Posted on January 8, 2024
SANDUSKY — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicated it likely will skip dredging Sandusky’s harbor this year.
There’s no place to put the resulting dirt from the bottom of Lake Erie.
The federal agency dredges the harbors of several northern Ohio cities.
State law bans putting dredged materials back in the lake, so the agency is often busy trying to secure a spot to place the dredged dirt.
The Sandusky section states, “Dredging is scheduled for 2024 but likely will be deferred due to a lack of available placement locations.”
The Corps needs to remove 140,000 cubic yards of material.
Sandusky’s public works director Aaron Klein said the dredging of Sandusky’s harbor used to take place every other year. So the harbor should be OK if this process is skipped for a year.
The city has been building new wetlands by the Cedar Point Causeway.
When the corps carried out dredging in Sandusky this past fall, that’s where the materials were placed.
But the city doesn’t want to put any more material in it this year, Klein said.
The concern is that if more material is pumped in there, it might overflow. The city also wants the material to consolidate and settle, so it can move on to the next steps, such as installing native plants, Klein said.
Klein said the city is trying to find a location for a second wetlands project. That should provide a location by 2025 for putting dredged materials, he said.
In regards to other local waterfront areas:
• In Huron — The dredging report outlines how Huron’s harbor is no longer used for commercial navigation, and that, as a result, the corps will dredge the harbor to a maintenance depth of 14 feet as funding becomes available. Huron’s harbor is now on a two-year cycle, and no dredging is planned for this year. Dredging, however, will occur in Huron’s boat basin area.
• In Vermilion — Dredging in Vermilion’s harbor is scheduled for July. But dredging in the river channel will be limited to 10,000 cubic yards because of the state’s limitations of open lake dumping of dredged materials, the report says.
• In Port Clinton — Port Clinton’s harbor is scheduled for September. But, like Vermilion, it also will run into a 10,000 cubic yard limit, the corps report states.
The corps of Engineers says the Sandusky harbor supports about $129 million of business a year. Much of that is coal and salt, Klein said.
According to the corps, Sandusky has a deep draft commercial harbor. The harbor handled an average of nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo from 2015 to 2019.