2017-06-24 / News

Ohio EPA hearing set for comments on dam reconstruction mitigation

By Charles Prince


This map, provided by Lawhon & Associates, Inc., depicts the three proposed fish habitat enhancement areas designed to compensate for the impacts on water quality due to the Buckeye Lake Dam Rehabilitation Project. The fish habitat enhancement areas at Lieb’s Island, Brooks Park and Fairfield Beach would be constructed from about 30,000 cubic yards of repurposed bank run and leftover riprap and cover about 19 acres. Map courtesy Ohio EPA. This map, provided by Lawhon & Associates, Inc., depicts the three proposed fish habitat enhancement areas designed to compensate for the impacts on water quality due to the Buckeye Lake Dam Rehabilitation Project. The fish habitat enhancement areas at Lieb’s Island, Brooks Park and Fairfield Beach would be constructed from about 30,000 cubic yards of repurposed bank run and leftover riprap and cover about 19 acres. Map courtesy Ohio EPA. MILLERSPORT – Ohio EPA is holding a public information session followed by a public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 26, at the Millersport Elementary School.

Both sessions concern ODNR’s application for a Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification. ODNR has a pending application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a Section 404 permit. Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act requires a permit before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United States.

Approximately 378,315 cubic yards of fill were placed in the lake during the construction of the stability berm during Phase I. That represents the loss of about 27 acres of open lake. Another 60,000 cubic yards would be placed in the lake during Phase II with approximately 10,000 cubic yards removed after the project is completed.

One of the areas with temporary fill would be Crane Lake where “a temporary causeway would be constructed within Crane Lake and temporary access fill would be discharged within Buckeye Lake to facilitate construction…” Crane Lake’s pedestrian bridge would be temporarily removed and “a seepage cutoff blanket would be installed on the lakeward side of the existing control structure.” Then “impervious fill overlain with riprap would be discharged into the channel to maintain stability and prevent erosion from wave action. Additionally, “steel sheet piling would be driven to separate Crane Lake from Buckeye Lake and prevent seepage through the dam.”

The net impact would be about 430,000 cubic yards of fill which includes the proposed 30,000 cubic yards of fill to construct the three fish habitat enhancement areas.

States are responsible for the 401 water quality certification reviews and permits. A 401 water quality certification must be issued before the Army Corps can issue a 404 permit.

Lawhon & Associates, Inc. of Columbus under contract to Gannett Fleming and Michael Baker International completed the Section 401 Water Quality Certification on behalf of ODNR.

The Section 401 review evaluates how the water quality impact from the fill would be mitigated. ODNR’s proposal is to construct the three fish habitat enhancement areas. The proposed 30,000 cubic yards of repurposed bank run and leftover riprap “would replace areas of loose sediment with hard substrates and provide additional cover and spawning habitat within the lake. the hard substrates are more conducive to the successful spawning of sportfish species within the lake than the existing silt and sediment substrate. The riprap used in installation of the fish habitat would also provide gaps and crevices that would provide refuge for juvenile fishes and habitat for forage species such as crayfish and insect larvae.”

In addition to the nearly 19 acres of constructed fish habitat enhancements, the decision to armor the new dam face with rip rap rather than with concrete or steel sheet piling provides 4.1 miles of shore area with hard substrate.

Rich Carter, Executive Administrator of ODNR’s Fish Management and Research section wrote, “It is our opinion that the sloped surface and the rip rap armoring of the dam face will provide significant habitat for fishes and other aquatic organisms… Hard substrates are much more conducive to the successful spawning of important sportfishes in the lake than the unstable sediment that is currently available. In addition, the interstitial spaces created by the large rip rap stones would be expected to provide refuge for small juvenile fishes and aquatic invertebrates.”

The Section 401 application and technical support information are available on Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water’s website at: www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/401/permitting.aspx

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