Muskingum water district moves forward with plans


BOLIVAR, Ohio — Ohio University will assist the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) in development of dredging plans for the MWCD reservoirs.

In an agreement approved recently by the MWCD board of directors, graduate students and staff members from the Civil Engineering Department of the university will research the MWCD reservoirs to inventory all existing sediment information and prepare for future erosion modeling.

The Ohio University study, scheduled to be completed by early next year, is not expected to cost the MWCD more than $50,000.

“Ohio University previously assisted the MWCD with a sediment study at Charles Mill Reservoir in preparation for the dredging project that occurred there in the 1990s,” said Boris E. Slogar, MWCD chief engineer.

Dr. Tiao J. Chang from the university’s Civil Engineering Department will oversee this study on all 10 of the permanent MWCD reservoirs.

Reservoirs studied

The MWCD reservoirs to be studied are Atwood, Beach City, Charles Mill, Clendening, Leesville, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca, Tappan and Wills Creek.

Those are the reservoirs with permanent pools of water, or lakes, located behind dams as part of the flood-reduction system constructed more than 70 years ago in the Muskingum River Watershed.

Understanding sediment deposit characteristics and patterns at each reservoir will permit MWCD staff to plan and prioritize the sediment removal (or dredging) operations, Slogar said.

In addition, identifying the prominent sources of sediment from each reservoir’s watershed will permit future conservation program efforts to focus on problem areas and potentially partner with other agencies and groups for solutions.

Bolivar Dam

The MWCD also has taken a step toward finalizing an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for planned rehabilitation work at Bolivar Dam located in northern Tuscarawas and southern Stark counties.

MWCD board members have approved providing the USACE with a letter of intent that the MWCD will serve as the local non-federal cost-share sponsor for the work, which is expected to begin in 2012.

The project is estimated to cost more than $165 million, with the MWCD’s share to be nearly $38 million, according to the USACE.

The USACE is seeking final approval for the Project Partnership Agreement between the MWCD and the USACE for the project, and after the partnering document is approved by the Department of the Army, both agencies can sign it.

The work at Bolivar Dam — which primarily will involve the installation of barriers and other methods to address seepage at the dam — is the second of the priority projects to be conducted by the USACE in the system of dams and reservoirs in the MWCD region.

The USACE, which owns and operates the dams in the system, plans to award a contract later this year for work at Dover Dam in northern Tuscarawas County.

Priority projects

Other priority projects are planned at Beach City Dam in northern Tuscarawas County, Mohawk Dam in Coshocton County and Zoar Levee located behind Dover Dam in northern Tuscarawas County.

The priority projects are estimated to cost up to $660 million with the MWCD’s share expected to total up to $138.6 million, according to the USACE. 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 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving more than $8 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government. For more information about the MWCD, visit


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