MWCD to work with Carroll, Harrison for watershed specialist

August 7, 2013

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) will participate with Carroll and Harrison counties to create a watershed specialist position to work with private landowners on effective conservation practices in the Atwood, Leesville, Clendening and Tappan reservoir regions.


The MWCD Board of Directors recently approved investing $42,000 annually for a three-year commitment beginning in 2013 for the position, which will be directed by the Carroll and Harrison county Soil and Water Conservation District offices.


“This is an outstanding opportunity for the MWCD to work directly with the expert SWCD staffs in Carroll and Harrison counties to identify and implement practices that will safeguard these four lakes by reducing nutrient and sediment runoff loads,” said Sean D. Logan, MWCD chief of conservation. “The MWCD has been performing necessary maintenance at the lakes over the past few years to stabilize shorelines and reduce erosion, and this watershed specialist position offers a method to add beneficial conservation practices upstream of the lakes.”


According to the plan, the individual hired to fill the position will become an employee of the Harrison County SWCD office, and report to both the Carroll and Harrison county SWCD staffs. The three-year project will focus on facilitating cooperation with private landowners and other SWCD staff to identify and plan for improvements, including locating funding sources to implement the practices.


“The goal would be for the person who fills this position to initially begin a planning process for a couple of years, identifying and developing the plans, and building relationships in these watersheds,” said Chad Amos, program specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Soil and Water Resources, who is assisting in the development of the position. “We envision this person will be knowledgeable about the many practices to control erosion and nutrient runoff, and programs such as the ‘4R Initiative’ that can benefit individual participating property owners, as well as the lakes.” (The “4R Initiative” nutrient stewardship program involves identification of the right source of nutrients, in the right rate, at the right time and in the right place).


Logan said the watershed specialist also will work closely with the MWCD’s dredging consultant, URS Corp., to identify sediment reduction strategies that complement the conservancy district’s upcoming dredging program.


Logan and Amos worked with Linda Yeager and Lori Morey, the district administrators for the Carroll and Harrison County SWCD offices, to review the project description and objectives.


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).


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