November 29, 2018

from BLA President, Tim Taylor


BLA Members,
Today I received information from Congressman Bill Johnson's office stating that $1 million in funding has been approved for a study of the Mahoning River watershed. This study will involve a new water control plan for Berlin Lake. Congratulations to all of you that have worked to get us to this point. We still have a ways to go but this shows we have their attention and things are moving in a positive direction. Please see the attached press release. (see below) I was also informed that the Corps will be scheduling a stakeholder meeting for some time in January for all concerned parties.
Regards, Tim Taylor
President
Berlin Lake Association P O Box 54 Deerfield, OH 44411
Phone: 330-232-5811

News Release (click here)
https://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1699803/1237-million-in-additional-fy-19-appropriations-for-areas-water-resource-infras/


****Regarding Berlin Lake Walking Trail Incident ****Email from our President, Tim Taylor

As you may have heard, there has been another terrible incident on our trail.  Of course we are angry and very saddened by this and are hoping that the perpetrator of these crimes is brought to justice and is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

This is also very difficult to report because it becomes a double edged sword.  History has shown us that when people associate a negative image to an area it begins to be avoided.  Unfortunately that is the worst thing that can happen to discourage the crime.  

We would like to encourage people to get out and continue to enjoy this beautiful trail!   I say this because I have seen posts telling people not to go to the trail until the perpetrator has been found. I realize this is a knee jerk, emotional reaction but when we give in to criminals, they win. Increased trail use is a much better deterrent. When trail use decreases it provides more opportunities for criminals so let's TAKE BACK THIS TRAIL!  These kinds of incidents can, and have, happened on several surrounding trails and as horrendous as they are, these are isolated incidents.

 

The Berlin Lake Association is proud to have  partnered with Portage Parks in getting this trail built and it has been a wonderful addition to this area for the past 7 years. We have seen great trail usage over the years from young to old, families, bird watchers, fishing enthusiasts, astronomy and hiking groups, all enjoying this beautiful trail.

We all need to be smart and always err on the side of safety wherever we are.  Stay alert, walk and bike in pairs or groups, stay aware of your surroundings, and trust your gut. Remember, you can help to keep the Berlin Lake Trail and all trails and areas safer by continuing to use them.




August 18, 2018

Email from BLA President, Tim Taylor


As information:

Below is an email response from Colonel Short, new commander of the USACE Pittsburgh District regarding the Berlin Lake water level and my response to him. I have invited Colonel Short and his staff to the Berlin Lake Association meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 6th at 7:00 pm at the Deerfield Town Hall. 

We need to keep the pressure on. The Corps seems to be using our water level issue to leverage congress for additional funding. 

 

From: Tim Taylor [mailto:tntaylor52@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 3:52 PM
To: Andrew.J.Short@usace.army.mil
Cc: 'Toy, R Mark MG USARMY CELRD (US)' <Richard.M.Toy@usace.army.mil>; 'Griffin, Kathy M CIV USARMY CELRP (US)' <Kathy.M.Griffin@usace.army.mil>; 'Gottlieb, Megan K CIV USARMY CELRP (US)' <Megan.K.Gottlieb@usace.army.mil>; 'Skornick, Evan M CIV USARMY CELRP (US)' <Evan.M.Skornick@usace.army.mil>; 'Opet, Charles A' <Charles.A.Opet@usace.army.mil>
Subject: FW: Berlin Reservoir

 

Colonel Short,

            In your email below you suggested a public meeting to provide an opportunity to discuss the Berlin Lake water level issue. You may remember that you and your staff have been invited to the next Berlin Lake Association meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 6th at 7:00 pm at the Deerfield Town Hall. You may have seen that I also issued an invitation to MG Mark Toy. This meeting, as all Berlin Lake Association meetings, will be open to the public.

            The people of this area need to better understand the forces that are driving the water drawdown decisions that have not been this aggressive in over 40 years. We need to better understand what has changed. In the past 20 years or so we could have a water level of around 1020’ for Labor Day. Now it seems we can expect no more than 1016’ for this timeframe if you continue a strict adherence to the Water Control Plan/ Guide Curve. 

Please consider our invitation and join us for a water level discussion on September 6th.

Thank you,

Tim Taylor

President

Berlin Lake Association

P O Box 54

Deerfield, OH 44411

Phone: 330-232-5811

Email: tntaylor52@gmail.com

 

From: "Short, Andrew J COL USARMY CELRP (US)"
Date: August 16, 2018 at 10:22:59 PM EDT
To: "Short, Andrew J COL USARMY CELRP (US)" <Andrew.J.Short@usace.army.mil>
Subject: Berlin Reservoir

Concerned Residents,

Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding Berlin Reservoir.  Having visited the area, I appreciate your passion towards ensuring the reservoir remains a vibrant resource for all to enjoy, and recognize the economic benefits that a longer recreation season would yield.  Berlin Reservoir is located in a beautiful part of Ohio and the region - your frustrations with the existing Water Control Plan are understandable.  

