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William H Harsha Lake Dam

William H. Harsha Lake



William H. Harsha Lake is a US Army Corps of Engineers project located four miles south of Batavia, Ohio. It serves to reduce flood damages in the area and offers recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping and fossil finding. The Visitor Center provides interpretive displays, a scenic overlook and a natural trail, while attractions close to the lake include the Old Bethel Church and the East Fork State Park.


William H. Harsha Lake was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1938. The Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed, built, and operates the project to reduce flood damages downstream from the dam, which is located roughly four miles south of Batavia, Ohio, on the East Fork of the Little Miami River. 

Construction began in May 1970 and the lake became fully operational in May 1978. Since its completion, William H. Harsha Lake has prevented more than $87 million in flood damages. 

Originally called East Fork Lake because of its location, the lake was renamed in 1981 to honor retired congressman William H. Harsha.  


Hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Maps are available at the Corps Office, State Park Office and District Wildlife offices.

Fossil finding is a popular activity in the nearby spillway - please obtain a free permit from the Visitor Center.


The Visitor Center is located one-half mile beyond the main dam on Slade Road. It offers interpretive displays, a scenic overlook and a natural trail. Special programs are available to schools and organizations. For information, please call (513) 797-6081.

Natural Features

In 1869, there were two gold mines within what is now the William H. Harsha Lake project boundaries. One, located on the north bank in the vicinity of Elk Lick Road, consisted of a flume for washing glacial deposits. The other was a tunnel mine in the vicinity of Twin Bridges Road. Both are now under water. 

Nearby Attractions

The "Old Bethel Church," located approximately one mile of Bantam on Park Road #1, was built in 1818. It occupies the site of a log cabin church founded around 1897 by Rev. John Collins.

The East Fork State Park & Watercraft Office is located approximately 3 miles southeast of W.H. Harsha Dam, on Bantam Road. The park offers a full range of development for recreation, including camping, fishing, boating, hunting, picnicking, and swimming. For park information or boating registration information, please call (513) 734-2730.

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