In January, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Ohio EPA received approval from the State Controlling Board to begin funding nearly $10 million in projects for dredging on Lake Erie.
These projects are part of Ohio’s “Healthy Lake Erie Fund” efforts and will be managed by local officials and sponsors from Toledo, Lorain and Conneaut, the communities where these monies are being invested. These projects represent a portion of a Ohio’s dredged material management program, developed jointly by the Ohio EPA, ODNR, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with input from local stakeholders.
Dredged material removed from these Lake Erie ports will be beneficially reused to provide nutrient rich soil for use in construction and habitat restoration projects. This material will also be used to improve conditions at brownfield sites in these communities.
“The $4,000,000 grant the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Office of Coastal Management, is awarding to the City of Lorain provides funding for the placement alternative needed for the bi-annual disposal of sediment dredged from the Black River,” Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said. “The coordinated efforts to handle dredged materials differently will not only improve the water quality of Lake Erie but also provides opportunities for the reuse of uncontaminated dredged materials into marketable products.”
“Toledo has a tremendous challenge in beneficially reusing up to one million cubic yards of dredge material from the federal shipping channel every year,” said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “The port authority is appreciative of the State of Ohio dedicating resources toward this effort. We will continue to work with the State of Ohio, the Army Corps of Engineers and others to identify and pursue new uses and locations where the material can be used beneficially in region.”
The state continues to pursue additional projects along the Lake Erie coast that will help to improve water quality and restore nearshore and coastal habitats. This includes projects at each of the federal navigation channel harbors and a suite of projects that are being undertaken in the Sandusky Bay where dredge material will be beneficially reused to restore in-water wetlands and associated fisheries habitat.