Iowa cemetary being worn down by erosion

The Oak Grove Cemetery has been worn down by years of erosion and heavy rain, resulting in the uncovering of bones and coffins while local officials dispute who is responsible for burying them.

The Des Moines Register recently reported that the erosion began when a storm in 2009 started wearing down the wall of a ravine and causing part of the cemetery to slide away. Several gravestones were dislodged and at least one body was removed from the soil.

“It’s just a heck of a mess,” Phil Berglund, a Yell Township trustee who manages the cemetery’s maintenance, told the media outlet. Berglund said his little township doesn’t have the financial resources to stabilize the ravine, and a proposal to move graves back from the edge is held up by bureaucratic red tape. “This is a problem that is beyond us,” he said.

The dispute as to whose responsibility the problem is began when a member of the state archaeologist’s office went to the scene and photographed the bones there, according to The Associated Press. Documents indicate that the staff member was unable to conclude from the pictures taken if the issue was the state’s problem.

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