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Our Region’s Water: Protecting. Preserving. Promoting.

The Miami Conservancy District protects communities in Southwest Ohio from flooding, preserves the quality and quantity of water, and promotes the enjoyment of our waterways.


The Miami Conservancy District’s Annual Report to the Miami Valley


Lockington project improves flood protection system Single biggest project since dams’ completion Completing the Lockington Dam underseepage project not only improves the integrity of Lockington Dam, but also improves the integrity of the entire flood protection system. Each of the five dams in the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) flood protection system is important. But if there were ever a problem at Lockington, furthest upstream, it could create a domino effect on the flood protection system downstream. In November, MCD completed a grouting project at Lockington Dam to reduce underseepage (pressurized groundwater that can move under the dam, cause instability and lead to dam failure). The project is MCD’s single largest project since the dams were completed in 1922. The geology at Lockington Dam is unique in that the dam’s foundation rests on bedrock. The remainder of the dams rest on glacial material of sands and gravel. “We created two parallel, continuous grout walls about 1,300 feet on each side of the concrete

conduits,” says Kurt Rinehart, MCD chief engineer. “Our goal was to fill the voids in the fractured bedrock at the point of contact where the dam rests. Filling these voids reduces the pathway for the water to move under the dam and improves the dam’s stability.” More than 600 grout holes were needed for the project. The work at Lockington was part of the Dam Safety Initiative (DSI), a series of construction projects that began in 1999 to address vulnerabilities in the flood protection system. Underseepage remediation using relief wells, toe berms and toe drains was previously completed at Huffman (2000), Germantown (2002), Taylorsville (2004), and Lockington (2007). But Lockington’s unique geology required the extra step of grouting. A final underseepage project is yet to be completed at Englewood Dam. As part of the DSI, MCD previously reinforced the crest at three dams and completed concrete repair at several sites including Dayton, Hamilton and Troy.

Mark Rentschler named to MCD Board of Directors

Drill rigs bore through Lockington Dam, allowing grout to fill voids beneath the dam.

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Mark Rentschler joined the MCD Board of Directors in September to serve out his father’s unexpired term. Thomas B. Rentschler retired from the MCD Board of Directors after serving MCD for 29 years.

Rentschler is past president of the board of trustees of the Hamilton Boys and Girls Club and was named one of the top 25 Digital Marketers in the country by BtoB Magazine.

A lifelong Hamilton resident, Mark Rentschler is the marketing manager for Makino, Inc. of Mason. He is the fifth member of the Rentschler family to serve on the MCD Board of Directors.

Rentschler was appointed to serve as a member of the board of directors by the MCD Conservancy Court during its annual meeting September 22.

“The Rentschler family has given back to the community for generations,” says Butler County Judge Keith M. Spaeth, who is a member of the MCD Conservancy Court. “And Mark Rentschler continues that strong tradition.”

Rentschler’s term expires June 30, 2013. William Lukens of Troy and Gayle Price Jr. of Dayton serve as the other two MCD board members.


Protecting Database to map levees across US MCD serving as pilot local agency Levee systems, it seems, are the Rodney Dangerfield of infrastructure. They get no respect. There are maps that show almost every road in the country and databases of dams and bridges. But levees? Granted not everyone needs to know where every levee system is in the US, but even the people who do need to know, don’t. That’s because there’s no national levee inventory. But that’s all about to change. The Miami Conservancy District has volunteered to be the first local agency to add its levees to the National Levee Database (NLD). Once completed, the NLD will be a dynamic source of information that allows users to search location and condition of levee systems nationwide.

Paddlers enjoy floating down the Great Miami River by levees like this one that will soon be included in the National Levee Database.

