HANCOCK COUNTY -- There is a lot of junk turning up in a clean-up of the Blanchard River. Federal work crews have been hired to improve the river flow and reduce flooding.
News 11's Dick Berry of the Wood County Levis Commons Bureau has details in this EcoTrak 11 report.
It's probably the only positive thing to come out of the devastating Blanchard River flooding. Twelve men who were unemployed now get a weekly paycheck for removing debris from the banks of the river and its tributaries.
Some -- like Richard Woods -- are flood victims themselves. "We lost all our belongings. Set out for three days with no help, food nothing," he says.
Will the work end flooding? No.
Will it reduce chances of another disaster? Yes.
The junk clogged the river, forcing water over banks and into homes. It's hoped the clean-up will improve river flow.
"There are places in the smaller tributaries where blockages and complete blockages increase flooding up to 25% in those individualized local areas," says Mike Schroeder of the Hancock County Regional Planning Commission.
All this is paid for through a federal grant Hancock County received after being declared a federal disaster area. Workers make $11.50 an hour and are hired for a six-month period.
After that, another crew will be hired. Worker Andrew Gerling tells News 11 "I love it. Fun. Educational. Serves a good purpose for the community and everybody." It also gives them temporary employment, training them to find full-time employment.
There's still plenty of sweaty, backbreaking work to do. The Blanchard River stretches for thirty more miles through Hancock County. Plus, there's another thirty miles of tributaries.
The whole project could take as along as two years.