MWCD Board backs work of North Appalachian Watershed

April 24, 2008

The Board of Directors of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) has shown its appreciation for some of the landmark work by the staff of the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed in Coshocton County.

Members of the MWCD Board of Directors, meeting recently in the offices of the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, approved a resolution of support for the facility that is the only one of its kind in the eastern United States and is faced with some potential federal budget cuts.

"The MWCD has worked closely with the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed and some of the practices it has implemented," said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary. "The beauty of it is it's in our own watershed."

The North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, funded by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and cooperating with Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center, is one of only two hydrologic stations worldwide with more than 60 years of continuous data collected from small watersheds and groundwater testing. The facility develops innovative land use practices and tests their effects on soil, water and air, said Dr. James V. Bonta, the research leader for the program located a few miles east of Coshocton.

The MWCD, which was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan for flood reduction and water conservation in the Muskingum River Watershed, has participated in several research programs through the years with the staff at the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, Bonta said.

Currently the watershed station is working on numerous study programs, including a study of runoff and water quality due to urbanization, Bonta said during a presentation to the MWCD Board of Directors. Hoopingarner said the conservancy district will forward the resolution of support from the MWCD Board to the proper public officials and offices.

In another matter, a report was provided to the Board about a three-county effort to pursue funding for a water utility service from Piedmont Lake.

Officials in Belmont, Guernsey and Harrison counties have had preliminary meetings recently to discuss formation of a water utility district in the region around the lake, which is managed by the MWCD. The network of 14 MWCD reservoirs are managed in partnership with the dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood reduction and water conservation, including serving as sources of raw water supply.

Tappan Lake in Harrison County serves as a source of water for the residents of the nearby village of Cadiz and the city of Cambridge in Guernsey County has an agreement with the MWCD to utilize Seneca Lake for water supply if necessary.

MWCD staff members will be monitoring the progress of the discussions regarding Piedmont Lake, Hoopingarner said.

"We've been saying that the MWCD is going to have more requests for water supply needs for our communities and residents in the future, and here is one that could be substantial," he said. "That is one of the two reasons for the formation of the MWCD - one is to reduce the effects of flooding and the other is to provide sources of water for beneficial public uses.

"We will cooperate as needed as officials review the needs in the area around Piedmont Lake."

In other business, the Board:

• approved a final estimated budget for the year with an estimated $370,000 surplus. James B. Cugliari, MWCD treasurer/chief financial officer, said that revenue is estimated at nearly $10.52 million, while expenses are expected to be around $10.15 million.
• agreed to eliminate its ranger reserve unit effective immediately due to increasing costs of coverage requirements from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Board members approved a one-year renewal of the conservancy district's general liability insurance coverage with The Ohio Plan for $154,382, which is a 5.4 percent decrease over 2007's premium.
• approved the purchase of more than $146,000 worth of materials for share crop programs at Mohawk and Wills Creek reservoirs from the companies providing the low bids.
• approved the appointment of Allyn R. Adams of the Atwood Lake region to the Development Advisory Committee (DAC) of the MWCD. The DAC is a public support system consisting of volunteers interested in and/or participating in various programs at MWCD facilities. Eight seats presently are open on the 18-member committee. For more details or to submit an application for consideration of appointment to the DAC, contact the MWCD main office toll-free at (877) 363-8500 Ext. 2222.
• received a petition requesting a change in the horsepower limit for boats operating on Clendening and Piedmont lakes to be increased from 10 horsepower to 25 horsepower. Hoopingarner said that since the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft has jurisdiction over horsepower limits for boats on the state's water bodies, the MWCD would refer the request to state officials for review and consideration.

CONTACT:
Darrin Lautenschleger
Public Information Administrator
Toll-free: (877) 363-8500

 

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