Marion Golf Club restoration plan to be revised, says Conservation Commission

Aug 25, 2022

MARION — A proposed plan to restore protected land at the Marion Golf Club was sent back to the drawing board by the Marion Conservation Commission during a meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 24. 

The plan presented by LEC Environmental Consultants, a firm contracted by the club, outlined steps to restore two areas of protected wetland that were damaged during approved forestry work on the property

The Marion Conservation Commission issued an enforcement order against the Marion Golf Club on June 9 —  an order the club called “invalid” in a pending civil lawsuit — that calls for the club to restore and reflag the protected wetland that was damaged earlier this year. 

Brian Madden, a senior wildlife and wetland scientist from LEC, explained that since the damage occurred, some plants have already begun to grow back. 

“This is somewhat unique in that we have a regenerating understory,” said Madden. “So everything is going to come back, we just need to ensure that it comes back successfully.”

The new plan addressed previous concerns by commission member Shaun Walsh that the original plan did not indicate which plants would be replanted, and where. 

According to Madden, LEC proposes to plant 24 shrubs split between the two protected wetland areas, planted in clusters of three to four. Proposed shrubs include Arrowood, Highbush Blueberry, Shadbush, Witchhazel and American Hazelnut.

Madden added that because of the regrowth patterns, the shrub’s exact placement will need to be adjusted in the field. “Ideally the planting will occur in the fall,” said Madden. 

Madden added that the protected areas will be marked by a 100-foot buffer zone and will be monitored for two growing seasons, including periodic site visits to keep tabs on regrowth.

However, Jeff Doubrava, Chair of the Conservation Commision, said he still needs to see a plan that clearly marks the boundaries of the protected areas, and permanently marks those boundaries so that this kind of damage does not happen again. 

“I’m supportive of what you described in general,” said Doubrava, who added that he would like them to mark, “the field conditions as they exist today, the area we're gonna go and plant, and where we’re gonna place the prominent boundary so that in the future, there's no question that what we've done, is what we said we've done.”

LEC has until Sept. 7 to present a revised plan to the Marion Conservation Commission. The commission plans to discuss the revised plan at its Sept. 14 meeting. 

“Nobody wants this thing to drag out,” said Doubrava. “We all want to get to the end and be happy neighbors.”

The lawsuit filed by the Marion Golf Club against the Marion Conservation Commission was not discussed at Wednesday night’s meeting. Marion Town Administrator James McGrail has not yet given an update on the status of the case.