The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District along with Ashtabula Metroparks and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission have signed a Project Partnership Agreement on November 1, 2016 for the Harpersfield Dam Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration project.
This marks a milestone in the project and allows the Buffalo District project delivery team to further design and refine the project’s plans, which includes replacing the existing dam and installing a new sea lamprey barrier. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife Services will also be providing input on the design and implementation of the project.
The project’s plans & specifications phase is expected to cost approximately $600,000, while the final construction costs are expected to be approximately $5.5 million, and will require future Federal appropriations. Moving forward, eligible program costs will be shared 65% Federal and 35% non-Federal.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proud to serve the community through this project that will prevent sea lamprey passage and reproduction upstream of the Harpersfield Dam on the Grand River and its tributaries," said LTC Adam Czekanski, USACE Buffalo District Commander. "This project will block invasive sea lamprey spawning migration to the benefit of the Grand River watershed and the Great Lakes, protecting these precious natural resources and ultimately contributing to a stronger regional economy.
"The Great Lakes have always been, and will always be, one of my main priorities as the Representative for Northeast Ohio. It is important that everyone works together in order to protect this national treasure. This project is one more example of doing just that - working together. Replacing the existing dam and installing a new sea lamprey barrier will go a long way to protect and preserve the Great Lakes,” said Representative Dave Joyce.
“The Ashtabula County Metroparks is grateful to be partnering with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service and other entities to protect the fish and aquatic resources in the Grand River Watershed by blocking the sea lamprey spawning migration upstream of the Harpersfield Dam and Metropark. We are happy to permit these agencies to utilize Harpersfield Metropark for lamprey barrier removal and replacement, and Lampson Staging Area at the Western Reserve Greenway for clean soil dewatering, storage and disposal”, noted Larry Frimerman, Executive Director of the Ashtabula County Metroparks.
“A single female lamprey holds up to 100,000 eggs and each sea lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime,” said Great Lakes Fishery Commission chair David Ullrich. “To control sea lampreys, we must block their access to spawning grounds. Sea lamprey barriers such as the Harpersfield Dam are critical to the success of the sea lamprey control program—a program that has reduced sea lamprey populations by 90% and helped increase lake trout and other fish populations in most areas of the Great Lakes.”
"We've seen great success with our sea lamprey control program. With the Harpersfield Dam project, we have the opportunity to combine our expertise and resources with partners for another win for the Great Lakes," said Federal Commissioner of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius.
The study team plans on completing the engineering and design phase by the end of 2017 and completing construction by the end of 2019.