The Pittsburgh District is charged by Congress to meet flood risk management, water quality standards, and downstream flow augmentation with our network of 16 Reservoirs in the Upper Ohio River Valley.  These responsibilities exist to reduce the risk to lives, property, and the environment.  While historical data might show a higher pool longer into the year, I assure you that we are operating discharge from the reservoir according to its longstanding Water Control Plan.  Short term, any future deviation requests must adequately mitigate risks.  Our deviation attempt earlier this summer did not appropriately identify mitigation measures that would allow us to confidently adjust the pool level.

As most of you know, a permanent change to our Water Control Plan requires a more comprehensive analysis of the Mahoning River watershed, which would yield the data needed to make risk-informed decisions regarding any changes to operations.  We have been and will continue to request funds to conduct this comprehensive study, but are also aggressively pursuing efforts to find creative funding opportunities.  Do understand that our budget request competes for federal funding along with other national priorities.  Our current efforts include reaching out to other federal, state, local, and private agencies to explore opportunities for innovative partnerships that together could define and address watershed challenges in Northeast Ohio.  

Many have also inquired about operations at Lake Milton.  The Pittsburgh District does not have responsibility for this reservoir.  It operates as a flow-through lake and its discharge matches the volume which we release at Berlin Reservoir.  

I also recognize the importance of discussing this issue with those most impacted by our operations at Berlin Reservoir.  We are looking for the appropriate time to hold a public meeting to allow citizens in the region the opportunity to provide comments that will help inform our decisions.  

We in the Pittsburgh District humbly execute our responsibilities across the region each and every day.  I assure you that we are championing efforts to find solution that will allow us to both meet our authorized responsibilities and contribute to regional recreation opportunities.  My team and I look forward to communicating with and meeting you in the future as we continue to work together to find solutions.  

Respectfully,

COL Short


Colonel Andrew J. "Coby" Short
Commander, Pittsburgh District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

August 7, 2018

message from our BLA President.... we need your help!


        As you are all probably aware by now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) senior command has denied
the attached 2018 Berlin Lake Water Deviation Plan. While this plan was being considered, Corps Water Management was ordered to follow the original water management guide curve (established in the 1940’s and technically still in effect). That’s what is happening at this time. This Guide Curve mandates that Berlin Lake attain the winter pool water level during the latter part of August, well before Labor Day weekend. 

                All of us that attended the May 17th BLA meeting heard a message of hope from Col. Lloyd and his staff, that an extended higher water level was possible.  However, they never informed us that if the Water Deviation Plan was Not approved, we would return to a water management policy from the 40’s & 50’s.  We see no reason for the accelerated drawdown we’ve experienced this year nor have we received any communication from the USACE that would explain their actions. 

                In order to get the USACE to make any change, we need to have Congressional, State, County, Local and Government Agency support. We need to make as many levels of Government as possible, aware of our situation. We are only asking that the Corps limit the Berlin Lake Water Drawdown during the months of July and August. During this timeframe, we ask them to limit the drawdown to three foot and thereby enable a water level of between 1020 & 1021 until after Labor Day.

                I have attached a copy of the (click here) Berlin Lake Water Control Plan that shows the current Guide Curve and the deviation that was requested. This also shows average water levels over the first 30 years of operation (Green), the second 30 years of operation (Blue) and the past 10 years (Red), with a mark showing where we are today. As you can see, our request is very minimal in light of the average water level over the past 30 years.

                I have written a letter to Congressman Tim Ryan on behalf of the BLA regarding the water issue and I have asked him to meet with our organization to discuss the situation. To date I have not received a response from his office.

                I hope you all saw the front page article in the Record Courier on Sunday discussing the Berlin Lake water level as a follow up to their article from last October.  If you did not, you can check it out online at recordpub.com.

 

                We have been working to get a better water level at Berlin Lake now for over 15 years. This spring was the closest we have ever been to finding a solution. We can’t stop now or everything we have done to this point will be for naught. We need to join together and continue putting pressure on our Congressional Representatives and the USACE to work with us to make this small water level change. 

                I have attached an email (see below) I sent to the top commanders of the USACE in Washington, to let them know how disappointed we are with the current water drawdown and the failed Water Deviation Plan. Please feel free to contact these commanders and let them know how disappointed you are with the Corps.

                Also, please contact the following people and let them know how you feel about the current water situation at Berlin Lake:   

Congressman Tim Ryan via his web site or twitter:  https://timryan.house.gov/contact-me

Congressman Jim Renacci via his web site or twitter:  https://renacci.house.gov/index.cfm/contact-form

Congressman Bill Johnson via his web site or twitter: https://billjohnson.house.gov/contact/

Colonel Andrew Short: andrew.j.short@usace.army.mil

 

                Please take some time NOW to contact Congressional and USACE personnel. If you have any contacts of your own that might help us further our cause, please follow up with them or let us know what we can do to engage them in our cause.

                Please be advised that Berlin Rangers Gary and Steve are no longer employed by the USACE effective 7/27.  Gary retired and Steve took a job with the US Parks Service. Due to this, I am told lake management has brought in personnel from the Pittsburgh District real estate office to assist in checking on Step and Dock permits. They have been seen checking around the lake.

