Officials discuss Blanchard River in Ottawa

First Posted: 1/10/2015

OTTAWA — Lawmakers, mayors and Ottawa residents came together Saturday to discuss the current status of flood control projects for the Blanchard River in Putnam County.

Though the river also flows into Hancock county, the focus of the meeting remained in Putnam.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said the project was able to get a special exception from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use state money for the Blanchard River project, he said. The study on the river is yet to be completed however.

Portman said he hopes the study will be finished in time for the next round of legislation to qualify for prime funding and authorization for the project, the Water Resources Bill. A completion date for that could be as late as some time in 2016.

“We finally got the preliminary report done after many years of pushing,” Portman said. “Now we are pushing them in terms of timing.”

Lynn Army, district manager of the Maumee Valley Conservancy District, said there are engineering firms studying the I-9 bridge and the other is studying the diversion channel.

“We are refining the Army Corps’ studies to come up with answers. We’ll see what they come up with, what they suggest, and then the designs will be forthcoming from there,” Army said.

The goal for the completion of this investigation is to be finished by the spring, Army said.

On a local level, Portman said in the new “Ag Bill” there are provisions to encourage conservation on a local level, to better allow locals to understand the importance of native grasses and trees to the area, allowing for optimal water absorption, as well as planting plants on hillsides to avoid erosion, to “deepen some of those channels,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta said he was a county commissioner in Wood County for six years, and has experience with agricultural erosion.

“You can’t put RipWrap across an entire area, so you’re going to have to really use more natural to be able to hold that back,” he said referring to solutions.