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Corps posts summary of report on Asian carp, invasive species controls

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted a summary on May 5 of comments submitted and recorded for administrative record during the public comment period for the Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) Report. The GLMRIS Report outlines eight potential plans within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) to address the transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS), such as Asian carp, between the two basins.

The comment summary includes information on the study, the public comment process, a summary of comments by location and themes, commenter demographic information, Corps clarification on several recurring themes, and the path forward on GLMRIS.  The comment summary can be viewed at glmris.anl.gov. 

“This document is intended to provide a synopsis of the public dialogue following the release of the GLMRIS Report, including opinions regarding possible future prevention actions,” said Dave Wethington, GLMRIS program manager. “The comments submitted reflect passion about preserving valuable natural resources and the vitality of our shared waterways.”

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Restoration project to bring native coastal species to area

Projected area for restoration

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a detailed project report and environmental assessment for the Coastal Wetland Restoration Project for the City of Port Clinton. The project specifically details section 506, which is the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) Project. The restoration would produce wetland and shoreline habitat that would be better suited for native species than what is now in place in the area.

The affected area of the project is west of City Beach on Perry Street and east of Derby Pond at Waterworks Park. The project is also set to restore the shoreline in front of Waterworks Park that reaches to the pier. 

The need to protect and conserve Great Lakes coastal wetlands is an increasing concern. This is especially true in Ohio. Between 1780 and 1980 Ohio lost 90% of its wetlands. Natural and cultural practices have greatly altered the coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes and it is feared by federal agencies, state agencies and environmental groups that past and continued uses of the Great Lakes will lead to continued water quality problems and significant losses of rare habitats and biological diversity.

The coastal wetland in the projected area, which is a preserve, currently provides little quality habitat for coastal species, including migratory birds. The area now is characterized by an abundance of non-native and invasive plant species. The existing wetland is also cut off from external sources of surface water, such as upland lake connections, that would provide adequate water input or exchange. The preserve is bordered on three sides by large areas of maintained lawn that don’t provide suitable habitat. According to the report, the proposed restoration site on Perry Street along the lake provides very few of the required habitat qualities sought by coastal and migratory species.

The restoration and expansion of the coastal wetland will enhance ecological function and provide an additional high quality migratory bird stopover habitat. The projected restoration will result in the expansion of coastal wetland habitat, increased habitat quality and improved water quality.

The report states that the Preferred Action Alternative is Alternative 22, which consists of invasive species removal and revegetation, wetland expansion, creation of microtypography within wetlands and creation of a hydraulic connection between the wetlands. The total first cost for implementing the recommended plan is $2,047,800. The cost will be covered by the Army Corp of Engineers and the federal government. Any other costs will be covered in grants that the City of Port Clinton can earn. 

After the project is completed, the cost for maintenance, repair, replacement and rehabilitation of the area is to be taken care of by the city. The report states the cost of maintaining the project is projected to be $15,300 per year.

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