Have Farmers Recovered From Flooding?

Six months into the recovery from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm
Lee, disaster assistance to Northeastern Pennsylvania stands at almost
52 million dollars. It’s a number that will only grow in the weeks and
months ahead as many continue to pick up the pieces. News 13 stopped to
talk with Matt Balliet who owns his own farm along Saag Road in Butler
Township. Balliet’s Farm was hit hard several times by storms last year
and also by September flooding. Balliet tells us, since then, he still
has not recovered. One big problem is a bridge, over Little Nescopeck
Creek, that sits next to his farm. Balliet says the small bridge has a
large drainage area. He tells us the weight limit on the bridge has been
reduced, prohibiting school buses, fuel trucks, propane trucks, garbage
trucks and fire engines to get through. Maryanne Petrilla, Butler
Township Manager, says she put a call into the Luzerne County Engineer
to see if there is a possibility to expedite the replacement of the
pipes under that bridge so the weight limit can be increased. Balliet
says the government funded a conservation project to restore the stream
bank fence and keep the cattle out of the creek, making it more
environmentally friendly, but ultimately a pond was made. Due to the
circumstances, Balliet tells us that during most of last year, his
pasture was unusable because it was either under water or filled with
trash from flood waters. He also tells us his cattle suffer during
flooding because they are kept locked inside, away from the water.
Another problem is the flooding causes erosion in his crop land and
costs money and time to fix.

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