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By Amber Hayden
BOYCEVILLE — Work on the Tiffany Creek project behind Boyceville High School/Middle School is expected to start in December.
The discussion surrounding the abundance of flooding and foliage on that portion of Tiffany Creek has been taking place with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the last three years.
“The reason we started having this talk with the DNR is because we are losing the back corner of the softball field behind the middle/high school,” said Superintendent Kevin Sipple.
When the creek was first rerouted, it caused the water to flow north and hit the banks on the north side of the school property, as well as when it rains, it floods back and has begun to chip away at the softball field, he said.
Sipple explained the school has lost between seven and eight feet of the property and decided to consult with the DNR and ask what they recommended. During the discussions, DNR officials concluded that instead of just fixing the corner, that an aggressive project on the entire stream should be done.
“They are going to take out what they need to in order to get the stream to conform or control it better,” Sipple commented. “So what they are going to do is take what’s become a very steep bank with lots of tree roots that led to the deterioration and fold that back completely so it is level, and the slopes will be gone.”
A majority of the trees will be removed as most of them have matured, he said, along with the shrubbery and vegetation.
As for flooding, the DNR has explained to the Boyceville Superintendent that the project will not stop the flooding, but if there are two or three days of rain, the water will drain out in half the time.
The Tiffany Creek project will work out to be two fold: dealing with the flooding issue and the other is to remove opportunities for water to become warmer and inhospitable to trout.
The DNR’s involvement began with the trout restoration when it was brought to the school district’s attention of the ponding water and trees that over shadowed the creek. This created to much shade and not enough sunlight, which is not good for the trout.
DNR conducted a survey of the trout and as there were enough value to the fish, but more value to the community of Boyceville to open up the area with no cost to the school. The only requirement from the school was that 4,000 tons of shot rock had to be brought in, Sipple explained.
The bid for the amount of shot rock totaled $36,000, and according to Sipple, the school has $20,000 from donations and grants. The remaining $16,000 will come from several donations that will come forward.
The park itself has seen less use in recent years as the trees have taken over, Sipple said, the school district has also seen the trees as a safety issue.
“We are removing a number of trees in there that are diseased and over their life span, and the goal is to be real open,” he said.
“We may have some opportunities to come in there and replant disease resistant trees where they should be, and not where they were randomly put by nature,” Sipple said
Several of the trees that will be cut down will be used in the project underwater to create trout habitats.
Community members will also be able to come and take some of the wood, and the remaining wood will be cut up and burned, he stated.
During the project, the Boyceville middle/high school has opted for a portion of the area to be excavated to make room for an outdoor classroom space.
Sipple and the Boyceville staff aren’t positive what it will look like as of yet, but they see opportunities for the science classes to use it for projects, along with vocal and instrumental music, and the drama class to do some outdoor performances.
The outdoor classrooms will be a natural connection between the 7-12 buildings and the athletic complex as the students have not been able to reach the park because of the overgrown foliage.
“The trees will be November/December I suspect after deer season as our volunteers are Dunn County Fish and Game,” commented Sipple.
“They have done several of these projects for the DNR so their crews will probably work some weekends starting in December through January, depending on weather and snow.”
There will be advantages to the trees being removed as there has been a reoccurring safety issue not being able to see through the park, he said.
School staff does not always see what is going on and having a line of sight will allow that to happen, Sipple said.
“For security we can see who is coming,” Sipple explained, “with today’s discussion of security it’s ‘what we see we can control, what we can’t we don’t know’.”
The project will get underway in July of 2019, with the tree removal beginning in December of this year and the rock will be hauled to the school starting in April after the weight restrictions have been taken off local roads.