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$65,000 project repairs creek on Barr farm

October 14, 1999

ConservationBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




In January 1997, less than a month before he died, community leader Jack Ellsworth Barr signed an agreement to restore a Beaver Creek stream that ran across his land. A ceremony commemorating the work's completion was held there Thursday.

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A Beaver Creek trout stream and the outflow from the Albert S. Powell Fish Hatchery meet on his farm at 20921 Fish Hatchery Road east of Hagerstown.

In recent years, cattle grazing had led to stream bank erosion, habitat destruction and other problems.

Barr's children used to play in the stream and two of them were baptized in its waters, daughter Julie Barr-Strasburg said during the ceremony for the $65,000 project.

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"As it grew wider and ugly we knew something needed to be done," she said.

Jack Barr decided to ask state and local agencies to restore the area after considering the idea for about two years, said Elmer Weibley, district manager of the Washington County Soil Conservation District, which did much of the work on the project.

About 230 feet of the Beaver Creek channel and 400 feet of the hatchery channel were narrowed and realigned and the intersection of the two streams was moved, Weibley said.

Trees and grass were planted. A well now provides water for cows that previously drank from the streams.

While the idea was contemplated for five years, the actual work took about six weeks, Weibley said. It was scary at times, though, including at one point during the drought when the trout stream went dry, he said.

But the result was great, said Weibley and Barr-Strasburg, who were joined by about 50 other residents and officials, including Sen. Christopher Shank, R-Washington, and Del. Robert McKee, R-Washington, for a tour of the stream restoration project.

The total cost of the project, including in-kind services, was $65,046, Weibley said.

The Maryland Department of the Environment spent about $32,000 on the project, providing a 50 percent match for local grants, donations and in-kind services, he said.

Plaques were given to groups that donated money and time. H.B. Mellott Inc., for example, received a plaque thanking the company for giving about $4,755 worth of rocks that were put in and around the streams.

The plaque concluded, "You guys really rock."

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