ASHTABULA — Representatives of federal, state and local government agencies gathered to sign a project partnership agreement Thursday morning along the Ashtabula River.

The $10 million project will take dredged material and use it to protect, restore or create aquatic and ecologically related habitats.

“I am proud to be a part of this [signing],” said Congressman David Joyce.

The project will create 16 and a half acres of submerged wetlands in the harbor, Joyce said. He said the project will provide a cost effective way to dispose of dredging material from the river, but also create a wildlife habitat.

“I thank the Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio EPA for their relentless [work],” Joyce said.

“Today marks a mile marker in a marathon,” said Eddy Eckart of the city of Ashtabula. He credited the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as well as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio EPA.

Kurt Princic, district chief of the Ohio EPA, said he was excited to be at the event.

“I started with the EPA in 1991 and one of my first projects was with Fred Leitert and the Ashtabula River Partnership,” he said of a project to clean up Fields Brook.

Lt. Col. Eli Adams of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the partnership allows for the replenishment of wetland areas and hopefully help in restoring wildlife.

Joyce also announced major progress in the movement towards Fields Brook being delisted as a major area of concern after a Superfund cleanup project turned around decades of pollution of Fields Brook and the Ashtabula River.

Princic said the process is expected to take 12 to 18 months and would be the first designated river to be delisted in Ohio.

 

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