ASHTABULA – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) attended a ceremony to celebrate a Project Partnership Agreement between the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District to restore wetlands habitat and provide cost-effective disposal of approximately 336,000 cubic yards of dredged material in the Ashtabula Harbor. In January 2019, Joyce sent a letterto Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R. D. James, and the Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, requesting that the Corps’ FY 2020 work plan include $10 million for this project to move through design and stay on track for proper dredge placement in FY 20201.
“Ashtabula Harbor is an important part of Northeast Ohio,” said Joyce. “It supports more than 1,500 jobs, generates more than $120 million annually in revenue, and provides a natural habitat for countless species of fish and other wildlife. Unfortunately, the Harbor has experienced a historic level of aquatic habitat loss over the past several years. The Project Partnership Agreement signed today reverses that loss by creating 16.5 acres of fish and wildlife hemi-marsh habitat while also allowing for more cost-effective disposal of dredged material from the Harbor. I look forward to seeing this critical partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District and Ohio EPA benefit not only the Harbor, but the entire Ashtabula community.”
“Through our continued partnership with Ohio EPA, I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work together to come up with a sustainable solution for dredged material at the Port of Ashtabula that will benefit the City of Ashtabula by creating a natural habitat for native aquatic life,” said Lt. Col. Eli Adams, Buffalo District commander.
The project, which is now a legally binding agreement between the government and a non-federal sponsor, is funded under the Continuing Action Program, Section 204 of the 1992 Water resources management. This authority evaluates the use of dredged material from new or existing federal projects in connection with dredging for construction, operation, or maintenance of an authorized navigation projects. The dredged material can be beneficially reused to protect, restore, or create aquatic and ecologically related habitats, including wetlands; to reduce storm damage to property.