Logjams may prove more costly

A logjam removal project to clean the Auglaize River may end up costing residents in Allen and Auglaize counties more than initially expected, a county official says.
A joint board of supervisors over the logjam removal project has tentatively removed the 18-mile portion that traverses through Putnam County, Commissioner John Bergman told members of the Auglaize County Farm Bureau Tuesday at their breakfast meeting at RJ’s Coffee Cup.
The most significant development from dropping that portion of the project could be that it would cause Auglaize County residents and other residents to pay additional money in the future, Bergman said.
“It could ultimately lead to double assessments down the road if there is still a problem,” Bergman said.
Dan Ellerbrock, a drainage specialist for the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District, confirmed the move by the joint board Tuesday during a telephone interview. Ellerbrock is spearheading the project that covers 76 miles of the Auglaize River running through Allen, Auglaize, Putnam, Shelby, Mercer and Van Wert counties. The Auglaize River eventually converges with the the Maumee River at Defiance.
“The board tentatively has voted not to include that 18-mile stretch and will stop at the county line,” Ellerbrock said.
Ellerbrock said the move is not set in concrete as members of joint board have asked for more information before making the decision final. Board members decided to make the tentative move due to complaints at a public meeting held in Fort Jennings Sept. 13. A public meeting was also held in Wapakoneta the same day.
“About four people spoke in favor of the project at the Fort Jennings meeting,” Ellerbrock said, “but there was 45 minutes to an hour of people speaking against the project.”
Ellerbrock said that the majority of the landowners challenged the need of removing the logjams due to the fact that there were not that many and that an assessment was not needed. Most said they could remove the logjams on their own.
Bergman said the assessments currently will cost approximately $25 per parcel.
“The biggest complaint we heard was that there was not enough out there in the Putnam county portion and that it was not a problem,” Ellerbrock said.
Board members plan to take canoes down the 18-mile stretch from the Allen-Putnam county border to the Auglaize River’s junction with the Ottawa River.
“We will go through and count the problem areas and take photographs,” Ellerbrock said.
The project is being proposed to help minimize flooding problems caused by the river to its watershed area. The projected cost of the project is approximately $1.2 million and also will cover Two Mile Creek at Buckland-Holden Road to its outlet on the river. Approximately 11,000 parcels and 30,000 landowners will be impacted by the project.