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Warrensburg highway chief wins top environmental award

Warrensburg Superintendent of Highways Ed Pennock was awarded recently as “Conservationist of the Year” by the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Warrensburg Superintendent of Highways Ed Pennock was awarded recently as “Conservationist of the Year” by the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Although highway construction and maintenance is often at odds with environmental protection, a local town highway superintendent has received a prestigious award from a regional organization dedicated to preserving the natural landscape.

Warrensburg Superintendent of Highways Ed Pennock received the Conservationist of the Year award recently From the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Conservation District Manager Jim Lieberum said Pennock had in recent years undertaken a wide variety of infrastructure reconstruction projects — rebuilding roadways and stream crossings — and accomplished the work with a commitment to protect natural resources.

“Ed is very pro-active in seeking assistance from us,” Leiberum said. “He may not always like what I have to say, but he’s willing to do things right the first time — while he protects the safety of area motorists.

Leiberum, who also serves as the Warren County Hazard Mitigation Coordinator, said Pennock was committed to protecting public safety, whether it was undertaking work to prevent flooding, wildfires, or washouts caused by breaching beaver dams. He noted that when culverts have been replaced, Pennock has been committed to having them rebuilt so they will withstand the more violent weather events the area has been experiencing.

Leiberum also said Pennock is diligent about preventing erosion, noting that he is conscientious about re-establishing roadside vegetation after a road reconstruction project is finished.

“Ed’s always thinking about these issues,” Leiberum said.

In addition, Pennock has been helpful in assisting the Conservation District when needed — including offering town labor to unload tons of material into the agency’s barn, Leiberum said.

“The Warrensburg Highway Department has a ghreat crew to work with,” Leiberum said. “We also have a great working relationship with the town of Warrensburg’s Water Department, the town Parks & Recreation Parks crew and the Code Enforcement office.”

For the Conservationist of 2013 award, Leiberum provided nominations to the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District’s board of board of directors, and that panel made the final selection.

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