Jerusalem Twp. gets grant to assess levee system

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Jerusalem Township, in partnership with the Reno Beach Howard Farms Conservancy District, received an Ohio Lake Erie Commission grant for $83,200 to establish a framework for risk assessment of the comprehensive water control system along Lake Erie.
        The goal of the project is to develop a strategic implementation plan for shoreline protection through infrastructure reinforcement and improvements. Ultimately, this project will help build resiliency in the face of potential large-scale flooding and intense storm events related to climate change and rising lake levels in Lake Erie.
        “We are grateful for this award so that we can better serve our community,” said Township Trustee Mark Sattler. “This grant affords us the opportunity to assess our levee system and plan for the future with absolutely no cost to township residents.”
        The project will include engineering inspections of the entire levee system to document and catalog levee conditions. Once the inspections are complete, a risk assessment will be conducted to identify and prioritize segments in need of maintenance or improvement activities. The risk assessment will lead to a strategic plan for the township to pursue additional infrastructure funding for level improvements. The project kicked off in late March, with inspections slated to occur late April through mid-June. The risk assessment and strategic plan will be finished by the end of 2023.
        “Years ago, the Corps came in and constructed a dike system facing Lake Erie and going a little ways up the Wards Canal and Cooley Canal,” said Sattler. “Mostly, it was to protect against the waves and weather coming off Lake Erie. It’s a wonderful protective dike. But there’s a legacy dike system that proceeds up the Wards and Cooley canals and it turns and runs along the north side of St. Rt. 2. It protects the low lying areas in that portion.”
        The legacy dike was constructed by farmers years ago to drain farmland. The farmers worked together to build that dike system. Since then, some of that farmland has become residential. People living in the area no longer have the equipment to protect the low lying areas. We’ve had the Army Corps look it over. We have erosion and some deterioration. It needs to be addressed, according to Sattler.
        “We worked with the metroparks system to help address portions. But this grant helps us get an engineering survey of the entire dike system. It will be very precise, and give us all kinds of excellent data of where our risk areas are and we can design and remediate this. Once we have the engineering info in hand, we will have a professional survey with data, and we can go after specific improvements and get more funding. Without any improvements - following strong winds and a rise in water levels in the lake for days - we could eventually have a failure in the dike system.”
Corps projects
        Last month, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, announced an additional $64,714,800 in federal funding secured for projects as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ annual work plan.
        The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its fiscal year 2023 work plan outlining projects the Corps will soon undertake. Kaptur secured the additional funds above appropriated amounts to further support projects critical to the economic development and environmental health of Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, Lake Erie shoreline communities, and the Great Lakes region as a whole. The amount supplements over $89,000 in federal funding specifically appropriated by congress for projects in the district and region, for a total of over $153,714,800 in Corps funding going to projects overall.
        The project includes $5,000 for maintenance of the Cooley Canal Harbor, $6,588 for maintenance of the Toledo Harbor, and $2,000 for maintenance of the Port Clinton Harbor,


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