A group of property owners and volunteers rolled up their sleeves to remove a pile of logs that was blocking a river.

The group of around 20 people are hoping that by removing the logs, it will help prevent rising water levels and spring flooding of the Black River in Ramara Township near Washago.

The group believes the log jam may have contributed to the flooding of more than 100 properties when the river backed-up into Lake St. John.

“We're just trying keep things lower so we don't have two or three feet of water in our backyards,” said property owner Tim Hand.

Outgoing Mayor Bill Duffy had a lawsuit ready against the Ministry of Natural Resources, who are responsible for maintenance, and local property owners for flood damage costs, but he withdrew the lawsuit after property owners volunteered to remove the log jam.

Mandy Davidson, who sits on Ramara’s Flood Task Force and helped organize the clean-up, says something had to be done.

“The fear would be if this isn't cleaned out it would block and flood the residents further downstream … We have not been able to get assistance from the MNR or Parks Canada to do this, and the residents feel it’s a big issue and they would like it removed. We’re not sure how much it’s blocking but it’s definitely blocking something."

Ramara’s Fire Chief Dave McCarthy said it’s impossible to tell if clearing the jam will actually help with the flooding issue.

“The thinking is it will allow the flow faster down the Black River and reduce the impact on the river and Lake St. John. How much? We won't know until we experience another round of it.”

The Flood Task Force is hoping to meet with the MNR soon to develop a strategy to maintain the Black River from clogging again.