Lake Affect: An Autumn Update from the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation

The BLRC is actively pursuing many important issues that will have an impact across the Region. We’re pleased to provide an update on these initiatives and activities below. The progress the BLRC has made on these items would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and the Buckeye Lake Region Community Foundation.

STORM WATER COMMITTEE:  Infrastructure behind the dam is lacking and leads to flooding. Without a comprehensive storm water mitigation plan this will only get worse, not better. Fixing this issue is complicated by the fact that the dam runs through two counties, two townships and a village. The BLRC is tasked with bringing together diverse governance bodies for the Greater Good.  The BLRC facilitated a meeting of officials from those entities, ODOT, soil & water groups and outside legal counsel. The initial steps are now being taken to create a multi-county plan to address storm water control for the 4+mile dam. Much work is to be done, but the first steps have been taken in this critical project.

LOGJAMS: Storm water may not be directed into the lake so it appears that the only body of water that can accommodate a Storm Water District is the South Fork of the Licking River. However, logjams north of Rt 40 and east of the industrial park on the South Fork of the Licking River are a major impediment to water flow. These logjams contribute to flooding in the Buckeye Lake Region, including at the I-70 / Rt. 79 interchange. Removing the jams will restore a freer-flowing river that should benefit all. BLRC is working with watershed groups, elected officials and the Army Corp of Engineers to find a solution.  These logjams must be removed for the good of the entire Region.

GRANT RESEARCH and ADMINISTRATION: To find and pursue grant for projects throughout the Buckeye Lake Region the BLRC has secured the services of David Hansen as “Director of Public Development”. David is assisted by Nicole Gieseler, Grant Administration Manager. Together they are working to secure the funds to support region projects.

QUEEN OF THE LAKE III TOUR BOAT: The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society has been restoring an 88’ Sternwheeler which will cruise the waters of Buckeye Lake, the latest chapter in the long history of beautiful tour boats on the lake. The BLRC made a financial contribution to the restoration and has assembled a group of technical experts to assist in the project. Passenger service is anticipated to begin in 2020. You will find more information about the QL III and the Historical Society at

FEEDER CHANNEL: Much of the water, silt and algae in Buckeye Lake enters through the Feeder Channel which runs east from near Kirkersville, entering the lake near Lieb’s Island. Hand-dug in the 1800’s to connect the Licking River to the lake as a fresh water source, it has not been maintained for many years. ODNR is remediating the end closest to the lake by making the banks less likely to erode and adding “silt traps” where access allows. The BLRC successfully applied for $400,000 in the Ohio Capitol Budget to expand that work. Additionally, ODNR is funding a comprehensive study to find a fix for the entire length of the Feeder Channel. That study is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

PERRY COUNTY LAKE ACCESS: BLRC applied for funds from the state capitol budget and $500,000 in re-appropriations was awarded to this project. The project will be in phases, with “phase one”, a park with a launch area for canoes and kayaks, scheduled to open in Spring 2020. “Phase Two” has been submitted to Speaker of the House Larry Householder for his input. Phase two will be contiguous to phase one and includes a larger park, the extension of a waterside…over …promenade and launch ramps for powerboats. (Dredging is key to the success of this project). As part of an overall vision for the Thornport area, Thorn Twp. Trustees have approval from the Perry County Engineer on a design to make the roads much safer, especially the intersection of Rt.13, Zion Rd and Honey Creek Rd.  Thorn Township is leading this project with the support of the BLRC.

DREDGING: A boost to dredge plans came with the ODNR purchase of over 60 acres south of Thornville. The archeological survey results should be complete as of this writing and it is hoped that ODNR is able to utilize this site in 2020. The dredges on Buckeye Lake were built in the 1960’s and well past their serviceable life. The BLRC has been assured that Buckeye Lake will receive a new dredge in the next Ohio Capitol Budget which puts it here in 2021 at the earliest, and more likely 2022. More dredge sites to the west are needed. If you know of a plot of available open land over 5 acres and within a mile of the lake shore please contact

COMMUNITY PIER: envisioned as a 300’-long pier at North Shore Park for fishing or relaxing, public transient docking and an amenity at the lakeward end. BLRC secured $400,000 in the state capitol budget for this project and our grant administrator hopes to use that as matching funds to secure further grants. Initial studies and plans may soon begin.

HOSPITALITY STUDY: As part of the BLRC Strategic Plan, we will initiate and complete this study in 2019. Including both market analysis and design concepts of multiple locations (with landowner blessing) within the Buckeye Lake Region, it will determine what the real need is for hotel rooms and visitor amenities, what makes sense and where is best fits. An important incubator for discussion and manageable development, such a study will cost in excess of $60,000.

GREEN LASER “GOOSEBUSTERS” Canada geese are a serious public health issue. One of the most engaging posts on the BLRC Facebook page has been about using green lasers to scare away the geese. It works! Please help improve the Buckeye Lake Region Quality of Life by purchasing a green laser and making the geese feel unwelcome.

CHAMPIONS OF THE LAKE: This is the designation for the highest level of business donors to the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation. We are pleased to welcome 4 new “Champions of the Lake”: Waste Away/Affordable Portables, Coconis Furniture, Ameriprise Financial and The Energy Co-op. Please support the businesses that support your community!

These are but a few of the projects that the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation is working on every day.   While grants may pay for projects, day-to-day expenses are supported by the generous donations of individuals and businesses in the Region. To see who is funding this important initiative, to donate to the BLRC or to learn more about what BLRC is doing, please visit

You are always welcome to email Mike Fornataro, BLRC Executive Director, at