MWCD adds 6 new members to advisory committee

July 23, 2008

Six people with a diverse range of professional and personal experience and interest in the region will take seats on the 18-member Development Advisory Committee of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).

The MWCD Board of Directors approved the appointment of the new advisory committee members during a recent meeting held in the Wolf Creek Environmental Center of the Medina County Park District. The new members are:

• Douglas Davis of Muskingum County, the Muskingum County engineer.
• Andrew Dix of Guernsey County, publisher of The Daily Jeffersonian at Cambridge.
• Marilyn Ortt of Washington County, president of the Friends of the Lower Muskingum.
• Chasity Schmelzenbach of Noble County, director of the Noble County Emergency Management Agency and president of the Buckeye Hills RC&D.
• Cheryl Ann Sebring of Muskingum County, housing planner/housing rehabilitation for the city of Zanesville.
• David White of Summit County, a professional engineer and the planning engineer for the Summit County Engineer's office.

"These six new members will provide excellent advice and guidance to the MWCD,"
said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary. "With their backgrounds and experience, they can add to the excellent input we already receive from the other members of the Development Advisory Committee."

The Development Advisory committee was created by the MWCD Board of Directors in 1992 to provide an organized public support system for responsive and effective conservation, economic development and recreation programs. Members of the committee volunteer their time and are appointed by the Board of Directors to serve three-year terms.

Meetings of the Development Advisory Committee generally are held quarterly throughout the year.

In other business, the Board of Directors:

• Approved filing a grant fund application to establish a watershed coordinator position for the MWCD to work in the Stillwater Creek Watershed. The grant, offered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Soil and Water Conservation, would provide the bulk of the salary for the position for an initial four-year period. The watershed coordinator would be responsible for development of a watershed action plan and working with local communities and organizations to implement water quality improvement projects in the Stillwater Creek Watershed. The Stillwater Creek Watershed takes in portions of Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, and is a subwatershed of the Muskingum River Watershed.
• Learned that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) recently released a draft report that details water quality problems throughout much of the Nimishillen Creek Watershed, which drains 188 square miles in portions of Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas counties. The MWCD reviewed the draft report and supports action plans presented in it to improve the watershed, which is a subwatershed of the Muskingum River Watershed.
• Received for review a draft operational policy to govern the issuance of permits for boats with engines that exceed the posted horsepower limit on an MWCD lake. According to state code, the MWCD has the authority to grant over-horsepower permits on the lakes under specific conditions. The MWCD has issued numerous over-horsepower permits through the years. A final version of the policy is expected to be presented for Board action at an upcoming meeting.
• Was informed that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife is closely monitoring the discovery of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHSv) in fish from the Clear Fork Reservoir in Richland and Morrow counties earlier this year. The virus, which causes disease in fish but does not pose any threat to public health, could spread to fish in other reservoirs and rivers. For more details, visit the Division of Wildlife website at

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


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