest. We also checked insurance 'flooding zones' and all that as well. 
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline thecfarm

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2015, 06:25:16 PM »
There is an article in the paper each year about how the state of Maine wants landowners to report any vernal pools on thier land.  :-X  Not mandatory but just a request.
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Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2015, 06:29:29 PM »
@landscraper thanks. Sorry to hear about your friend... that's just wrong. And thanks to everyone else... points all well taken. Lesson learned. I love this forum! 

The Bangor Daily, @thecfarm ?
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline thecfarm

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2015, 06:30:40 PM »
Lewiston Daily Sun. I would suspect all the papers in Maine have it.
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Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2015, 06:41:57 PM »
wow.... Maine set back is 250', Corps of Engineers is 750' set back, off of mean high water/depression. AND more with directional setbacks to other 'wetlands', streams, etc. within a 1/2 mile or so.

I couldn't live in my house, use my fields, or get to the back of the property. One of my neighbors would also be effected if that were the same. From the descriptions, I'm pretty sure I don't have a such a pool.... I think it's a farm pond...
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2015, 06:44:42 PM »
Do it yourself and forget about the NRCS welfare money. I have farms here that are on the NRCS like pigs at a troth All fighting for the money. How big is the Debt. ::)
I bet you can do it on your own, Good luck. :)
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Offline kwendt

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2015, 06:51:17 PM »
Do it yourself and forget about the NRCS welfare money. I have farms here that are on the NRCS like pigs at a troth All fighting for the money. How big is the Debt. ::) I bet you can do it on your own, Good luck. :)

I know I can do it on my own. And will. About the other.... all I can say is MY debt is no big thing... we will pay it off the farm in less than 15 years if we never sow a crop, sooner if we get things back into production in a few years. Now the gov's debt???? I see no payoff for that anytime soon.  ::)
87 acres abandoned northern Maine farm and forest to reclaim. 20 acres in fields, 55 acre woodlot: maple, spruce, cedar and mixed. Deer, bear, moose, fox, mink, snowshoe and lynx. So far: a 1950 Fergie TO-20, hand tools, and a forge. (And a husband!)

Offline Crow99

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Vernal Pool - clean up help
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2015, 06:59:56 PM »
You can check the state model ordinance for yourself online. Just Google it. Be sure to read the definitions section as to what constitutes a "stream" for example. And check the setbacks.  Most "streams" iirc are a 75 foot setback.  They use USGS 7.5 minute series topo maps as one of their legal standards.  These are all things you can check on without a visit to the town office.

Offline repmma

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2015, 07:40:10 PM »
Do yourselves a favor and Google "EPA Clean Water Act LAND GRAB"

And then count backwards from a thousand, because your gonna get right "fridgen" wound up!!
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2015, 10:38:34 AM »
Want to have some real fun? Out here anything that old gets designated as an archeological site and must be PRESERVED. ;D

Just turn the archeology govt people loose on the clean water/scs people and watch the fireworks. ;D 8) 8) 8) :snowball:

If an endangered species takes residence in your dump pool, the FWS will gladly join in. Next thing you find out you are designated critical habitat and get put up as a national wildlife refuge.

For even more fun, tell them there is an old indian graveyard under the dump. That's Native American for those who can't handle what they call themselves. ;D
Manage 80 acre tree farm in central Missouri and Mesquite timber and about a gozillion saguaros in Arizona.

Offline Crow99

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Re: old farm trash dump is actually a Farm Pond - clean up help
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2015, 11:06:18 AM »
Sounds like the best thing to do would be to put up a bunch of no trespassing signs and then carefully and quietly just go about the business of gently taking care of the place.  You might even want to reconsider the forestry plan thing, unless you want to do a significant harvest or place parts of the property in tree growth tax status.  There are lots of people in this area who just simply want to be left alone, so your desire for privacy shouldn't be taken as all that unusual.   It sounds like you already know or at least suspect enough that your efforts shouldn't go that far off course.


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