On Saturday, April 15, Justin and Lynn Isherwood hosted a kickoff event for the Friends of the Buena Vista Marsh at their farm in Plover.
The event was held to offer information about the history of the Buena Vista Marsh and to bring community awareness to the Isherwoods’ perspective in regard to their current litigation with the drainage board.
Justin Isherwood opened the event by explaining why Friends of the Buena Vista Marsh was created.
“As you know, we are in a suit with the drainage district over… whether these waters have a public right and should they be acted on,” Isherwood said.
Isherwood is charged with obstructing the flow of his drainage ditch by adding small trees and other debris to the waters and refusing to remove them.
He contests that the structures are improving the water quality and the habitat the water provides which are the rights of Portage County citizens.
The drainage district has said their concerns lie in increased water flow rate and the potential for loose debris to cause flooding.
At the event, an 1895 map of the Buena Vista Marsh was on display and available as a handout.
Isherwood said that this map demonstrates water flow conditions similar to those presently in existence and that recurring dredging of the drainage systems is unnecessary and unhelpful.
Isherwood said he thought the drainage practices may have been helpful to the land at one time, but he believes the practices are now outdated.
“The real goal is to take projects like this throughout the headwaters and indeed to invite farmers downstream to participate to see what we can do in terms of habitat, water quality, water flow and to get away from the idea that we have to constantly drain out these streams,” Isherwood said.
One attendee, John K. Endrizzi, a resident of Rome, WI, said he had a vested interest in what happens with the Buena Vista Marsh.
Endrizzi said the water that leaves the Buena Vista Marsh flows towards lakes in his community, and that he expected the water quality would improve if the Isherwoods were able to continue their practices.
The Friends of the Buena Vista Marsh are pledging the organization’s support for Jacob Prater and Jay West to be members of the board for the Portage County Drainage District.