Flood reduction, provided by dams and reservoirs, protects businesses and industries throughout the region and provides the area with excellent locations for business and residential development. Without reliable flood reduction benefits, there would be a devastating impact on businesses, the future of jobs and the well-being of families.
The MWCD also makes a direct contribution to the region's economy as a substantial employer. The MWCD employs about 85 people year-round, and typically more than 300 to meet summer season needs. MWCD lakes and facilities are estimated to attract some 5.5 million visitors to the area each year.
As resource stewards, the MWCD's natural resources staff strives to promote, maintain and enhance the health and diversity of the Conservancy District's natural resources for the public. The natural resources staff concentrates its efforts in the areas of agriculture, forestry, mineral, dredging/shoreline stabilization and water quality monitoring operations.
Natural Resources Protection
The MWCD has a long-time commitment to work hand in hand with local, state and federal agencies as well as individuals to reduce pollution. Maintaining a constant effort to protect and even improve water quality, the Conservancy District is a participant in the region's water quality initiatives.
Various sharecropping operations - notably in the Mohawk and Wills Creek reservoir areas - encompass more than 1,000 acres. An active member of the Farm Bureau, the MWCD supports agricultural programs in the watershed. Flood-reduction efforts allow land to be profitably farmed that would regularly be threatened with high water in the watershed.
Over the years, the Conservancy District has planted millions of trees as part of an ongoing program that also has provided a renewable income source, helping to meet the cost of various flood-reduction efforts. Even more important, the forestry program preserves and protects the thousands of protected acres of forest land for wildlife and nature.
Flood-reduction and forestry efforts provide an excellent habitat for wildlife propagation. Working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife, the MWCD carefully maintains and protects lands and waterways that are open for public access, including hunting and fishing.
The MWCD oil and gas drilling program has been in place for decades, today resulting in hundreds of wells. These wells provide income to help operate the MWCD and serve as valuable sources of energy for homes and businesses in the region. Protecting these wells from the negative effects of flooding is vital.
The MWCD's sediment management program is critical to protecting water quality and flood reduction. Continuing dredging programs are important to maintaining flood reduction and water quality benefits of the reservoirs in the MWCD system.
Shoreline Stabilization Projects
Every year, the MWCD is faced with major erosion control challenges, restoring shorelines and spreading rip rap as budgets allow. This program is vital to the various MWCD reservoirs and also benefits rivers and streams in various communities.
Surface water quality is becoming a major asset for the region. This effort also extends to drinking water, which the MWCD provides to the Village of Cadiz in Harrison County from Tappan Lake. Responsibility is expected to grow in the future, as the region's population puts pressure on existing water and sewer systems in the Muskingum River Watershed.