Shared from the 2018-03-05 Sandusky Register eEdition

CITY COMMISSIONERS | LAKE ERIE

Sandusky Bay Initiative approved

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Register file photo/JILLY BURNS

Members of the Sandusky Ice Yacht Club use ice boats to explore the Sandusky Bay on Jan. 1, 2018. With a $1 million state grant, Sandusky officials are undertaking a process to make Sandusky Bay a healthier body of water.

SANDUSKY

Sandusky officials are diving right in to purifying the region’s most important resource.

During a recent public meeting, city commissioners approved legislation to proceed forward with the Sandusky Bay Initiative plan.

The plan’s goals entail:

n Filtering out nutrients from water flowing into the bay, reducing the size and frequency of harmful algal blooms

n Creating better and safer habitats for fish and birds; Fishing and bird watching represent two important tourist activities along the Lake Erie shore

n Providing a positive use for dirt taken from the lake bottom during dredging operations; Today dirt is simply dumped from shipping channels to somewhere else in the lake, a practice the Ohio EPA wants to end by 2020.

Workers targeted three areas to study: the west end near Cold Creek; a manmade shore, called Kafralu Island, near Cedar Point; and East Sandusky Bay by the recently announced Landing Park.

The project’s first phase calls for two city-hired firms to analyze, investigate, engineer and design this plan in hopes of improving Sandusky Bay’s overall health. Later phases, which would ideally achieve the aforementioned goals, might take several years to implement.

About a year ago, Sandusky’s government secured $1 million in state funds to cover all work involved in this first phase. As of today, it’s not known how much future phases could cost or where Sandusky would receive the additional money from.

The state chose Sandusky to lead this pioneering pilot project.

“Sandusky Bay is one of the areas within greater Lake Erie that gets algae on a regular basis,” city engineer Aaron Klein said. “It’s a smaller body that has basically one outlet into Lake Erie, and a pilot project like this because, if successful, it can be ramped up for a larger project in the future.”

Reach reporter Andy Ouriel at ouriel@sanduskyregister.com and follow him on Twitter@AndyOuriel.

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