DEFIANCE – Work on flood-control improvements to the Blanchard River at Findlay begins Monday; however, any progress on the more controversial proposed flood basins is still more than a year away.

The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District, which is in charge of flood-control projects in Hancock and Putnam counties, met in regular session today, and received updates on both projects, along with the efforts in Putnam County to begin construction on a diversion channel on the west side of town.

Crews are expected to be on site Monday to begin clearing trees from about 12.5 acres of land along the river. The company has just two weeks to clear the site of trees suitable for roosting by the Indiana brown bat before the nesting season begins. The deadline set by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is April 15.

Adam Hoff, a principal engineer with Stantec, said the contractors believe they can get the work done by March 31. H&H Land Clearing, Middlefield, was awarded at $105,000 contract to clear the trees in January. Hoff said permitting has delayed the work.

Should the company miss the EPA’s deadline, work to clear the trees would be halted until October at the end of the bat’s nesting season.

Hoff said Monday that Stantec is still working to develop its “proof of concept” report on the recommended basins. The delay means the report will not be ready will not be ready by the May 4 annual meeting of the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District Court. The court, which includes common pleas judges from all 15 counties served by the conservancy district, would have to approve any further flood reduction projects in Hancock Count before work could proceed.

Courier reporter Denise Grant is working to develop this story.