Thank you for your support and for being a member of the Berlin Lake Association.

Remember, our strength is in our voice and numbers!

 

Sincerely,

 

Tim Taylor

President

Berlin Lake Association

Here is the email that was sent to USACE in Washington:
   

Major General Spellmon,

                My name is Tim Taylor and I am the President of the Berlin Lake Association. Our organization has been working with the Pittsburgh District over the past 15 years in an attempt to come up with a more reasonable water drawdown plan for Berlin Lake. We thought we had achieved a workable Deviation Plan for 2018 as a trial proposal. We were recently informed that the proposal was rejected and, to add insult to injury, we are now the middle of the most aggressive water drawdown that we have experienced in over 30 years. For some reason, the water drawdown this year is mirroring those that took place in the 1940’s and 50’s. Our summer pool is 1024 until July when the drawdown begins. We asked for, and the deviation plan that was approved by the Pittsburgh District called for, a more gradual drawdown to 1021 by Labor Day.  The program only asked for the WCP deviation for the months of July and August (our dry season) and allowed for down river flow requirements to be met. Unfortunately, someone in your organization denied this request and now we are in a much worse situation than we normally experience this time of year.

                The Berlin Lake Association requests that the Berlin Lake Water Deviation Plan be reconsidered for 2019. We also request that the aggressive water drawdown that we have experienced this year due to a WCP established in the 40’s be updated to better conform with the areas changing population and economic needs.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tim Taylor

President



Lexi McCauley will be defending her Jr World Champion title

at the 2018 Canadian Barefoot Worlds Championships starting on

 Aug 12 for the Jr and Elite USA Teams. Her dad, Mark McCauley, will compete in Tricks and Jump as an independent skier for the USA. See a video made on Berlin Lake with Lexi showing her skills!! Click here





Berlin Lake Paddlepalooza

Calling all paddlers for 3 Events on 1 Day,

 Saturday, July 28th 10am-8pm.

Save the Date, attached (link) is a general outline of our upcoming Paddlepalooza Event in July at Mill Creek Recreation Area. The event has morning, afternoon and evening activities for a variety of paddler experience levels. We will also have kayaks and safety gear on loan for each activity on a limited basis. If you have experienced or certified paddlers in your group we are always open to volunteers support. Stay tuned for more details to follow in the next few weeks. Click here for more details.


On 5/18/2018 1:22 PM, Tim Taylor wrote:

 First I want to thank everyone that attended the Berlin Lake Association meeting last night. At that meeting you heard from Colonel Lloyd of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,state that the first step in attaining a slower water drawdown was to gain approval for a temporary deviation from the Water Control Plan. This is a first step, but a very important step in gaining approval for a higher water level in Berlin Lake throughout the summer recreational season. At the request of the BLA, the Pittsburgh District has worked very hard to provide us with this opportunity. It is now up to us to provide the positive feedback needed to gain approval for this Deviation Request. Please respond to the email or postal address provided below stating that you are in favor of this deviation and that you would like to see this put in place on a permanent  basis. We also ask for your assistance in gaining support for this proposal from your Federal, State and
Local elected officials.  Their positive feedback could provide the extra leverage needed to get this proposal approved. At this time, we need to generate as much positive support as possible for this request to show our commitment to a more
logical system of Berlin Lake Water Management.  
Thank you for your support,
Berlin Lake Association Officers and Directors

Subject: USACE Public Notice: Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Berlin Lake Ohio Deviation Request

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District (USACE) is evaluating a proposed temporary planned deviation to the Water Control Plan for the 2018 calendar year at Berlin Lake, Ohio. The USACE invites submission of comments on the environmental impact of the approval of the planned deviation request.  The USACE will consider all submissions received before the expiration date of the public comment period.  The nature or scope of the proposal may be changed upon consideration of the comments received.  The draft Environmental Assessment and draft Finding of No Significant Impact are available electronically at:  http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning-Programs-Project-Management/ Comments can be submitted to berlindeviation18@usace.army.mil or to the address listed in the attached document.  Comments must be received by 16June 2018 to ensure consideration.

 

--

Notice posted May 18, 2018

The Wagner Road and Rt.14 access points at Berlin Lake will be open from 10AM Friday, May 18th thru 10AM Friday, May 25th for landowner access.




 Berlin Lake, Mill Creek Campground and Boat Ramp 2018 Season
BERLIN LAKE, Deerfield, Ohio – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is informing campers, fishermen and boaters that the Mill Creek Recreational Area campground and boat ramp will be delayed in opening until June 29. The campground and boat ramp area is opening later than normal due to an on-going construction project that will have all roads to the campground closed at the normal start of the season. The construction project, which broke ground March 14, is part of a multi-year effort to make repairs to critical infrastructure that services the campground, failure of which caused a shutdown and partial opening of the campground during the 2017 camping season. The district recognizes the inconvenience this delay may cause to the public; however, we look forward to providing the best camping experience for our visitors. The day-use area adjacent to the Mill Creek campground area  will remain open. For more information about Berlin Lake, contact the Project Office at (330) 547-3801.