MWCD Lakes to Undergo Winter 'Drawdown'; Shoreline Projects Set

October 31, 2014

An estimated $1.2 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 12 projects at five reservoirs are planned during the winter of 2014-15.

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

Atwood Lake – 4 projects – $770,000

Seneca Lake – 2 projects – $315,000

Tappan Lake – 3 projects – $125,000

When the 2014-15 projects have been completed, the MWCD will have completed 94 individual shoreline projects in five years at a total cost of more than $6.3 million. The MWCD kicked off the annual maintenance program to address shoreline erosion and stability concerns at its reservoirs in 2010.

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 has identified 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 2014-15 will begin Nov. 1 at several reservoirs and will range from reductions of 5 feet to 8 feet”, said Boris E. Slogar, MWCD chief engineer. “A gradual return to normal summer depth levels will begin in February 2015 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 – 8 feet – Nov. 8

* Charles Mill Lake – 5 feet – Dec. 1

* Clendening Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 1

* Leesville Lake – 8 feet – Nov. 15

* Piedmont Lake – 5 feet – Nov. 15

* Pleasant Hill Lake – 6 - Nov. 15

* Seneca Lake – 8 feet - Nov. 1

* Tappan Lake – 8 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 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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