Ashtabula, OH The Ashtabula River dredging project is nearing completion, making the river one of the cleanest, deepest harbors in Lake Erie. The $75 million project, started in June 2006, moved 635,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment to a nearby landfill, which will be capped by the end of the year.
“A lot of people worked very long and very hard to see the dredging completed,” said Ohio Sea Grant Extension’s Frank Lichtkoppler. “It was all the Ashtabula River Partnership members working together that made this happen. Ohio Sea Grant was one of the founding partners of the Ashtabula River Partnership.”
“We are now working on restoring the environment and hope to have the Ashtabula River taken off the IJC list of contaminated Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes in the next few years,” he continued.
Having the deep draft available will allow for increased shipping opportunities, and a cleaner river should help provide new opportunities for local marinas and businesses.
Ohio Sea Grant is also developing an economic baseline to measure the economic activity that may result from the Ashtabula River dredging. Prior to the project, Ohio Sea Grant collected economic data on local boaters, marinas and small businesses in the harbor area. This will allow a comparison in a few years when the river is fully restored.
Ohio Sea Grant Extension is part of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, one of 32 NOAA Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.