Flood problems and solutions are generally unique to each community based on layout of the watershed, topography, land use. Flooding is an issue that has impacted all communities within Hancock County. The community is at risk of flooding due to storm events of various shapes, sizes, and distributions. Part of the flooding is also related to the hydraulic characteristics of the Blanchard River and its tributaries. Due to the limited changes in elevation within the floodplain areas adjacent to the stream, when over-bank flooding occurs within the Blanchard River, the water spreads widely and is either stored or seeks alternate routes” to convey the flows. There are three primary reasons that the Blanchard River tends to flood in Findlay and Hancock County. The tributaries to the Blanchard River generally have a greater slope than the Blanchard River through Findlay. This causes the velocity of the water to decrease as it flows through Findlay, which contributes to flood conditions as the water does not flow away from the City as quickly as it is flowing into the City. Second, the Norfolk Southern Bridge west of Cory Street in Findlay acts as a pinch point during flooding events. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the flows from Eagle Creek and the Blanchard River as a whole reach their peak at the same time, exacerbating the flooding on the Blanchard.
Analyses were performed for several options involving the hydraulics of the Blanchard River. The recommended program incorporates some of these improvements in the form of floodplain bench widening, inline structure removals and modifications to a bridge identified as a flow constriction. The recommended program includes cost-effective and environmentally “permittable” measures that would provide meaningful benefit in flood-risk reduction.
The purpose of the technically feasible program of improvements is not to eliminate flooding, but to reduce the risk of potential impacts related to flooding. All parties associated with the recommended Flood-risk Reduction Program acknowledge that the suite of improvements will not prevent flooding resulting from all possible rainfall events within the watershed but will reduce the water surface elevation (WSE) under most events and reduce the risks for flood-related damages that may occur.
As political subdivisions under state of Ohio law, conservancy districts can form at the initiative of local landowners or communities for various purposes including: Solving water management problems, usually flooding. Conserving and developing water supplies.
Maumee Watershed Conservancy District is a legal subdivision of the State of Ohio created under Section 6101 of the ORC. The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District territory includes 15 counties: Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams and Wood. District projects consist of flood risk reduction streams and improved drainage projects.
A watershed is any area of land where surface water drains into a common body of water. If water from a neighborhood drains into a particular ditch, then that neighborhood shares a common watershed. Where ditches from several neighborhoods drain into a creek or brook, then all of those neighborhoods share a common watershed. Likewise, a watershed would include the geographical area of all creeks and brooks that drain into a river.
In our area of northwest Ohio, you might live within a watershed that is drained by Eagle creek or Riley creek or any number of other creeks. As those creeks empty into the Blanchard River, then you can say that you also live in the Blanchard River Watershed.
On a larger scale, you can claim that you live in the Maumee River watershed as the Blanchard flows into the Auglaize River, which then flows into the Maumee. Of course, the Maumee River flows into Lake Erie, which means that you are a part of the Great Lakes Watershed, too.
Upper Blanchard River Watershed Overview Map
Hancock County and the City of Findlay began working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 to develop a flood risk reduction plan that could be eligible for Federal funding. At that time, the MWCD was requested by the County and City to consider administration of a project(s) recommended by the Corps. MWCD responded they would administer a project when a formal plan of improvement (s) was presented.
The Corps’ final recommended plan, the Western Diversion of Eagle Creek, was presented in 2015 but was deemed unlikely to meet Federal funding requirements because of its negative cost benefit ratio and low community support. In early 2016, the County and City requested the assistance of MWCD to review the Corps recommendation and determine if there were other viable mitigation projects. The County and MWCD authorized a Memorandum of Agreement under which MWCD agreed to administer the review with the County providing funding through the.25% flood mitigation sales tax.
A Request for Qualifications was advertised in the Spring of 2016 which ultimately resulted in a contract with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. to review the Corps’ plan, look for ways to improve it and ultimately recommend a flood-risk reduction program that more appropriately met the needs of the community.
The term “100-year flood” is a misnomer and can be confusing. The correct terminology is a “1% annual chance exceedance event,” or 1% ACE event. This refers to the statistical probability of an event happening in a single year. A 1% (or greater) ACE event has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. A 1% ACE flood event actually could occur multiple times in one year.
The Eagle Creek basin is proposed to be formed by a three-sided perimeter embankment using the high ground to the south to complete the footprint. The average height of the embankment will be 15’ compared to the 40’ height at the Reservoir. The proposed Eagle Creek basin will appear similar to the Findlay Reservoir when in operation during a flood event, however it will be dry the majority of the time. The interior concept design within the basin is to be determined.
No. The term "high-risk" can be inferred to mean the dam is at high-risk of failure. This is not the case. The proposed dam is referred to as a Class I dam. This means there would be a high potential for damage to persons and property in the very unlikely scenario the dam was to fail. This classification means the dam must meet more stringent design requirements than dams in lower classifications to minimize the chance of failure. The proposed Eagle Creek structure is a Class I dam based on the fact it will hold more than 5,000-acre feet of water during a 100-year storm event.
For additional local reference, the City of Findlay water reservoirs are also considered Class I dams because of the amount of water they contain. They have operated successfully since 1948 and 1968 respectively. The embankment being considered for the Eagle Creek Basin will have a similar design as the reservoirs.
The current projected cost is $60 Million Dollars without contingency included. To date, $30 Million dollars has been received from the Ohio General Assembly. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been tasked with administration of the funds. Local and state leaders are working to secure the remaining funds needed to complete the project.
The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District will ultimately be the entity responsible for the basin and will complete at least annual inspections of the basin. The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District has discussed partnering with the City of Findlay to complete the regular maintenance such as mowing, removal of debris and weekly inspections. The annual operation and maintenance expenses are estimated at $100,000. The method for covering this expense has yet to be finalized but may include funding through grants, the City of Findlay, the County, or assessments.
Yes. While Eagle Creek only comprises 15% of the land area in the Blanchard River watershed upstream of Findlay, the Creek contributes 30% of the total flow expected during a 1% ACE in downtown Findlay (Blanchard - 8,500 CFS, Eagle - 4,550 CFS Lye Creek - 2,450 CFS). The topography in the Eagle Creek watershed is slightly steeper than the topography in the Upper Blanchard and Lye Creek watersheds which may explain the higher percentage. A Hydrology Report submitted by Stantec in November 2017 analyzed radar weather data accumulated over the past 20 years. The Report indicated even if the largest volume of a typical rainfall is not centered over the Eagle Creek watershed, the Basin would still be effective because of the broad distribution of rain over the entire Blanchard watershed.
Existing Conditions – 1% ACE Event
During a flood event the Eagle Creek basin could hold flood volumes of approximately 5,000 to 8,000-acre feet of water or 1.6 -2.6 billion gallons. For comparison the City of Findlay’s Reservoir 1 holds 1.4 billion gallons and Reservoir 2 holds 5 billion gallons.
Safety of the dam is of the utmost importance. Steps being taken to ensure safe performance include:
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