Marion Golf Club to make final revisions to restoration plan

Sep 15, 2022

MARION — The Marion Conservation Commission and the Marion Golf Club have taken steps toward  ending a months-long dispute over an enforcement order issued to the club on June 9.

The enforcement order against the Marion Golf Club, which the club called “invalid” in a pending civil lawsuit, calls for the club to restore and reflag two wetland areas that were damaged during approved forestry work earlier this year. 

The newest update to the restoration plan proposed by LEC Environmental Consultants at the Sept. 14 meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission addresses concerns that were brought up by the commission during its last meeting on Aug. 24.

The new plan shows the square footage of the areas that need restoration and outlines a two-year restoration and monitoring schedule to ensure the damaged areas regrow properly.

Brian Madden, a senior wildlife and wetland scientist from LEC, explained that the monitoring plan is designed to remove subjectivity by requiring standardized assessments to judge how well plant life grows back in the affected areas. 

The revised plan also addressed a criticism levied by Conservation Commission Chair Jeff Doubrava that the wetland areas on the property need to be clearly and permanently marked.

The plan now includes eight cedar posts placed at intervals along the borders of the protected areas that mark the beginning of the protected wetland zone.  

However, according to commission member Shawn Walsh, there is still some work to be done. 

“We’re 98% there, maybe even 99%,” he said, adding that he would like to see an additional cedar marker placed on the right side of a golf cart path through the tree line. 

Walsh also requested that the restoration area for one plot be slightly expanded to reflect the area that was damaged and that signs reading “wetland buffer boundary” be attached to each cedar post.

“This is an area we’re going to be overseeing for the next two years as the area revegetates,” said Walsh. “I want to make sure that there’s no confusion on anybody’s part as to the areas that were cut.”

According to the conservation commission, it will likely have a formal vote on the revised restoration plan during its next meeting on Sept. 28. 

The pending civil lawsuit filed against the Marion Conservation Commission by the Marion Golf Club was not discussed during the Wednesday night meeting.

According to the filing, the Conservation Commission’s enforcement order does not name the correct property owner, which the club says is the Marion Harbor East Trust. The enforcement order states that the Marion Golf Club is the course’s property owner, which the club disputes.

There have been no further developments in the lawsuit, said Marion Town Administrator James McGrail.