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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2008

Update on Blanchard flooding is today

OTTAWA, Ohio - Area officials working to stop the flooding of the Blanchard River are to get an update today from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on that agency's progress.

Lt. Col. Daniel B. Snead, who was named commander of the Corps' Buffalo District in July, will be in Ottawa to discuss where things stand with a feasibility study under way for the Blanchard River Watershed.

While he's in town, Ottawa officials plan to present a $50,000 check to Colonel Snead - their first payment toward their share of the study. Findlay officials paid the Corps $50,000 in April when they signed a cost-share agreement with the Corps for the study.

Former Findlay Mayor Tony Iriti, who heads the Northwest Ohio Flood Mitigation Partnership, could not say what the total local share of the study will be.

"As we work though this, any work we do on the study is to be considered work in-kind," he said. "So the more work in-kind we do, the less physical cash you have to put out."

The Flood Mitigation Partnership also has invited Jill Techel, mayor of Napa, Calif., to attend today's meeting. She will talk about how her city is addressing flooding.

"They're about 50 percent through their projects whereas we're at the beginning," Mr. Iriti said. "They've had ongoing flooding problems, but in '95 or '96 they had a pretty significant flood, and that's when they said we've got to fix this. It really parallels this situation pretty closely."

Findlay and Ottawa have suffered flooding for decades, but both were submerged in August, 2007, in a flood considered second only to the flood of 1913.

The Flood Mitigation Partnership was subsequently created with funding from private corporations in the two counties and a $300,000 grant from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Its aim is to shorten the time it takes to begin building flood mitigation projects in the watershed by working with federal agencies.

Also at today's meeting, Ohio Northern University President Kendall Baker and his wife, Toby Baker, are to speak about their experience in Grand Forks, N.D., which sustained a severe flood in 1997 when Mr. Baker was president of the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks.

The meeting is at 3 p.m. at the Putnam County Educational Service Center, 124 Putnam Pkwy. in Ottawa.



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