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ODNR has permit to dredge Lake Logan, but hasn’t started yet

A view of the Duck Creek branch of Lake Logan.

Posted on February 27, 2023

A dredging project for Lake Logan that has been in the works for more than a year appears to be closer to reality, but is still not underway or scheduled.

When The Logan Daily News contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in December 2021 to inquire about dredging plans for the lake, an agency official said that ODNR did see evidence of “a significant build-up of organic material at the eastern end of Lake Logan,” and that it was preparing to launch a dredging project there at some unspecified future date.

Since then the agency has taken steps to move forward with those plans, which include obtaining a necessary permit from the Ohio EPA and leasing a piece of land where silt and other material removed from the lake can be deposited. On Wednesday, however, Stephanie O’Grady, a media and outreach specialist with ODNR, reported in response to questions from The Logan Daily News that the dredging project had not yet begun, and has no firm start date.

Dredging is the mechanical removal of sand, silt, and other accumulated sediments from the bottoms, banks, and sides of a body of water. It is important because if sedimentation is allowed to go on unchecked, it can decrease the depth of a lake, which can make it less usable for boats, and also raise its temperature, making it less able to sustain healthy life.

Public records obtained by a Hocking County citizen and shared with The Logan Daily News indicate that after ODNR began some initial work at Lake Logan late last year to prepare for dredging, the Ohio EPA received a complaint alleging that sediment was being discharged into surface waters.

Upon investigating, the agency reported in a letter to ODNR, it “documented earth disturbance that meets the definition of construction activity.” OEPA and ODNR officials then met on Dec. 13 to discuss “the project and associated regulatory requirements.” The result was that OEPA imposed additional regulatory safeguards for the dredging project, in the form of a requirement that water discharged from the site be monitored daily for turbidity. This is a term for cloudiness or murkiness of water, caused by particles of clay, silt, organic material or other substances that are dissolved or suspended in it.

Following the inter-agency meeting, OEPA apparently green-lighted the dredging with the added monitoring requirement. Anthony Chenault, public information officer for Ohio EPA, told The Logan Daily News this week that on Jan. 18 the agency issued a construction storm water permit for dredging activities at Lake Logan. “Ohio EPA staff met with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and conducted onsite inspections to ensure compliance,” Chenault added. “Ohio EPA continues to monitor and inspect the site.”

A letter from OEPA to ODNR regarding the issuance of the permit indicates that it will expire on April 22.

When The Logan Daily News communicated with ODNR Dredge Administrator Thomas A. Grabow in 2021, one of the other steps that still needed to be taken before dredging could begin was the securing of a piece of land where the material removed from the lake could be deposited, called a “dredge material relocation area” or DMRA.

At that time Grabow reported that ODNR was in the process of leasing a DMRA site.

“Once an agreement has been reached, staff will survey the property and perform necessary environmental and cultural reviews,” the official said then. “Once that process is complete, ODNR can begin to construct dredge material holding cells. Staff estimate that the site could hold up to 150,000 cubic yards of dredge material. Once the site is ready, ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft will locate a dredge at the lake and begin dredging.”

According to OEPA documents, dredged material from the lake will be conveyed through a pipe to a DMRA on Blum Road. After the dredge material settles out, the separated liquid flows through a sediment pond with baffles to catch the sediment, before being discharged into Clear Fork Creek. This discharged water will be required to meet state water quality standards.

It is this discharged water that OEPA has required to be monitored daily for turbidity, with samples being assigned a number rating from zero (clear) to four (heavy solids).

OEPA’s other recommendations for ODNR include developing and implementing a stormwater pollution prevention plan for the project, and including a dewatering procedure in their plans in case the discharge does become turbid.

The agency’s lease with a Hocking County landowner indicates it will be leasing around 15 acres for the DMRA. A map of the dredge area ndicates that ODNR expects to dredge approximately 17 acres of the lake, removing 2-1/2 feet of sediment, for a total of 69,400 cubic yards of sediment removed.

When asked in 2021 about what ODNR was doing or planned to do to inform the public about the situation at Lake Logan, Grabow said that “Once dredging commences at Lake Logan, staff will be able to share more information about the effectiveness of the dredge plan and share updates with lake users and community members.”



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