“The NLD is the first critical step in understanding levee systems in the United States, including the benefits and potential risks they pose for communities in which they exist,” says Eric Halpin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers special assistant for dam and levee safety. The database, developed by the Army Corps of Engineers, was made publicly available in October 2011, but included only levees that are part of certain federal programs. Now, it’s being expanded to include information from states, and local agencies. California has volunteered to be the first state to include its levee information while MCD is the first local agency. “Levees are infrastructure just like roads, and knowing where they are and the condition they’re in is critical to flood protection and public safety,” says Kurt Rinehart, MCD’s chief engineer. The current NLD has information on approximately 14,700 miles of levees systems – less than 15 percent of the estimated 100,000 miles of levees nationwide.

Flood risk

FEMA reconsiders mapping approach MCD is working with a national committee to more accurately map the risk of flooding behind non-accredited levees. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated the Levee Analysis and Mapping Project (LAMP) in response to concerns from Congress and communities. FEMA had been treating non-accredited levees as not even existing. In December 2011, the proposed new approach was published in the Federal Register for a 45-day public review and comment period. “It had been an all or nothing situation,” says Kurt Rinehart, MCD chief engineer. “If your levee met eight required standards, the levee was accredited

and the areas landward of the levee mapped as protected from flooding. But if any of the eight criteria weren’t met, FEMA mapped the area as if the levee was non-existent.” Now with LAMP, FEMA will recognize the presence of any non-accredited levee and more accurately map the flood risk to land behind it. Rinehart was one of about 25 people invited to participate in a community roundtable in Washington, D.C. in 2011, to provide input on revising the procedures. There is no deadline set for a finalized process.


FEMA reviewing analysis of MCD levees If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approves reports submitted by MCD, all but three out of 23 levee sections in Warren, Butler and Miami counties should be accredited. Levee accreditation is part of FEMA’s work to update its flood insurance rate maps. Communities with levees must complete an in-depth analysis of their levees and submit proof that each levee protects to the 100-year flood level (a storm event that has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year). Each levee section must meet eight different criteria to be accredited. Cities with non-accredited levees may have to enforce floodplain regulations regarding development, and many homeowners may be required to purchase flood insurance. FEMA is developing new procedures for how to map areas behind non-accredited levees (See story on page 2). MCD submitted levee accreditation reports to FEMA for Butler and Warren county levees in 2010. In 2011, MCD submitted reports for its levees in Miami County. The three counties account for more than 25 miles of MCD’s 55 miles of levee.

MCD system handles record precipitation with room to spare

Flood Protection Revenues (2011 Actual)

Despite a record-setting year of precipitation, MCD’s flood protection system easily handled all of the potential floodwaters with room to spare.

n Interest ($8,195)

The watershed receives an average of about 39 inches of precipitation per year but saw 58.89 inches of precipitation in 2011 – a new record. Previously, the annual record was 53.91 inches set in 1990. While only one high-water event in 2010 was large enough to put all five MCD dams into storage at the same time, the dams simultaneously stored water seven times in 2011 – another record. Prior to 2011, MCD had seen concurrent storage at all five dams four times in one year. That record was first set in 1950 and then repeated in 1990 and 1996. Storage occurs when water rises higher than the concrete conduits in the dam and water begins to back up behind the dam. The flood protection system is designed to handle the 1913 flood plus another 40 percent. In 1913, between 9 and 11 inches of rain fell over the Great Miami River Watershed in a three-day period.

Readjustment of benefits

Property owners may see changes in assessments Property owners protected by the MCD flood protection system could see changes in their flood protection assessments in 2013. MCD is completing a “readjustment of benefits” on which assessments are based. An assessment is a charge included on a property owner’s tax bill. “Flood protection assessments are based on property tax values and what the risk of flooding would be without flood protection,” says Janet Bly, MCD general manager. “Property values change over time. Some go up and some go down. With this process, we assure that no one is paying more than their fair share.”

