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Summer 2010

Wetlands Restoration Project Impacts Farmland

Owner operates Toolcat utility work machine and attachments for construction and maintenance

wetlands restoration project

Putnam wetlands restoration project in Ohio

Doug Putnam's wetlands restoration project was typical of the more than 10,000 currently underway throughout the United States — that is, until it took on a new meaning and purpose.

The 65 acre farm owned by Putnam and his family is located on the north side of state Route 385, two miles west of Roundhead, Ohio, in Hardin County. At times it had been rented out as a pasture for cattle, but, "It did not lend itself to crop farming," Putnam says. "From the high end to the low end the property dropped 33 feet."

In March 2007, the Putnam tract was approved for the Wetlands Reserve Program, a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. With technical and financial support provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the goal is to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

Outdoor memorial

Just as work was about to begin, the Putnams' only son, 27-year-old Bryan, died unexpectedly. At that point the wetlands project was dedicated as a memorial to Bryan. "It became a labor of love for me," Putnam says.

Doug Putnam

Doug Putnam

The Putnams laid out the initials "BP" with wetland features, including two serpentine trenches that hold water and form the outer perimeter of the initials.

Work began in the summer of 2007 when Putnam repaired and replaced existing drainage tile that was in the field, followed by the building of 13 ponds to attract migratory waterfowl and provide aquatic vegetation. December rain filled the ponds.

The next spring more than 5,000 trees were planted. Next the property was seeded with annual and perennial ryegrass, orchard grass, bluegrass, timothy and red clover. In the fall of 2008, Putnam leveled the drainage tile trench backfill with a dozer blade, followed by fine grading and preparation for seeding with a soil conditioner.

5600 is 'big help'

A Toolcat™ 5600 utility work machine, purchased from Bobcat of Lima, was used extensively to complete much of the project.

"This was my first experience with Bobcat® equipment and I couldn't be more pleased," Putnam says. "The Toolcat 5600 compares favorably with all the equipment I have ever used. It was a big help. It allowed me to do things that no other piece of equipment will do."

"The utility work machine allowed me to do things that no other piece of equipment will do."

— Doug Putnam

Toolcat 5600

A Bobcat soil conditioner was just one of many attachments that Doug Putnam (right) operated with his Toolcat 5600 to create a wetlands restoration project in memory of his son, Bryan.

He used the utility work machine to remove trees, grade with the dozer blade, finish grade with the soil conditioner, pick up shrubs with the grapple bucket and transport supplies with the pallet fork. "For mowing around the ponds, nothing can compare to the Toolcat 5600 and Brushcat™ rotary cutter," Putnam says.

He expects the development of the project to continue for several years, with the utility work machine playing an important role in future construction and maintenance. "It's a pleasure to operate," he says.

The wetlands design and construction photos can be viewed at www.Putnamwetlands.com. Visit the Toolcat page to learn more about the exclusive utility work machines from Bobcat.