Board approves $1.3M grant for Amsterdam Dunes purchase

Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The County Board approved another major funding piece to cover the cost of the $4.2 million purchase in 2014 of the Amsterdam Dunes nature preserve at their June 20 meeting.

The supervisors approved a conservation easement for the shore and wetland preservation site in the town of Holland that will net the county an additional $1,295,500 in natural resource damages recovery funds from the federal government.

The funds would come from the settlement between Tecumseh Products and the federal government over the Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund site.

Tecumseh was identified as one of the sources of PCB (poly-chlorinated biphenyl) contamination discovered in the sediment of the river and harbor in the 1980s. The funds the county will be reby ceiving are part of the penalty Tecumseh paid to settle federal claims in the Superfund cleanup.

In accepting the funds, the county agreed to provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a conservation easement on the 333-acre site.

“If you were ever concerned about preserving this area, I don’t know of any piece of ground in the state that has more easements and protections in place,” than the Amsterdam Dunes, County Administrator Adam Payne told the board. “This is a pristine property that will be preserved forever.”

The county originally used reserve funds for the purchase three years ago. The county recouped roughly $2.4 million of that the next year in a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship grant in partnership with Glacial Lakes Conservancy Inc.

As a condition of that grant, Glacial Lakes was granted a conservation easement on the property as well.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.

With other private funds the county has accessed to cover the purchase cost, Payne noted, “what we have remaining (of the original purchase price) is $350,000.”

He pointed out that the county is currently in the process of selling two developable residential lots on the lake that were part of the original purchase.

The lots – one just under an acre-anda half, the other roughly 1.2 acres – are for sale on a land auction, with the opening bid set at $425,000 on one lot and $475,000 on the other.

“If we sell even one of the lots we will recoup all of our original costs,” to purchase the Amsterdam Dunes property,

Payne stated.

The 333-acre site includes 66 to 78 acres that have been identified as a wetland mitigation bank.

The county can use those acres either to restore wetlands destroyed in other county development projects or sell them as credits to other counties that need to replace wetlands for development.

The resolution approving the easement in exchange for the natural resource damages recovery funds was adopted unanimously.

The board also approved applying to the DNR for financial aid for a proposed mountain bike trail system on the Rocky Knoll grounds in the town of Plymouth.

The board’s Health Care Center Committee and the Rocky Knoll Foundation have supported the proposed trail, which has also been endorsed by Road America and the Elkhart Lake Tourism Commission, among others.

Most recent cover pages:

With Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday ...:

Copyright 2009-2019 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505

Goking Livestock