Ash trees clog River Jam Project

Progress on the Auglaize County River Jam Project is moving slower than anticipated due to several thousand dead ash trees that need to be removed, according to Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart.

Reinhart provided an update on the project during the annual planning meeting of the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District on Wednesday.

“The contractor isn’t moving as fast as we anticipated, but only because of the ash trees,” Reinhart said. “We’re encountering about a hundred dead ash trees each mile and that’s slowing the progress of the contractor down mileage-wise.”

Reinhart said that the contractor they hired is performing his work as needed, but the dead ash trees that didn’t exist two years ago are creating a secondary problem they had not anticipated.

If the trees are not removed, they will eventually fall into the Auglaize River and cause future jams.

In the spring, the contractor will concentrate on cleaning out the logs and debris that are currently in the river, and then he’ll make a second pass down the river to concentrate solely on the ash trees.

As of now, barely an inch of rain could raise river water over the bank, where it can pick up sediment and fertilizers, as well as cause bank erosion.

The flooding river can also cause road closures.

“I had to close down Townline Lima Road no less than half a dozen times this past year due to flooding,” Reinhart said. “Thirty years ago, it took a major event to close that road. And just a couple weeks ago, it was closed for nearly a week because of flooding and the log jams there.”

For the full story, see the Jan. 9 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.