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Author: Adria Bergeron

Dockside Bar & Grill to Open at Tappan Marina

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) is thrilled to announce the Dockside Bar & Grill will be opening at Tappan Lake Marina. The restaurant, operated by Buehler’s Fresh Foods, is set to open in May.

Guests can look forward to classic American cuisine including specialty seafood dishes created by a team of talented chefs with over 30 years of training and experience. In addition to great food, the atmosphere is a relaxed and inviting space that can be accessed easily by car from State Route 250, or by boat utilizing the courtesy docks floating below the restaurant. Guests can enjoy dining on the patio while soaking up the sun and lake breeze, or inside the recently renovated indoor dining room to enjoy the views with floor to ceiling windows.

“We are thrilled to bring the unique flavors and top-notch service of the Dockside Bar & Grill to the Tappan Lake community,” said Jayson Slusser, Restaurant Manager of the Dockside Bar & Grill. “With our dedication to quality ingredients, exceptional service, and breathtaking waterfront views, we look forward to becoming a staple for locals and visitors alike.” Jayson is a trained chef from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He has spent his entire career working in and managing restaurants.

A grand opening Mother’s Day brunch celebration is scheduled for May 11th and 12th and guests are required to reserve their tables in advance to secure their spot at this highly anticipated event.

“We are pleased to announce the new partnership for the restaurant at Tappan Marina,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director. “Buehler’s has an outstanding reputation. We believe they will be a perfect fit to provide an excellent dining experience and exceed expectations for our valued guests.”

For more information about the Dockside Bar & Grill at Tappan Lake, including menu offerings and reservations, please visit their Facebook page at Dockside Bar & Grill at Tappan Lake or contact (740) 269-1170.

MWCD: Honoring our Past, Planning our Future

Published by: Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director

Last year was a landmark year for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) as we honored our past by celebrating 90 years of providing unparalleled flood prevention, recreation, and conservation benefits to Ohio.

As 2024 begins, we will build upon the accomplishments from 2023 and work towards our 5-year strategic plan titled, “Honoring our Past, Planning our Future.” I am excited to provide a sample of the achievements of 2023 and initiatives we have planned for the year.

One very significant achievement from 2023 was the reduction of the assessment for property owners within the watershed by 66%, or $4 million. We made this change because we built a stable financial future through careful resource management. Even with this reduction, we invested over $2.3 million in improvements to our network of dams and lakes in 2023. Additionally, these investments are part of the $221 million park improvements and upgrades made since 2014 which have supported 2,606 jobs paying nearly $300 million in wages and benefits. Through these improvements and upgrades, MWCD has contributed an estimated $1 billion to our region’s economy, according to 2023 Cleveland State University study.

Careful thought goes into how MWCD invests in improvements and upgrades to our facilities that support our mission of flood prevention and control, recreation, and conservation. Our system of dams and other flood mitigation assets is well established and carefully managed in close partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We are proud of the continued high marks we receive from the Corps for our work, ranging from our fiscal support of fixing the Zoar levee and other dam improvements, to our own work restoring and protecting shorelines, strategic dredging operations, and invasive species control. Last year alone we spent more than $4.4 million to maintain and improve this system of reservoirs, dams, and levees to ensure that it is in top shape to preserve life and property. This is our first and primary mission and we will continue to give this our full attention and priority.

Additional investments in our lakes and parks help ensure they are desirable places for families to gather and enjoy Ohio’s natural resources. Projects such as Pleasant Hill Lake Park’s new pickleball and basketball courts, cornhole boards, and shaded seating area are perfect examples of such additions. Similarly, at Tappan Lake Park, we have improved the beach experience with a new restroom and changing area and upgraded the concession building and shelter. Atwood and Piedmont Lakes received new basketball courts, as well. We also completed the 1.3-mile Tappan Beall Farm Connector Trail, which enhances off-lake opportunities and showcases our collaborative partnership with regional conservation groups.

We have ambitious plans for 2024. Proposals are being evaluated for new developments at Atwood Lake. Important infrastructure upgrades are coming to Clendening Lake, including a new wastewater treatment plant, pump stations, and rehabilitation efforts. Tappan Lake Park will see a new welcome center to better serve guests. Additional amenities, including ADA kayak launches, concrete cornhole boards, and playgrounds at various parks demonstrates our dedication to recreation for all. Plans for Seneca Lake Park include a splashpad, playground, sport courts, and additional facilities for a more enjoyable beach experience. The investment back into MWCD facilities at Tappan and Seneca alone exceeds $6 million.

