Harpersfield Dam Project Back on Track After Issues (USA – Ohio)

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Posted January 7, 2019

The Harpersfield Dam construction is again underway after temporary cofferdams, used to divert water, gave way last Friday.

Project Manager Gabriel Schmidbauer said the Harpersfield Dam Project was paused when the cofferdams were knocked down because of heavy rains Dec. 20.

The sudden release of water caused some sediment to move downstream.

“We won’t know how much sediment flowed downstream until the river levels drop,” said Larry Frimerman, Ashtabula County Metroparks executive director.

The temporary dams were used to prevent the water from dredging sediment behind the Harpersfield Dam.

Schmidbauer said the dam was being replaced because of holes and structural issues, which would have contributed to dam failure.

The $7 million project includes a new sea lamprey barrier to improve the ecological system and integrate sea lamprey traps, he said.

Sea lamprey are an invasive species of fish. They’re eel-like, predatory fish that attach to the side of some fish and create large wounds that cause fatal infections, Schmidbauer said.

With the new sea lamprey barrier, the traps will allow wildlife personnel to remove any sea lamprey caught in them.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ashtabula Soil and Water Conservation District, Ashtabula County Engineer, Ohio EPA, Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Ashtabula County Metroparks were present at the site to assure public safety.

“There are no safety or property risks,” Schmidbauer said. “We’re fully coordinating with the sponsors of the project to make sure we’re aligned with their mission.”

He said full restoration of the park side, including replanting the grass where construction is, will be completed by 2020.

Source: Star Beacon