3 07-22-88 07:33 ped Krishna dam revives memories of Old West range feuds VIOLA, W.Va. (UP
3 07-22-88 07:33 ped
Krishna dam revives memories of Old West range feuds
VIOLA, W.Va. (UPI) _ It reads something like a script in one of
those old B-grade westerns, where a cattle baron dams the creek and the
little people start running out of water and patience.
In this case, however, the cattle folks are among the ones fuming.
The dam was installed on Big Wheeling Creek by the Hare Krishnas,
and folks in the vicinity say the water has plunged to a dangerous
Farmers fear stagnation. They have visions of livestock going
thirsty. Some folks see a threat to fish and other wildlife.
"There isn't any water left now," says Suzie Frazier.
"I really fear for any kind of water life. They (the Krishnas)
have no right to dam the creek. The creek looks terrible. So help me
God, you could almost walk it."
Krishna spokesman Gadahar Das says the complaints are groundless.
He says the sect built a small gravel ridge across the creek near Viola
to raise the level of water, and the gravel is not stopping the creek's
"It's not a dam in anyone's definition of dam," he insists. "It
doesn't stem the flow of water."
The Krishnas pump the water to their community at New Vrindaban.
"We have pretty strong concerns about what people do to that
creek," said Jim Westfall, immediate past president of the West
Virginia Wildlife Federation. "They (New Vrindaban) do whatever they
want, whenever they want. I don't know how to deal with that."
This week, the Department of Natural Resources looked it over and
found part of the dam knocked down, leaving a one-foot water pool.
Sgt. Tom Westfall of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department said
Friday that the DNR is satisfied that the dam is not causing problems.
Another look-see was planned by the Environmental Protection
Agency, because, as spokesman Ray George explained, "You just can't dam
up a stream."
"In the old west, that was a cause for range wars," he noted.
"Regardless of the motive, you can't dam up the stream. Other people
have the right of its use. It's a public stream."
Das said the DNR made only one stipulation: the permit for the dam
must be renewed.
Das feels residents "are always looking for something to cause
trouble" for the fundamentalist Hindu sect.
"They're complaining that we're watering our gardens and roses
when they don't have water for their cows," he said. "This is not
true. What we're doing is allowed, we just have to renew our permit."
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank