Public input to be sought in Chippewa Creek Watershed

July 23, 2008

The formation of an advisory group to assist in identification and prioritization of future maintenance projects for the dams and channel improvements in the Chippewa Creek Watershed located primarily in southern Medina and northern Wayne counties should begin late this summer.

Boris E. Slogar, chief engineer for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), said that he will meet this week with members of the Chippewa Citizens Task Force to discuss the status of work that has been completed in recent years in the region, along with upcoming needs. Slogar said formal creation of an advisory group to assist in the process requires authorization of the MWCD Board of Directors.

The MWCD has served as business manager and administrator for the operation of the eight dams and 33 miles of channel improvements along the Chippewa Creek since the Chippewa Subdistrict of the MWCD was created in the 1970 after a request from residents of the region to the MWCD.

Slogar said the volunteer Citizens Task Force has been a valuable resource for the MWCD in reaching some of the goals upon the original creation of the subdistrict, including the reduction of flooding and sediment deposits, and improving water quality. A volunteer advisory group also will assist Slogar and MWCD staff with identification of the key needs in the Chippewa Creek Watershed and in the review of some projects already proposed.

"The bottom line is that before we go and spend tens of thousands of dollars, I want to be sure these upgrades are necessary and justified," Slogar told members of the MWCD Board of Directors during a recent meeting. "We owe that to the citizens and property owners in the Chippewa Creek Watershed."

Maintenance work in the subdistrict is funded through an assessment of property owners as provided for in the Ohio law that governs conservancy districts. The Chippewa Creek Watershed covers about 188 square miles in Medina and Wayne counties, as well as trace amounts of property in Stark and Summit counties, and assessment dollars can be used solely in the subdistrict region according to law.

The dams were constructed and other improvements along the creek were made following years of flooding along Chippewa Creek, which also consistently produced log jams and other restrictions. By 1960 a work plan was completed and 10 years later the subdistrict officially was formed to carry out construction and operation. Besides the MWCD, the other original sponsors for the improvements included the Medina and Wayne County commissioners, as well as Soil and Water Conservation District offices in Medina and Wayne counties.

Slogar said present maintenance needs of the dams and channel improvements include, but are not limited to:

• Tree and brush removal
• Slip repairs
• Debris removal
• Hydraulic structure repairs and upgrades
• Monitor/remove sedimentation
• Ongoing maintenance

After a review of proposed dam maintenance and inspection of the channel work is completed this year, Slogar said numerous projects are expected to begin in 2009."There already has been so much accomplished in this watershed to protect people and property," Slogar said. "This is part of the continuing process to ensure effective operation of this system."

Slogar said that residents and property owners with questions about the Chippewa Subdistrict or the Chippewa Creek Watershed can contact the watershed specialist for the project Deborah Russell, at (330) 722-9382. The Chippewa Subdistrict maintains an office in the Medina County Park District complex at 6364 Deerview Ln., Medina.

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


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