The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 15, 2013

Conneaut is completing wetland repair ordered by federal government

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Repairs to wetlands damaged by a 2012 city water line improvement project could be completed by the end of the month, according to City Manager Tim Eggleston.

Eggleston confirmed the timetable mentioned this week by Steve Kehoe, water treatment plant superintendent. At a Monday night City Council meeting, Kehoe said crews plan within two weeks to remove all the stone that earned the ire of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last year.

The stone was placed to create an access road for equipment used to install a new water line that links Gore and Lake roads. In January 2012, a complaint about the stone — which cut a swatch through wetlands — was lodged with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn contacted the USACE. Made aware of a “violation,” the Corps sent the city a letter, a spokesman said at the time, who also noted an “on-going enforcement action.”

Stone removal has been on-going as weather permitted, Eggleston said Thursday. “We’ve been doing it and within a couple of weeks it will be done,” he said.

Once the stone is gone, the road must be re-seeded, Eggleston said. The city is documenting its restoration work with photographs, he said.

City crews also will begin fixing driveway aprons affected by the water line project, Kehoe said this week. Government grants purchased materials used in the project, while city crews provided the labor.

Wetlands violations have occurred in other parts of town in recent years. In 2010, the Conneaut Port Authority ran afoul of the government when it bulldozed vegetation on the Conneaut Harbor sandbar. The owner of wetlands on Underridge Road came under scrutiny when the land was used to hold material used in the construction of the nearby Love’s Travel Center.