U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reaffirms recommendation to remove Ohio’s Ballville Dam

A supplemental record of decision issued last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reaffirms the agency’s recommendation to remove the Ballville Dam from the Sandusky River in Ohio.

The document was prepared by FWS as an addition to earlier studies performed when the removal project was selected for funding through the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.

Per the supplemental record of decision, the incremental removal of Ballville Dam and the construction of an ice control structure as the proposed action beat 13 alternatives that were also evaluated by FWS.

The proposal calls for the removal of the Ballville “over a multi-event period lasting approximately two years”. The action would “provide fish passage in both directions, restore system connectivity and natural hydrologic processes in the lower Sandusky River, manage sediment loads, as well as eliminate the liabilities associated with maintaining the existing structure and achieve biological use attainment for this section of the Sandusky River.”

The work would be broken into three phases at an estimated cost of about $6.3 million, according to the agency.

The 407-feet-long, 34-feet-high dam was built in 1913 and originally housed a run-of-river hydroelectric plant, though the Ballville’s generating assets have been off line since the mid-1940s.

The facility was originally owned by the Fremont Power and Light Co. — now the Ohio Power Co. — until the city purchased it in 1959. FWS said the last known maintenance performed on the structure occurred in 1969, though deterioration has been noted since inspections began in 1980.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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