FORT LORAMIE – Water control issues around Lake Loramie were discussed at the 28th annual Loramie Watershed Association (LWA) meeting held recently at the Fort Loramie American Legion. The LWA represents approximately 700 area property owners who own 10 or more acres.
Speaking at the event were representatives from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) as well as the Shelby County Engineer.
Shelby County SWCD Director Jason Bruns said former Gov. John Kasich’s orders to label certain watersheds as being distressed was being re-evaluated and their agency was waiting on new rules with the new DeWine administration. He also said there was a new federal Farm Bill in the works, but there were more questions than answers at this time.
ODNR Southwest District Manager, Ohio State Parks and Watercraft Brian Miller said the new $5.8 million Lake Loramie spillway has several features that allow more refined control of water exiting the lake. He said a low volume valve can be opened to keep water in the Loramie Creek in the summer months as well as an 84-foot by 60-foot sluice gate with stop logs that can be removed to allow more water out of the lake. He also said the draw schedule will continue to be followed, although it may need revision in the future.
Also speaking was Jason Whitman, manager at Lake Loramie State Park, who said completed projects in 2018 included the addition of new full camper hookups, completion of the south shower house, construction of a new fitness trail and an ADA –compliant boat ramp.
Whitman also said 88,111 cubic yards of dredge material was removed from the lake in 2018, including the Koverman area off state Route 362. Dredging is expected to move east of that site in 2019. He added that dredge material from the Sieigel Bridge Dredge Material Retention Area will be available to public. However, a permit needs to be approved by the Lake Loramie park manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelby County Engineer Robert Geuy gave an overview of the county’s ditch maintenance program. Geuy said since 1952, the Ohio Revised Code had set up a legal procedure to have the state keep a regular schedule to keep ditches clear of debris, rather than property owners having to petition to have their ditches cleared when the need arises. He said for a ditch to come under county designation, a land owner has petition either the county commissioners or local soil and water conservation district. Geuy said once approved, all ditch maintenance contracts will have to have a 20 foot maintenance easement for county use and its own assessment fund to collect fees from the landowners.
Geuy said regular ditch maintenance work ensures that, as area industrial and housing development continues, water drainage maintenance will help prevent flooding in new areas.
LWA President Ken Seger told the group since the original goal to replace the lake’s spillway had been completed, the group will focus on the drainage issues and ditch maintenance.
Also in attendance was Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, 84 District, and Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.