The last readjustment took place in 2004. The only people who pay for the flood protection system are property owners whose land flooded during the 1913 flood, as well as the municipalities and counties that flooded. When MCD processes the readjustment, property owners could see a change in their benefit for a variety of reasons, including property value change, improved calculation techniques for determining flood risk factors, and correction of errors. Property owners can go to MCD’s web site at to see their current assessment and anticipated new assessment.

n Assessments ($4,380,042) n Intergovernmental ($14,355) n Other ($63,965) n Fees & Charges ($171,129)

TOTAL ($4,637,686)


Preserving MCD supports aquifer-protecting projects While water quality projects rarely make the front page, this region’s buried valley aquifer provides drinking water to more than 1.6 million of us, making water quality big news. To help protect our region’s primary drinking water source, each year Miami Conservancy District’s Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict (APS) provides funding assistance to counties, cities and agencies for projects that protect the aquifer.

Two rain gardens, similar to this one, will be built at the amphitheater parking lot in Preble County.

Three Valley Conservation Trust received $32,500 in matching funds to help secure a $153,000 Federal Land Protection Program grant. With these funds, the trust acquired a parcel of land over the buried valley aquifer and an easement on 5,500 feet of streambank along the Twin Creek in Montgomery County.

Building rain gardens

In 2011, APS funds supported water protection projects in three major areas:

Preble County Historical Society received $5,000 to build two rain gardens - near the new amphitheater that will filter pollutants that run off a parking lot.

Protecting land over the aquifer

Sealing unused wells

City of Riverside received $35,000 to help acquire three properties along the Great Miami River. The project area, adjacent to the City of Dayton’s well field, will be used for public recreation. Riverside used the funds as a match to secure a $261,750 Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund grant.

Public Health-Dayton and Montgomery County received $35,000 to administer a cost-share program to seal 50 unused private wells. In Montgomery County, there are more than 10,000 households with private wells that are improperly sealed or unsealed, which can create a threat to groundwater and safety.

Greater Dayton Partners for the Environment

Combining forces to grow impact of local agencies In today’s economy, organizations are challenged to think differently, embrace new methods, and join forces to accomplish more with less. You see it in all kinds of places from regional dispatch centers to joint purchasing. Environmentally, one of the newest collaborations is the Greater Dayton Partners for the Environment (GDPE). “The goal of the GDPE is to support organizations that care about our natural resources and help them work together to gain funds that they couldn’t have attracted on their own,” says Sarah Hippensteel, executive director for GDPE and MCD manager for watershed partnerships. More than 60 organizations now participate. Together these groups are working to protect, preserve, and restore environmental and agricultural resources of the Great Miami River and Little Miami River watersheds. The collaboration was

launched as a two-year pilot in the spring of 2010, with funding contributions from MCD, The Dayton Foundation, the Greater Dayton Conservation Fund, and Five Rivers MetroParks. “We have created a network to share information, resources and training opportunities – specifically to help acquire additional funding,” says Hippensteel. A Mott Foundation grant subsidized training workshops led by nationally known leaders in the areas of fundraising, organizational improvement and board development. “I really learned a lot about how to seek private funding and believe that I can help my organization do this more effectively with the information I gained from the training,” says Randy Kirchner of the Middle Great Miami River Watershed Alliance.


APS projects paying off Sixteen years ago, nine counties’ progressive thinking lead to the creation of the Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict (APS), and with it, programs, projects and innovations that have helped protect our region’s drinking water. Periodically – including in 2011 – MCD meets with county commissioners in each of the nine counties to discuss highlights of the last few years. Some of those highlights are listed below. n Leveraged more than $1 million in state and federal funds to purchase land over the aquifer. n Provided spill response equipment to three rural volunteer fire associations. n Provided cost-share assistance to 200 rural homeowners to properly maintain septic systems. n Designed and installed systems to reduce rain water pollution and promote groundwater infiltration in Dayton, West Carrollton, Moraine, Brookville, Eaton, and West Milton. n Investigated high levels of nitrate and arsenic in the aquifer so MCD can help identify treatment and removal solutions. n Evaluated bacteria levels in our rivers and found bacteria levels are highest after heavy rains. n Helped establish the Dayton Region Water Roundtable, promoting sustainable and economically beneficial water uses.


