Maintaining drainage ditches is a necessary management function for most local units of government in suburban and rural areas. Though this maintenance function can involve typical mowing, sediment removal and other maintenance practices often completed by public personnel on other types of properties, the specialized nature, varying conditions, and multiple adjacent land uses along these drainage corridors require a more detailed set of considerations, protocols, optional practices, and operating procedures for ditch maintenance.
Every community and ditch corridor have unique circumstances to consider when establishing plans for ditch maintenance. The City of Perrysburg recognizes our important role in managing these drainage corridors to protect private property and the important function ditches often also serve to improve ecological functions and water quality. We recognize our role as leaders in local efforts to help improve water quality in the tributaries and mainstem of the Maumee River as well as Lake Erie by making improvements to our wastewater treatment plant operations and adopting and implementing a variety of sustainable actions, including many recommendations made in the Ohio Lake Erie Commission's “Linking Land Use and Ohio's Waters: Best Local Land Use Practices.” We developed this Ditch Maintenance Guide as one tool to help ensure that our ditch maintenance practices consider the most appropriate set of maintenance plans and options while also considering the needs of our citizens and other stakeholders.
This guide discusses why we have drainage ditches; establishes protocols for annual ditch maintenance inspections to assess ditch conditions; defines routine, non-routine and redesign activities, and details the associated maintenance activities for consideration; reviews the regulatory and permitting requirements for certain maintenance activities; discusses the considerations and benefits for improved ecological and water quality conditions; and includes recommendations for involving citizens and other program stakeholders to keep them informed and engaged in maintenance plans and related local ecological or often “place-based” quality of life issues.
We encourage our citizens to understand their important role in helping to maintain open drainage channels and acknowledge drainage easements, as well as helping to improve local habitat and water quality. Many suggested practices are described in standard operating procedures included in this guide. Stewardship suggestions are also listed in a draft fact sheet prepared with this guidebook, “Taking Care of Your Backyard Waterway,” that could be available for separate distribution online and at meetings and other events. We appreciate the interest and support by our stakeholders in this important endeavor and encourage continued feedback as the City of Perrysburg works hard to implement and continues to refine our ditch maintenance program.