Thursday, January 13th, 2011
By Nancy Allen
Spillway work planned
Wabash River
  FORT RECOVERY - Safety work on the spillway at the State Line Road dam southwest of Fort Recovery is on the agenda for the Wabash River Conservancy District this year.
Conservancy President Wally Broering said the work will entail removing 10 to 11 inches of dirt from the top of the spillway. A cost estimate will be obtained in the next several months and the work should be completed this summer, he said.
"We don't anticipate it's going to be a real expensive project or take too long to do," Broering said Wednesday. "It may take two days to do the work once we start."
The Wabash River has three earthen flood control dams built in the early 1960s. The first is south of Eldora Speedway in Darke County, the only one to contain water year-round; the second is on Watkins Road between Township Line and Post roads in Mercer County; and the third is off the east side of State Line Road south of Barger Road in Mercer County. The conservancy maintains the dams.
Broering said ODNR determined the work needed done on the State Line Road dam after an inspector viewed the dams last April. The inspector also said the conservancy needs to have an Operation Maintenance and Inspection (OMI) manual and an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) manual drawn up for each of the three dams, and a hydrologic and hydraulic study done on the State Line Road dam, Broering said.
Last year the conservancy spent $4,000 to have a Columbus engineering firm create the manuals for the dam near Eldora Speedway and the one on Watkins Road, and another $3,000 for the hydrologic/hydraulic study on the State Line Road dam, Broering said. The conservancy did not have enough funds to have OMI and EAP manuals done for the State Line Road dam, but plans to have it done this year, he said.
Broering said the hydrologic/hydraulic study and lowering the spillway were required as safety measures because there is a summer cottage about 700 feet downstream from the State Line Road dam. The OMI and EAP manuals for each structure would have needed to be completed regardless, he said.
Rodney Tornes, program manager of ODNR's Dam Safety Program, said dams are classified based on different criteria, including the height, amount of water it can safely store and what the downstream impacts would be if a dam fails. A class 1 dam is required to meet the most stringent design requirements. The State Line Road dam is a class 1 dam due to the nearby cottage, he said.
"Public safety downstream is our main concern," Tornes said. "By lowering the elevation of the spillway, the water does not build up as high behind the dam before the water starts to pass through the spillway."
The Wabash River Conservancy District board, which met for its quarterly meeting Saturday, approved an appropriations resolution for 2011 totaling $30,762, reported conservancy Secretary Lil Knapke. Predicted income in 2011 will come from $27,700 in landowner assessments and a $3,062 carryover from 2010.
The appropriations allocate expenditures of $22,762 for special projects, which include the safety work on the State Line Road dam, riprap, machine hire, spraying for weeds and other river maintenance; $5,000 for meeting expenses and paying board members; and $3,000 for routine labor such as brush removal, spot spraying for weeds and filling in groundhog holes.
Established in 1958, the conservancy assesses landowners along the river a fee to control agricultural and residential flooding in the Cranberry Prairie and Burkettsville areas.
The conservancy district board on Saturday also reorganized for 2011, re-electing the same officers. They are president Wally Broering, vice president Don Schoenlein, treasurer John Fortkamp and secretary Lil Knapke.
The board also set its regular quarterly meetings the second Saturday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the Gibson Township house in Fort Recovery, except for the next meeting, which will be April 16. The other two regular meetings will be held on July 9 and Oct. 8.
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