Removing logjams in Portage River could be costly

PEMBERVILLE -- Some Wood County farmers are losing their crops, and they want something done about it. It's happening to growers who live along the Portage River, which runs for 30 miles through Wood, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, reports News 11's Dick Berry.

The problem is that the Portage River sometimes overflows its banks, which makes for fallen trees, dirt and other debris. A debate has begun over just what is the proper solution.

On one side of that debate are residents, some of whom have petitioned Wood County Commissioners, asking them to remove the blockages.

"Get rid of the logjams so it keeps from flooding when we get the heavy rains," requests Alice Harrison, property owner.

The first meeting to discuss eliminating the logjams took place on Tuesday. If the project is undertaken, it will be one of the most overwhelming and challenging projects in Wood County history. Ten thousand land parcels are involved, affecting some 4,500 property owners.

On the other side of the debate are those who are charged with estimating the cost of the project.

"We want to make sure we get it right. When you go in and do a system this big, the people that participate in the drainage system deserve one that's cleaned and drained right, make sure we do it right for the public," said Tim Brown, Wood County Commissioner (R).

Some residents are fairly vocal when it comes to expressing their opinions on this issue.

"I own a farm at Longly Crossing, and it will come over the ditch banks there and we lose crops," said farmer LeRoy Bockbradner.

Property owners will be assessed for the clean-up, and workers from the Wood County Engineers Office will walk the entire length of the Portage River to come up with a price-tag.

"The noting of where the logjams are at. The noting of how to get the material out of there. How to get equipment in and out of the site. Then come up with a cost estimate to do all that," explained Ray Huber, Wood County engineer.

Next up is a public hearing.

Posted by KO