- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - The head of an agency overseeing a plan to reduce flooding along the Blanchard River in northwestern Ohio says a firsthand look at the area has helped him understand the problem.

Army Corps of Engineers commander Lt. Col. Karl Jansen of the Buffalo District met recently with farmers in the Findlay area to hear their concerns about the flooding plan.

The Army Corps is proposing to construct a nine-mile channel that would divert floodwater from a creek away from Findlay and build a levee to keep water from spilling over into the city.

The Hancock County Farm Bureau is against the idea because it believes the project will take up too much cropland and bring more flooding to the fields.

Farm bureau leaders have said that cleaning up the river will help reduce the flooding, but Army Corps has said that will not make much of a difference, The Courier newspaper (https://bit.ly/1uPt7lA) reported.

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

Government funds have been used already to buy flood-prone property and homes along the river, but city leaders say a long-term solution is needed.

The state gave Hancock and Putnam counties nearly $1 million this fall for flood control efforts. Most will go toward a flood control plan being developed by the Army Corps.

A final report is expected to be finished by the spring of 2016 and submitted to Congress, which must approve the funding. The project could cost up to $200 million.

Jansen met with farmers in November to discuss the project.

“Many questions were asked; some we had answers to and some we did not,” he said in a statement.

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