A number of members of the Ottawa Township, Ohio community are seeking to modify a proposed flood control measure to minimize damaged property. We all recognize that the Corps of Engineers has almost unfettered discretion to do as the Corps desires when it comes to the waterways. This is part of the original delegation of the power to control the waterways which is part of our national Constitution with regard to commerce and navigability. Yet, it is hard to imagine that if a better plan can be shown than that proposed by the Corps, the Corps would not at least take a long look at an alternative proposal which creates less harm to the community. This may be one of the rare circumstances where even the federal courts would review the process. Please note the decision of the Federal Court in Wisconsin this blog wrote about this week.
“Why can’t we have a plan for the entire watershed, that takes into account other communities and the rural community?” Siefker said. “Instead, we just have plans at these two pinch points, Findlay and Ottawa. Of course, they want a diversion channel to route the high water quickly around their communities, but what about us downstream? We need to work together on a plan that benefits everyone.”
The corps’ plan for Findlay includes a 9.4-mile Eagle Creek diversion channel. Eagle Creek drains into the Blanchard River at Findlay, and the intent of the diversion channel is to route some of the creek’s floodwater away from the city, and slow its re-entry into the river.
While construction of any flood-control measure in Findlay isn’t expected until the year 2022, construction in Ottawa could begin soon.
The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District voted in August 2014 to take over leadership of Ottawa’s flood-control project at the request of both Ottawa Council and the Blanchard River Flood Mitigation Coalition. The coalition was formed in 2007 to find solutions to flooding in Ottawa .
The conservancy district has the authority of eminent domain, which means it can take property from landowners for a public use. Landowners must be paid a fair price for the property taken.
The conservancy district will most likely manage the construction of flood-control projects for Findlay, too.”