East Branch Watershed residents joining to discuss water quality


RAGERSVILLE, Ohio – Residents in the East Branch Watershed just outside of Sugarcreek, Ohio, are joining to discuss the water quality problems in the East Branch March 23 at the Ragersville Elementary School.

The public meeting will include questions and answers from natural resources experts, and will gather ideas and suggestions from the community.

A planning committee has met with local conservation agencies to work on a watershed plan for the East Branch. The information gathered at this public meeting will be used to help develop a management plan, which identifies ways to improve water quality in the creeks of the East Branch Watershed.

Need public input. Residents’ views are needed to prioritize potential projects and help determine what is most likely to be accepted by local residents.

Once completed, the information in the watershed plan will be used to apply for funding to implement the watershed plan. Whether this funding will be used for individual or community projects, or a combination of both will be determined in the planning process.

About the East Branch. The East Branch is a small creek, which originates in the sloping hillsides of Bucks and Auburn townships, in southwest Tuscarawas County.

It flows north, through a narrow valley of cropland, past dairy farms, through the community of Ragersville, and the Village of Sugarcreek, eventually joining the South Fork of the Sugar Creek.

This small creek is less than 10 miles long, but has been getting a lot of attention since Ohio Environmental Protection Agency released its report on the water quality in the East Branch and the other watersheds in the Sugar Creek Basin.

Agricultural concerns. The two major water quality problems in the watershed, as identified by Ohio EPA, are excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sedimentation. Agriculture has been identified as one of the major contributors to both these problems, but failing or inadequate septic systems may also be contributing to the problem.

Local partners include many of the dairy producers in the Ragersville area, local crop consultants, Ohio State University Extension, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tuscarawas Soil and Water Conservation District, and others.

For more information, contact Alice McKenney or Scott Briggs at the Tuscarawas SWCD, 330-339-5584.

About the meeting. The meeting runs from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided (with preregistration). Call 330-339-5584 by March 15 to register.


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