Former MWCD Board member Limbach appointed to new term

June 3, 2013

A former member of the Board of Directors of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) has been selected to return to the five-member Board.


The judges of the Conservancy Court of the MWCD appointed Joanne Limbach of New Philadelphia to a five-year term on the Board of Directors during the Court’s annual session held Saturday (June 1) in the Tuscarawas County Courthouse at New Philadelphia. Limbach replaces Steve Kokovich of New Concord in Muskingum County, who recently completed two consecutive terms of service on the Board of Directors, which is the maximum permitted.


Limbach, the only woman who has served on the MWCD Board and the first member to ever be appointed to a second stint on the Board, formerly served as a member of the MWCD Board of Directors from 1996-2006. She also served as the tax commissioner for the State of Ohio from 1983-1991 after being appointed by Gov. Richard F. Celeste and is a former Tuscarawas County commissioner and member of the New Philadelphia Board of Education. A former schoolteacher, she also was a founding partner in a state and local tax consulting firm based in Columbus.


A graduate of Muskingum University and Bowling Green State University, Limbach is a volunteer with AARP, having served as the Ohio president for six years as well as being a member of AARP’s National Policy Directors. She is a member of the Tuscarawas County Public Library Board and represents consumers on the Ohio Health Information Partnership Board.


Members of the Board of Directors are appointed by the Court to oversee the operations and business affairs of the MWCD, which also manages 54,000 acres of land and water space dedicated to public use, including 10 lakes, five lake parks and eight campgrounds in an 18-county area.


Other members of the MWCD Board of Directors are William P. Boyle Jr. of the Charles Mill Lake area in Richland County, Harry C. Horstman of Scio in Harrison County, David Parham of the Atwood Lake region in Carroll County (current Board president) and Richard J. Pryce of North Canton in Stark County (current Board vice president). Board members routinely meet once a month in open, public session.


During the Court session, the judges also confirmed the appointments of James Navratil of Medina and Mark Waltz of Dover to new terms on the MWCD Board of Appraisers, as well as approving the appointment of new member Bradley Stubbs of Zanesville to the Board of Appraisers.


In another matter, Col. Steven McGugan, commander of the Huntington (WV) District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), told the judges that the MWCD has invested nearly $11 million to date as the required non-federal local cost-share sponsor for priority safety and maintenance projects at the dams operated by the USACE in the Muskingum River Watershed.


“It is a great partnership between the (USACE) and the MWCD and it has paid off with great dividends for the communities we serve,” said McGugan. “The top priority we share with the MWCD is to protect public safety with the operation of the dams in this watershed.”


McGugan reported to the Court that two dam projects currently under way – at Bolivar and Dover dams in northern Tuscarawas County – have seen plenty of activity over the past year. At Dover Dam, where the MWCD will provide about $2.1 million of the total $60-million project, nearly all of the anchors being installed in the concrete dam for stability have been completed, and once finalized, the dam will perform at an acceptable level for flood reduction, McGugan said.


At Bolivar Dam, a seepage blanket being installed near the dam is nearly complete and additional work will follow, including construction of a concrete cut-off wall for additional protection and performance for the dam. The MWCD will invest up to $40 million for the Bolivar project, which is estimated to cost up to $175 million.


Safety priority projects at Beach City Dam in northern Tuscarawas and southern Stark counties and at Mohawk Dam in Coshocton and Muskingum counties, will follow in upcoming years, and McGugan also reported to the judges that a recommendation on how to proceed at Zoar Levee is expected to be available at the end of 2015.


The Conservancy Court, which consists of one common pleas court judge from each of the 18 counties in the MWCD region, is vested with certain duties over the MWCD according to Ohio law as a court of common pleas. During the session, member judges also approved the 2012 Annual Report of Operations of the MWCD, which contains information about the conservancy district’s financial records and operations and is submitted to the Court each year for review. The Annual Report also is available on the MWCD’s website at


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 an estimated $10.7 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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