Sensors help measure water quality MCD is field testing new technology that could better assess potential harmful algal blooms in rivers. YSI installed sensors at six MCD monitoring sites along the Great Miami River and its tributaries. The sensors monitor water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, and blue green algae. The sensors may help assess the potential for algal blooms by detecting increases in chlorophyll and cyanobacteria that might indicate a bloom is occurring. These blooms can be toxic to fish, animals, and people.

n Studied trends in groundwater levels near Dayton’s RiverScape fountains. Results confirmed the fountains are not depleting groundwater. n Cleaned up the Stillwater River and Great Miami River. Annual volunteer clean-up events help citizens take pride in the beautiful rivers we share. n Supported annual children’s water festivals, and a new “Splash!” water exhibit at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery to help children learn to care for our water resources. n Mentored nine communities in receiving national attention for implementing groundwaterfriendly practices. n Compiled an electronic library of nearly 1,000 water reports for community use. n Supported pharmaceutical drop-off events so unwanted drugs aren’t flushed down the toilet. County fact sheets can be downloaded from MCD’s website at

The information provided by these sensors could be used in scientific studies, water quality assessments and also should be useful to recreation enthusiasts. “The sensors record information every two hours and that information is automatically fed to YSI’s EcoNet website ( in real time. MCD uses the data as an indicator of overall water quality,” says Mike Ekberg, MCD manager of water resources. The sensors have been in place since February 2011. They were provided and installed at no charge to MCD. YSI, based in Yellow Springs, Ohio, develops and manufactures sensors, instruments, software, and other products for environmental water quality monitoring and testing.

Mark your calendar n Making Water Connections 2012 Water Technology Innovation Cluster Conference May 22-23, 2012

Aquifer Preservation Revenues (2011 Actual) n Assessments ($901,675) n Other ($63,500) n Interest ($1,972)

TOTAL ($967,147)


Promoting Park lands leased to Five Rivers Check out MCD’s latest version of the Great Miami River Water Trail map. Learn how to stay safe while enjoying nature, kayaking and canoeing on the river. MCD also has maps for the Stillwater and Mad rivers. All three rivers are designated state water trails by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The maps are free! Download online at Signs like the one below are being installed at many of the public access points listed on the maps. MCD_WaterTrailSignFNL-GMR.pdf










Forty-five years may not yet be the golden anniversary, but clearly it’s a milestone of a match with real staying power. MCD and Five Rivers MetroParks are renewing agreements that began in 1967. That’s the year that MCD issued its first lease to the then four-year-old park district to manage land at MCD’s flood protection dams. After the Great Flood of 1913, Arthur Morgan, chief engineer of MCD’s flood protection system, envisioned more than Great Miami River cities free of devastating floods. He was a conservationist who valued the dual purpose each dam’s retarding basin would have: Holding back floodwaters and providing a permanent place for citizens to enjoy nature and a family picnic. MCD planted hundreds of thousands of trees and enlisted the Civilian Conservation Corps and National Youth Administration to build picnic shelters and trails after the dams were completed. “As more and more people used the park lands, it became clear it would be best if the land could be managed by an organization that could focus its full attention on enhancing the community’s access to the property,” says Janet Bly, MCD general manager.

3:47:46 PM

Great Miami River Water Trail

MCD leaders supported the formation of the Montgomery County Park District in 1963, now known as Five Rivers MetroParks.


“In the 1960s, MetroParks was in the launching stage,” says Becky Benná, executive director of Five Rivers MetroParks. “The original MCD reserves at Englewood, Germantown, Huffman and Taylorsville were key ingredients to our early success, having already been developed as park lands. It was – and still is – a natural fit for us to take the role of connecting people to these beautiful floodplains, rolling hills, and woodlands.” Today, MetroParks maintains land at four of the five flood protection dams (Lockington Dam is not within MetroPark’s jurisdiction), provides programming, and patrols the parks to foster public use and safe enjoyment of the properties. MCD leases more than 3,100 acres to MetroParks. Germantown Dam and Twin Creek: 731 acres Englewood Dam and Pigeye: 952 acres Taylorsville Dam: 1,065 acres Huffman Dam: 366 acres “Leasing MCD lands to Five Rivers MetroParks has always been a win-win,” Bly says. “Reserving the lands at the dams is critical to their flood protection function, and the parks maintained by Five Rivers MetroParks are such a great asset to our communities. MetroParks has been a valued partner in managing the land at the dams these past 45 years. We hope to continue and enhance our relationship in the future.” In Case of Emergency Call 911

