The Drowned Lands Historical Society recently presented a panel discussion entitled, “How the Drowned Lands were drained and became the Black Dirt Region.” Over 70 people attended the event which was held at the Pine Island Firehouse.
The four panelists included: William Grohoski, Black Dirt Historian; Kevin Sumner, Orange County Soil and Water Conservation; Jerry Zimmerman of the Pine island Chamber of Commerce; and Brian Pahucki, Geologist for Orange County. The panelists discussed a variety of topics such as the history of how the famous Black Dirt was formed; the earliest draining efforts by the Colonists; flooding at various historical times as well as current phases of flood control from 1938 until present; straightening the channel; and President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
There were many questions from audience members, and additional stories were told. The event was hosted by Society President John Ruszkiewicz and was emceed by member Tracey Pietrzak.