ODNR photo
ODNR photo
A major renovation is planned for the Rocky Fork Lake dam.

Jeremy Wenner, chief engineer of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Engineering, said recently that the plans are for the work to begin by the spring of 2023, weather permitting.

In an interview with Larry Moore of Ohio Outdoor News, Wenner said "ODNR maintains over 100 dams across the state. Our program ensures the dams are safe and able to support the recreation, wildlife and natural areas that surround them.

"We start with the Class I dams, which have the most risk for lives and downstream property damage to ensure safety," Wenner said.

As reported earlier this month by The Highland County Press, Highland County Engineer Chris Fauber informed commissioners Jeff Duncan, Terry Britton and David Daniels that he has been notified of upcoming work at the Rocky Fork Lake dam by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which may lead to his office working on a Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) with contractors.

“I got a call yesterday (July 12) from a gentleman with Beaver Construction,” Fauber said at the July 13 commission meeting. “They've going to actually do some work on the dam at the lake starting this fall, probably about 24 months’ worth of work, and he was wanting to set up potentially a RUMA on McCoppin Mill.

“I just wanted to give you a heads up and let you know that's coming, and there will be work on down there. That’s all I know at this time.”

Classification of dams is defined in the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), Section 1501:21-13-01. Dams which are exempt from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources jurisdiction are defined in Ohio Revised Code, Section 1521.06. The classification system divides dams which are under the jurisdiction of the Division into four classes, Class I, II, III and IV.

Classification of dams is necessary to provide proper design criteria and to ensure adequate safety factors for dams according to the potential for downstream damage should the dam fail. Please note that the classification is not an indication of the condition of a dam, according to ODNR.

The following parameters are the governing criteria for the classification:
1. Height of dam;
2. Storage volume; and
3. Potential downstream hazard.

The classification criteria are outlined in OAC Rule 1501:21- 13-01 and summarized in the following list:

Height of dam

Class I – greater than 60 feet;
Class II – greater than 40 feet;
Class III – greater than 25 feet; and
Class IV – less than or equal to 25 feet.

The Rocky Fork Lake dam is 74 feet in height and 380 feet in length. It was built in the early 1950s and has been in use since the spring of 1953.

Popular with boaters and water skiers, the 2,080-acre lake offers unlimited horsepower boating along with a marina, docks and multiple boat ramps.

For more about Ohio dams, visit https://ohiodnr.gov/static/documents/water/dam-safety/fctsht29_19%20Classification%20of%20Stuctures.pdf.