River Rides open up ‘backyard’ Sometimes people don’t realize how much fun they have available in their own “backyard.” That’s what more than 300 cyclists discovered during the 2011 Drive Less, Live More River Rides. MCD worked with the cities of Miamisburg, Franklin and Dayton to promote the cities and the Great Miami River Trail that runs through them. “We had so many people approach us during the ride to say ‘thank you’ for putting the ride together,” says Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley. “Some people were surprised by what they learned at each stop while others didn’t realize all of the cool things they had right in their own backyard.”

About 80 people participated in the ride in Miamisburg and Franklin, while nearly 250 people participated in the Dayton River Ride. The Dayton ride featured several historical stops including Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, Carillon Park and the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood. Drive Less, Live More is a campaign that encourages drivers to walk, bike, carpool or take the bus instead of driving their cars. The campaign featured several summer events including Bike to Work Day, the Miami Valley Cycling Summit, RTA’s Dump the Pump, Bike to the Dragons games, and the River Ride.


Great Miami River Recreation Trail Riders along the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton will have to sacrifice a little to gain a lot. About 6 miles of the trail on both sides of the river between Helena Street and Stewart Street will be repaved in late summer. “It’s going to be a whole lot smoother when it’s done, but riders will have to put up with some inconvenience to get there,” says Kurt Rinehart, MCD chief engineer. “We’ll keep one side of the trail open but close the other side for construction.” Construction is expected to begin in August or September and take up to two months to complete. The project is being funded by Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Surface Transportation Program funds. ODOT will administer the grant and oversee construction.

Improved Access In 2011, MCD completed two projects to improve access to the trails. The first project was a new access ramp at Carillon Park along the Great Miami River Trail in Dayton. “We worked with the City of Dayton to get this project done in time for the

City of Dayton’s River Ride last July,” says Jamie Johnson, MCD’s field operations manager. “It just made sense. The trail goes right by Carillon and there was even a sign directing riders into the park, but there was no access to the park from the trail. It was a simple fix.”

Mark your calendar

MCD also constructed a new access ramp from the Findlay Street/Monument Avenue intersection onto the Mad River Recreation Trail.

n Clean Sweep of the

Miamisburg Trail Parking It’s easier for trail users in Miamisburg to park and ride now that MCD and the city worked to create a parking lane on the west side of Old Main Street south of Mound Avenue. An existing set of bike stairs provides trail users access from the new parking spaces to the trail.

Cycling Outreach MCD supports the efforts of organizations and communities in raising awareness of the power of cycling—from health benefits to transportation. In 2011, MCD began serving on the City of Dayton’s Bike/Walk Committee. About 20 organizations are represented on the committee, whose goal is to grow cycling and walking in the city. The committee functions as the city’s sounding board for current efforts, and new ideas for projects and programs regarding cycling and walking in the City of Dayton.

Passion for river inspires clean up MCD is passionate about our rivers. Fortunately, so are hundreds of others in the Great Miami River Watershed. Each year, volunteers gather to clean the Great Miami River from Indian Lake to the Ohio River. Below are 2011 results by MCD and the overall effort.

30/2,260/25 – The number of MCD staff who participated in the Clean Sweep – Great Miami River Cleanup, and pounds of trash and number of tires, respectively, collected by staff along the river corridor between Carillon Park and West Carrollton.

