The establishment of a watercourse as a County Ditch may be initiated by property owners who will be affected and benefitted by the improvement and maintenance of the ditch. There are three methods by which a ditch may be established and placed on County maintenance.
Two of these methods are administered through the Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District. They are located at 3111 SR 98, Bucyrus, OH 44820. The first method is the Cooperative Group Process, which is outlined in Sections 1515.14 through 1515.29 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
The second method was established through Senate Bill 160 and is referred to as Conservation Works of Improvement (CWI). See ORC Section 940.19 for more information on this process and the Soil and Water website for information on both of these methods:
The third method of establishing a County maintained ditch is outlined in Sections 6131, 6133, & 6137 of the Ohio Revised Code. The Board of Commissioners and the County Engineer are responsible for the processes defined within these Sections. Chapter 29 of the he County Commissioners Association of Ohio handbook has created a bulletin summarizing the procedures, which can be assessed here:
Once a ditch is on County maintenance, County personnel from the Highway garage will be responsible for maintaining the ditch. This includes such activities as: mowing, spraying, dipping, repairing culverts and outlets that drain into the ditch, and repairing ditch slope failures.
Material, labor, and equipment costs associated with these activities are logged. Annually, all benefitting landowners within the ditch watershed are assessed their share of the costs incurred via their tax duplicate. The amount of the assessment for each parcel is proportional to the benefit derived from utilizing the County Ditch.