Harry Horstman appointed to new 5-year term on MWCD Board of Directors

June 8, 2010

Harry C. Horstman has been appointed to a new five-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).


Horstman, a retired educator who resides in Harrison County and is the current president of the MWCD Board of Directors, also is a previous chairman and member of the MWCD’s volunteer Development Advisory Committee (DAC). He was reappointed to a seat on the Board of Directors by the member judges of the Conservancy Court during the court’s session held recently in the Tuscarawas County Courthouse at New Philadelphia.


Horstman originally was appointed to the MWCD Board of Directors in 2002 to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Joseph J. Sommer of Stark County. He was appointed to a full five-year term in 2005. Members of the Board of Directors are limited to two consecutive five-year terms of service.


Horstman spent 34 years as a teacher and administrator in school districts in Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, retiring in 1991. He also was the camp manager for more than 30 years for the United Methodist Church’s Camp Aldersgate located at Leesville Lake. An inaugural member of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy Foundation, Inc., Board of Trustees, Horstman is a member and chairman of the Conotton Creek Trail development committee, served as commodore of Atwood Yacht Club in 2002 and is the chairman of the Scio Development Committee.


He is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in education and earned a vocational director’s certificate from Kent State University.


The MWCD Board of Directors meets monthly in open public session to handle the operations of the conservancy district, the largest in Ohio. Other members of the Board are Steve Kokovich of New Concord, Board vice president; William P. Boyle Jr. of the Charles Mill Lake region; David L. Parham of Dellroy; and Richard J. Pryce of North Canton.


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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the operation of the system of dams and reservoirs in the watershed, as the USACE operates the dams and the MWCD manages most of the reservoir areas behind the dams.


Since their construction, the dams and reservoirs have prevented an estimated $8.4 billion worth of property damage from flooding, according to the USACE.


In another matter, the judges heard a report from Col. Robert Peterson, commander of the Huntington (WV) District of the USACE, who provided an overview of present conditions and future plans for the dams in the Muskingum River Watershed.


“Our mission remains as public safety being our No. 1 priority,” Peterson said. “That is what it has been and what it will continue to be in the future. Fourteen of these projects were built in the 1930s. We have an aging infrastructure.”


Peterson said the system of dams and reservoirs in the watershed has provided a better quality of life for residents and economic opportunity by reducing the impacts of flooding, providing recreational opportunities and tourism, and by producing a sustainable ecosystem for future generations.


Peterson also discussed details about the five priority safety projects planned at the dams over the next several years. The USACE estimates that the work at dams at Beach City, Bolivar, Dover and Mohawk reservoirs, as well as at Zoar Levee, will cost between $610.5 million to $660.5 million. The federal government will pay the bulk of the costs of the work, while the MWCD has committed to serve as the required non-federal local sponsor for the projects, with its portion estimated at between $127.1 million to $138.6 million.


The project at Dover Dam is the first planned for construction and work is expected to begin later this year after award of a federal contract in September for the initial phase of construction of an anchoring system for the concrete structure, Peterson said.


“We are on target and very excited about the project at Dover Dam,” he said. “We want to break ground on that project as soon as possible.”


The Court, which traditionally convenes once each year to consider matters related to the MWCD, also approved the Annual Report of Operations for the MWCD for 2009, which is a legally required document detailing the MWCD’s budget and operations for the year. The judges also reviewed and approved several standard budget transfers for 2009.


For more information about the MWCD, visit www.mwcd.org


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