769/34,000/300 – The number of total volunteers in the MCD staff members come ashore with a canoe filled with everything from tires to a sandbox

Clean Sweep, total pounds of trash collected and total tires collected from the Great Miami River between Indian Lake and the Ohio River.

n River Summit Thursday, March 29 1700 Patterson Blvd., Dayton

Great Miami River May 5 (south section) July 20 and 21 (north section)

n River Ride Saturday, June 16 Miamisburg to Franklin

n 2nd annual Tour de Dayton bike ride, co-sponsored by Tour de Dayton and City of Dayton Saturday, August 4 Touring northeast Dayton

River Corridor Improvement Revenues (2011 Actual) n Assessments ($248,735) n Intergovernmental ($191,431) n Other ($5,984) n Interest ($3,057)

TOTAL ($449,207)


A message from the general manager

Conservancy Court MCD is governed by a Conservancy Court comprised of one common pleas court judge from each of the counties within the Conservancy District boundaries. The Conservancy Court appoints MCD’s Board of Directors and Board of Appraisers, and approves their plans.

Honorable Barbara P. Gorman, Presiding Judge Montgomery County Honorable Keith M. Spaeth Butler County Honorable Richard J. O’Neill Clark County Honorable Stephen A. Wolaver Greene County Honorable Robert P. Ruehlman Hamilton County Honorable W. McGregor Dixon Jr. Miami County Honorable David N. Abruzzo Preble County Honorable James F. Stevenson Shelby County

Infrastructure Approach friends at your next social gathering and tell them that you want to discuss “infrastructure.” I suspect you will soon find yourself standing alone, having a conversation with yourself. Infrastructure is a boring word. It’s vague; it has too many letters; and it just doesn’t catch our interest.

MCD works hard to maintain and upgrade our region’s flood protection infrastructure; the dams, levees, floodwalls, flood gates, and pump stations that work together to reduce the risk of flooding to people and property in the Miami Valley. The MCD system is unique in many ways, including the high level of protection it offers, the environmental and recreational opportunities it provides, and the fact that it is almost 100 percent locally funded.

The MCD system is unique in many ways, including the high level of protection it offers, the environmental and recreational opportunities it provides, and the fact that it is almost 100 percent locally funded.

Public infrastructure may seem boring, but it is important. If you don’t pay attention to it, it crumbles and fails, harming people, the environment, and the economy. Some people think infrastructure is only associated with transportation. Transportation systems like railroads, highways and bridges are critical components of infrastructure. But there is also infrastructure related to public facilities, energy, communications, and water – including flood protection.

For 90 years, the system has performed so well that you don’t hear much about it. Perhaps you take it for granted. But be assured that your local dollars are well invested in this infrastructure that is so vital to the public health, safety, quality of life, and economy of our region. Janet M. Bly General Manager

Honorable Neal Bronson Warren County

Breaking news…

Board of Directors

William E. Lukens President

Gayle B. Price, Jr. Vice President

Groundwater Guardian Green Sites Nine organizations in the Great Miami River Watershed recently received Groundwater Guardian Green Site designation by the National Groundwater Foundation. They are: n Brukner Nature Center in Troy n Edgewood High School in Trenton n Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton

Mark G. Rentschler Member

n Forest Hills Cemetery in Piqua n Franklin-Clearcreek Water Treatment Plant in Franklin

Board of Appraisers David K. Galbreath, Jr. Realtor, Troy, OH

The Groundwater Guardian Green Site program honors those who practice good groundwater and environmental stewardship. The Groundwater Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Lincoln, Nebraska, works to educate and motivate the public to care about and for groundwater.

Holes Creek Construction of a floodwall at Holes Creek in West Carrollton is scheduled for this summer. MCD is the local sponsor of the project to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Once completed, MCD will own and maintain the project.

n Greene County Spring Valley Prairie in Xenia

Robert Harris Appraiser, Dayton, OH

n Marianist Environmental Education Center in Dayton

James E. Sherron Attorney, Middletown, OH

n Nelson C. and Betty D. Borchers Nature Preserve in Tipp City n Preble County Historical Society in Eaton


To contact us… By phone: (937) 223-1271 By fax: (937) 223-4730 By e-mail: Internet:

2012 The Deed  

The Miami Conservancy District's Annual Report to the Miami Valley.

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