Senecaville Lake

Public Review Documents & Approved Review Plans


Finding of no Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment

Buffalo District
Published May 17, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District has assessed the environmental impacts of the subject project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and has determined a draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The attached draft Environmental Assessment (EA) dated April 2024, addresses the USACE repair of the Conneaut West Breakwater located at the City of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, about 70 miles northeast1 of Cleveland, Ohio. The Conneaut West Breakwater shelters Conneaut Harbor and its associated features from severe lake storms and waves. The breakwater provides necessary shelter from lake waves, allowing commercial vessels to navigate and serve industry at the harbor. In addition, the structure enables small vessels and recreational boats to navigate to and from marinas within the harbor project. The shoreline along Conneaut Harbor is also protected from erosion by the outer breakwater.

Recent inspections indicate the breakwater has deteriorated from wave action since the last repairs were made to the structure. Thus, the breakwater is at risk of no longer providing adequate protection to the interior of Conneaut Harbor from severe lake storms and waves. Repair of this structure is necessary to restore the breakwater to its nearly original condition so it can provide adequate protection to the Conneaut Harbor navigation channel and shoreline.

Implementation of the Selected Plan would work toward sustaining the integrity of the Conneaut Harbor from the economic and social perspectives. Construction activities associated with the maintenance repair of the breakwater would have minor, adverse, short-term effects. However, the long-term beneficial effect of maintaining and correcting the underlying instability of the breakwater outweigh these temporary and localized adverse effects. Additionally, analysis has shown that the proposed maintenance activity is not a major federal action which would result in significant adverse impacts on the quality of the human or natural environment.

A cumulative impact is defined as “the impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, or reasonably foreseeable future action regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions” (40 CFR Part 1508.7). Such impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time. Evaluations of cumulative

impacts include consideration of the proposed action with known past and present actions, as well as reasonably foreseeable future actions. In assessing cumulative effects, the key determinant of importance or significance is whether the incremental effect of the proposed action will alter the sustainability of resources when added to other present and reasonably foreseeable future actions.

Cumulative environmental effects for the proposed project were assessed in accordance with guidance provided by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (USEPA, 1999a). This guidance provides an eleven-step process for identifying and evaluating cumulative effects in NEPA analyses. The overall cumulative impact of the proposed project is considered to be environmentally, socially, and economically beneficial. In general, cumulative impacts resulting from implementation of the preferred alternative are expected to be beneficial for the local economy and Conneaut Harbor. Implementation of the preferred alternative would enable the continued protection of Conneaut Harbor navigation channels and infrastructure from damaging wave action from Lake Erie.

Chick Lock

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