MWCD to complete shoreline projects during winter 'drawdown'

October 1, 2013

An estimated $1.25 million worth of shoreline stabilization projects at three Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) reservoirs will be completed during the upcoming winter months when the permanent lakes undergo their normal “drawdown” periods.

The time period between November and March of each year when the water levels at the MWCD lakes are reduced also provides the opportunity to correct badly eroded shorelines and a total of 13 projects are planned to be completed during the winter of 2013-14.

The shoreline projects, locations and estimated costs approved for work by the MWCD Board of Directors during a meeting Friday (Sept. 20) at New Philadelphia will be located at:

·         Atwood Lake – two projects - $600,000

·         Charles Mill Lake – six projects - $350,000

·         Seneca Lake – five projects - $300,000

All of these projects will be performed by private contractors through the public bidding process, said Boris E. Slogar, MWCD chief engineer.

“The shoreline revitalization projects have become one of the more eagerly anticipated programs that the MWCD conducts each year,” Slogar said. “There already has been more than 4 miles of shoreline that has been improved through this program in only three years. And since this is an ongoing process, the work that is being done and that will be completed in the future will help protect these reservoirs for flood reduction in the watershed for many years to come.”

When the 2013-14 projects have been completed, the MWCD will have revitalized more than 80 individual shoreline projects in four years at a total cost of approximately $5 million. The MWCD has reported that nearly 500 individual sites comprising many miles of shoreline at its reservoirs 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 reservoirs and dams, 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. This “drawdown” period when more than 22 billion gallons of water is released from the MWCD lakes 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 the winter of 2013-14 will begin Nov. 1 at several reservoirs and will range from reductions of 5 feet to 8 feet, with an additional temporary reduction of 15 feet at Pleasant Hill Lake from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15 for a shoreline project, before it returns to an 8-foot reduction for the balance of winter, Slogar said. A gradual return to normal summer depth levels will begin in February 2014 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 is as follows:

·         Atwood Lake – 8 feet – Nov. 1

·         Charles Mill Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

·         Clendening Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 1

·         Leesville Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

·         Piedmont Lake – 8 feet – Nov. 15

·         Pleasant Hill Lake – 15 feet – Nov. 1 to Jan. 15

·         Pleasant Hill Lake – 8 feet – Jan. 15

·         Seneca Lake – 5 feet – Nov.1

·         Tappan Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

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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