In 2024, MWCD is striving for more sustainable energy solutions and making a groundbreaking leap with a $2.3 million investment in renewable energy and is currently evaluating proposals for 15 solar projects that will produce approximately 1.1 million kilowatt hours.

This year will also see an expanded focus on our conservation mission. This work is essential for us to offer healthy and beautiful lakes, parks, and waterways for both wildlife and visitors. A groundbreaking new partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio has been formed with our $5 million endowment, which aims to support $200,000 worth of conservation projects, scholarships, and fellowships annually. This aligns with an expansion of our water quality monitoring efforts and collaboration with agency partners to develop a regional plan to support healthy wildlife populations. Water quality starts with land use and to maintain our high standards of water quality and reduce impairments in our region, we are increasing our support for best agricultural management practices, sustainable forestry, and wetland conservation. From clean water flows opportunity for recreation, economy, and public health.

As we move forward, MWCD remains dedicated to the core mission of flood prevention and control. Other parts of our program naturally dovetail today to strengthen our recreation and conservation efforts. By working together, our core programs provide protection from flooding and enrich our lives. Eastern Ohio is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the Ohio River Watershed. Preserving this legacy of natural beauty is our shared responsibility and our shared joy. To ensure that MWCD is here for at least another 90 years, we are developing a plan to secure long-term financial stability through the creation of a legacy fund that will live in perpetuity. This fund will benefit future MWCD projects, operations, and potentially lend financial support to other like-minded organizations within the Muskingum Watershed.

MWCD is honored to be part of the communities across the watershed.  As was the vision from our founders, we seek to build a conservancy that not only protects millions from devastating floods, but ensures the waters are clean, and we provide unparalleled recreation, educational, and economic development opportunities.  This is a responsibility that we fully embrace.

Together, with our communities and partners, we will forge a path toward a sustainable and thriving future for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and the communities we serve. We look forward to a year filled with exciting developments and more shared successes in stewardship of this beautiful place we are lucky enough to call home.

MWCD Accepts First Place Award for Trails Program

Staff from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) recently attended the Ohio Park and Recreation Association (OPRA) annual conference in Sandusky, Ohio. During the conference, the OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence were presented at a banquet hosted by the association on February 6, 2024.

The MWCD was proud to accept a 1st place award in the health and wellness category for a new initiative in 2023, “Capture the Canvas”. The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio. Photographed above: Woody Woodward, OPRA Executive Director, Eric Stechschulte, Dylan Sayre, Aaron Stump, and Nate Eppink, OPRA Board President

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

Capture the Canvas was created with the intention to bring artwork to MWCD trails and increase awareness of the trail system. MWCD also sought participation from local schools to strengthen community partnerships and showcase the artwork of area students.

“I am immensely proud of our organization’s dedication to creating and maintaining a trail system throughout the Muskingum Watershed district for the betterment of residents and guests to our area,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director. “Receiving this award not only recognizes our hard work, but also underscores the profound impact our trails have on communities, recreation, and conservation.”

Once on the trail, users were encouraged to find the canvas, capture/snap a “selfie”, and upload it to the MWCD website for a chance to win one of three prizes including $1,000 cash donated by Encino Energy, a weekend stay a deluxe log cabin at Pleasant Hill Lake Park, and a full-day pontoon rental from an MWCD operated marina. Counters on the trails documented 6,702 people between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The prize winners included Robert Calhoun, Stephanie Brinkman, and Kimberly Kress.

Five high schools created original pieces for this program. The canvases were beautiful pieces of art ranging from nature, birds, bears, and outdoor fantasy.

The MWCD has committed to increase trail accessibility to all people in the coming years by not only building new trails on MWCD property, but also through a partnership with the Buckeye Trail Association. Public surveys and feedback from neighboring communities and park guests have consistently emphasized the importance of trails. The MWCD has invested over a million dollars in trail development over the last five years.

Capture the Canvas 2024 will kick-off on May 24 and conclude on Monday, September 2, 2024. Follow MWCD online at and on Facebook and Instagram for more information about how to register and prize opportunities the upcoming promotion.

1st place- Robert Calhoun
1st place- Robert Calhoun
2nd Place Winner Stephanie Brinkman
2nd Place Winner Stephanie Brinkman
Kimberly Kress
3rd Place Winner, Kimberly Kress



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