By Nancy Allen
Wabash River Conservancy District board members plan to meet with officials from the Ohio EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 26 to visit areas of the river that need cleared of sand and bank stabilization.
Conservancy members discussed the planned July visit Saturday during their quarterly meeting held at the Gibson Township House in Fort Recovery.
Conservancy members hope a few areas on the river are eligible for a nationwide permit, which the U.S. Army Corps would have to OK, so riprap (large rocks) can be placed on the river bank to stabilize it.
Conservancy President Wally Broering said the areas that will be looked at include a roughly 1.5-mile stretch of the river that flows under Burkettsville-St. Henry Road, state Route 118 and Dull Road that periodically fills in with sand, an area of the river that washed away on the Wayne Doner property where Beaver Creek empties into the river and some other isolated areas.
Jeff Boyles, an environmental specialist with the Ohio EPA, will be one of the officials who tours the river on July 26. "If it is a project that minimally affects the river, there is the potential they could apply for a nationwide permit for bank stabilization," Boyles said. "The OEPA has already approved nationwide permits if they meet certain conditions. They would only have to apply to the Army Corps and get their approval for a nationwide permit."
Boyles said he and an Army Corps official will look at the spots on the river and determine whether the conservancy is eligible for a nationwide permit. These permits can be OK'd by the Army Corps on a project by project basis.
Created in 1958, the conservancy district assesses property owners along the river a fee to pay for work designed to control agricultural and residential flooding in the Cranberry Prairie and Fort Recovery areas.
The conservancy currently does not possess the necessary Ohio EPA 401 water quality certification and Army Corps 404 maintenance permits required to do mechanized work in the river. When issued, these permits are good for five to 10 years.
Conservancy members plan to meet at 10 a.m. July 26 at dam No. 1, located at Eldora Speedway, five miles north of Rossburg, to tour the spots on the river with Boyles and an Army Corps official.