MWCD signs on for rehabilitation work at Dover Dam

July 24, 2009

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have confirmed their commitment for a $103.5 million rehabilitation project to stabilize Dover Dam and continue to provide flood risk reduction for residents and property downstream of the dam.

Members of the MWCD Board of Directors have approved a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the USACE for the work, which is scheduled to get under way during the fall of 2010. As the required non-federal local cost-share sponsor for the project, the MWCD will contribute an estimated $3.57 million for the maintenance work - or 3.45 percent of the total cost - over the length of the project.

Officials from the MWCD and USACE signed the partnering agreement during a ceremony held July 24, 2009.

"It was an historic time when the MWCD partnered with the federal government to construct the 14 dams an reservoirs in the Muskingum River Watershed that have protected people and property for more than 70 years," said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary. "This agreement represents another historic time and confirms the dedication of both the MWCD and the USACE to the continued safe and effective operation of the system of dams and reservoirs."

Dover Dam, which is operated by the Huntington (W.Va.) District of the USACE, was constructed on less-than-ideal bedrock conditions, and is in need of several upgrades to be able to withstand a probable maximum flood and assure reliable performance. The only concrete dam in the Muskingum River Watershed, the dam located in northern Tuscarawas County off Rt. 800 presently cannot be operated to its design capacities because of stability concerns, which potentially could put the public at risk, according to the USACE.

"The Corps is committed to public safety and the signing of this Project Partnership Agreement is the first step in rehabilitating Dover Dam and reducing risks associated with the dam," said Col. Dana R. Hurst, commander of the Huntington District of the USACE. "Since construction of Dover Dam was completed in November 1937, it has prevented $1.1 billion in flood damage. The total project cost estimate for the rehabilitation project is $103.5 million and will quickly yield returns on the investment since the average annual benefits of the project are $15.9 million.

"The flood damage reduction projects in the Muskingum Basin have improved the overall quality of life for the region by reducing flood damage. The Corps commends the leadership of the MWCD in taking the appropriate planning steps in being able to financially serve as the non-federal partner."


The signing ceremony also was attended by Lisa Duvall, regional director for the office of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland; Rich Milleson, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; State Rep. Allan Sayre (D-Dover); and members of the MWCD Board of Directors.

Dover Dam is one of four dams and one levee in the Muskingum River Watershed that have been identified by the USACE for rehabilitation and upgrades, and is the first that the federal government has targeted for work in the watershed. The total estimated cost of all of the projects could reach $685 million, according to the USACE, with the MWCD committing from $125.6 million to $137.1 million as the cost-share sponsor.

Hoopingarner said that the Dover Dam project is the first partnering agreement with the federal government for a dam that the MWCD has committed to as part of the implementation of its Amendment to the Official Plan of the MWCD to protect the benefits of flood reduction and water conservation in the watershed.

"We have promised the residents in the watershed through the past several years that we are committed to the safe operation of the system of dams and reservoirs, and that the MWCD will be a partner with the federal government for this important work," Hoopingarner said. "That time has arrived and our staff is busy preparing for the important years ahead as the system is secured for future generations."

The MWCD will pay for its share - along with other identified maintenance projects at the reservoirs and in the watershed - through an assessment of property owners in the watershed pursuant to Ohio law. Collection of the assessment began this year.

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state of Ohio, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, leading to the construction of 14 reservoirs and dams several years later. The MWCD is a partner with the USACE in the operation of the system of dams and reservoirs and in the watershed, as the USACE operates the dams and the MWCD manages most the reservoir areas behind the dams.

Since their construction, the dams and reservoirs have prevented more than $7 billion worth of property damage from flooding, according to the USACE.

In addition to Dover Dam, the USACE is preparing for maintenance and rehabilitation projects at Beach City, Bolivar and Mohawk dams, along with Zoar levee.

The 18 counties wholly or partially contained in the MWCD jurisdiction are Ashland, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Holmes, Harrison, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Richland, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Wayne and Washington.

For more information, visit, call the MWCD toll-free at (877) 363-8500 or contact the public affairs office of the Huntington District of the USACE at (304) 399-5353.


Contact: Darrin Lautenschleger

Public Affairs Administrator

Toll-free: (877) 363-8500

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