Federal funding in jeopardy for Ohio flood control plan

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — Officials in northwest Ohio may be forced to abandon a flood control project or pay for it with local money as federal funding for the plan is in jeopardy.

A review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in recent months found the project’s return on investment would be less than previously projected, which would make it ineligible for a 65 percent match in federal funds, The Blade reported (http://bit.ly/1ssAp5Q ).

But the Army Corps is using a new model that accounts for changes in flooding frequency, which could make it eligible for the funds.

Rainfall has been less frequent but more intense in recent years and land usage has changed in the past 20 to 25 years, making historic fates of flooding a potentially inaccurate gauge for what could happen in the future. The new approach uses data that shows a “clear and definite” change in the area, Army Corps officials said.

“What we are finding, especially in this area of the country, is that (past data) really isn’t reflective of what is actually happening,” said Mike Pniewski, an Army Corps project manager.

Officials have been studying ways to mitigate flood damage in the Findlay area. The project could cost about $80 million and would aim to reduce flooding along the Blanchard River.

Controlling flooding along the river is a priority in Findlay, where five major floods have caused millions of dollars in damage since 2007.


Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/

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