Council hears update on Miami River Dam Removal Project


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — Members of the Troy City Council heard an update on the Miami River Dam Removal Project from Donnie Knight of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday, Nov. 6.

“We’ll establish more natural conditions,” Knight said. “We’ll increase sediment transport through the removal of the dam; we’ll increase fish passage, and restore fish habitat throughout where the existing pool is.”

The project will include removal of the dam, he said, as well as changes to the path of the river between Treasure Island Park and the dam. The project will also include changes to the depth of the river in that area.

“Right now, the river is approximately three times wider than it would naturally would be,” Knight said.

Safety, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities and flood protection all factored into the decision to remove the low-head dam in Troy, Knight said.

“Low-head dams can be dangerous to users of the river,” he said. “In 2020, unfortunately two lives were lost and two were rescued on the low dam in Sidney.”

“We’re lucky to have exceptional warm water habitat, in all but the pools related to the Troy and Piqua dams, where it drops,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to increase water quality, both the physical and chemical aspects but also the biological life.”

The harbor at Treasure Island Park will remain a pool, Knight said, although it could also be adjusted to encourage water flow.

“All of the design options account for maintaining a pool at Treasure Island,” he said.

The most obvious change will be a gradual narrowing of the river.

“The biggest change really is the width of the river,” Knight said. “You’ll get a lot of depth. It will be varying depth; it’s not going to be a homogeneous pool like it is now currently, but that’s also going to improve water quality and it will improve fishing.”

“It won’t dry-up,” he said. “The same volume of water that’s coming down the river will be flowing through, it’s just going to be a little bit different.”

Most of the levy in Troy was built between 1988 and 1922, Knight said, and the dam was originally constructed in 1923. Plans for the Miami River Dam Removal Project started in 2016.

“By no means are we going to increase flooding, or decrease the capacity,” Knight said. “This is a known pinch point in the flood modeling for the Miami Conservancy District (MCD); it’s an area that they’re very concerned with.”

The dam removal project is being funded through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the state’s H2Ohio program. If needed, additional funding is also available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Knight said.

“We are currently looking at a potential of up to somewhere around $3.6 million to $3.8 million,” he said.

Several public meetings have already been held to discuss the project, Knight said.

“We’ve had eight public meetings, five of which were related to Troy,” he said. “Right now we’re currently doing monthly meetings with MCD, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the city of Troy, and the Ohio EPA; those will continue through the life of the project.”

In other business, council members also heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve the rezoning of 58.093 acres located at 3054 W. State route 55 to planned development-residential, as part of the Somerset Reserve subdivision. A public hearing on the rezoning will be held on Monday, Nov. 20.

Council members also approved a $30,254 contract with ESRI for the purchase of software for three years, and a four-year contract with Shipman, Dixon & Livingston, LPA for Prosecution Services at a cost not to exceed $195,000 per year.

Council members also approved a resolution authorizing a $403,542.89 contract with Miami County Public Health for 2024. Council member Samuel Pierce voted against the resolution.

Council members went on to approve a resolution authorizing 35 cent annual increases to the city’s stormwater utility fee for the years 2024 to 2028, and an agreement with Lostcreek Township to provide EMS services for the township from 2024 to 2027.

Council member Pierce voted against the stormwater increases; council members William Rozell and Kristie Marshall voted against the agreement with Lostcreek Township.

Council members also approved a resolution appointing Rena Gumerlock, Roberta Jacobs and John Terwilliger to the Assessment Equalization Board, and set a date of Tuesday, Nov. 28 for a meeting of that board regarding completion of the Oakmont Creek subdivision phase 5. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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