MWCD to host public meeting Oct. 17 concerning Seneca Lake

October 11, 2012

A public meeting to provide details about the planned leasing for oil and gas exploration of Seneca Lake property owned by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) and the expected requests for water withdrawals from the lake by the oil and gas industry will be held Oct. 17 (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. in the Robert T. Secrest Senior Center at 201 High St. in Senecaville.

 

MWCD staff members will provide details about these items and what, if any effects, that these developments will have on users and visitors at the lake. The meeting also will offer attendees an opportunity to provide input directly to MWCD staff members.

 

Comments and input also can be sent directly to the MWCD via e-mail at senecacomments@mwcd.org. More than 1,500 letters of invitation for the meeting have been sent to lake users, visitors and others.

 

The MWCD manages 54,000 acres of public property in numerous reservoir regions in Eastern Ohio, which is the area that has been the focus of natural gas development in the Utica Shale region over the past couple of years. The MWCD manages more than 7,600 acres of public property at Seneca Lake and most of it is not under lease for development of the Utica Shale.

 

The MWCD has been contacted repeatedly in recent months by oil and gas development companies seeking to negotiate with the MWCD for the rights to access the Utica Shale and the potential for water withdrawals from the lake. At this time, the MWCD is preparing to begin these negotiations, and it is the intent of the MWCD to restrict oil and gas development to those areas that will minimize the impact on the lake community, up to and including the possible prohibition of well pads and production lines on MWCD property.

 

The MWCD previously has agreed to leases at two other lake regions: Clendening Lake in Harrison County in 2011 and Leesville Lake in Carroll County earlier this year. The revenues generated from the signing bonuses agreed to in the leases have enabled the MWCD to pay down its debt and begin to address more than $80 million worth of critical needs at its recreational and public facilities.

 

The MWCD has managed oil and gas drilling leases on its properties for its entire 80-year history and has an interest in approximately 275 older, traditional wells that produce royalty revenues.

 

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving more than $10 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

 

For more information about the MWCD, visit www.mwcd.org and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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