MWCD lakes to undergo winter 'drawdown'; shoreline projects set

September 26, 2011

An estimated $2 million worth of shoreline stabilization projects at several Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) reservoirs will be completed during the upcoming winter months when the permanent lakes undergo their normal “drawdown” periods.


The drawdown months between November and March of each year provide the ideal opportunity for the MWCD to correct badly eroded shorelines and a total of 26 projects at five reservoirs are planned during the winter of 2011-12.


Members of the MWCD Board of Directors recently approved the following projects and estimated costs:


Atwood Lake – 11 projects – $323,250

Clendening Lake – 6 projects – $250,400

Pleasant Hill Lake – 1 project – $975,000

Piedmont Lake – 5 projects – $336,025

Seneca Lake – 3 projects – $118,300


The project at Pleasant Hill Lake will address a severely eroded portion of shoreline in the southern region of the reservoir that the MWCD has identified as the “worst” shoreline at a conservancy district lake.


When the 2011-12 projects have been completed, the MWCD will have completed 46 individual shoreline projects in two years at a total cost of more than $3 million. The MWCD kicked off the annual maintenance program to address shoreline erosion and stability concerns at its reservoirs last winter.


Some of the projects are completed by MWCD staff members, while others are completed by private contractors that are awarded contracts for the work through the public bidding process. The MWCD announced last year that nearly 500 individual sites comprising several miles of shoreline are in need of varying amounts of stabilization.


The work is paid for through the MWCD’s funds collected from owners of properties in the Muskingum River Watershed that receive identified benefits from the Amendment to the Official Plan of the MWCD that calls for maintenance and rehabilitation in the system of flood-reduction and water conservation reservoirs and dams in the region.


As part of the flood risk management operation of the system of reservoirs and dams in the Muskingum River Watershed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) annually conducts a temporary reduction in the depth levels of the permanent lakes behind the dams during the winter months. The drawdown period allows for appropriate storage capacity of floodwaters in the reservoirs that can be needed from a combination of rain and melting snow.


The drawdown for 2011-12 will begin Nov. 1 at several reservoirs and will range from reductions of 3 feet to 15 feet, said Boris E. Slogar, MWCD chief engineer. A gradual return to normal summer depth levels will begin in February 2012 in time for the recreation season.


The depth reductions by reservoir, the amount of the reduction and the date the drawdown is expected to begin follows:


* Atwood Lake – 7 feet – Nov. 15

* Charles Mill Lake – 3 feet – Dec. 1

* Clendening Lake – 6 feet – Nov. 15

* Leesville Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 1

* Piedmont Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

* Pleasant Hill Lake – 15 feet beginning Nov. 15, reduced to 10 feet beginning Jan. 10

* Seneca Lake – 10 feet beginning Nov. 1, reduced to 8 feet beginning Dec. 26

* Tappan Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

Slogar said the varying drawdowns planned for Pleasant Hill and Seneca reservoirs are related to projects at both locations. Pleasant Hill Lake is scheduled for a major shoreline stabilization project and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requested an increased drawdown at Seneca Lake for repairs planned at the Senecaville State Fish Hatchery located near the dam.


The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving nearly $10 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).


For more information about the MWCD, visit and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.


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