KS Associates provided coastal engineering and surveying services for the Cedar Point Causeway Wetlands Breakwater — an innovative project for the City of Sandusky. The project is beneficially reusing dredge material that can no longer be disposed of in Lake Erie to create wetlands in Sandusky Bay. The breakwater, located just north of Cedar Point Amusement Park, is constructed of approximately 3,300 linear feet of armor stone. The structure has the capacity to contain up to 260,000 cubic yards of material dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Sandusky Bay Federal Navigation Channel — the equivalent of two years’ worth of dredging. Over time, the clean dredge material will naturalize and will help to establish up to 31 acres of in-water wetlands in Sandusky Bay.
In 2017, the City of Sandusky placed KS Associates on a design team to plan beneficial reuse of dredge material projects at two sites. On the team were Foth Infrastructure LLC to manage the project, Applied Ecological Services to provide ecological restoration services, and LimnoTech (now RES) to support KS in hydrologic, hydrodynamic, and water quality modeling. One of those sites, the Cedar Point Causeway Wetlands project, presented characteristics that made it ideally suited for a project to demonstrate the viability of wetland restoration using dredge material in Lake Erie.
The City of Sandusky then selected KS to lead the final design, permitting, bidding, and construction phase services for the breakwater. KS Associates’ scope of work included managing a complex permitting process, including securing permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The Cedar Point Causeway Wetlands Breakwater is a unique pilot project and the first fully constructed project of the larger Sandusky Bay Initiative. The project was funded in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the Ohio Healthy Lake Erie Fund. The Sandusky Bay Initiative is a multi-year Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) program that aims to turn the Sandusky Bay into a cleaner, healthier body of water for both wildlife and people.
This unique project is the first non-federal dredge containment structure to be constructed along the shore of Lake Erie. The project includes several concepts for dredge material management, wetland restoration, and nature-based/living shorelines. These concepts, currently being explored at larger ocean ports, are new to Lake Erie. The lessons learned throughout this project will be applied to future projects aimed at improving Sandusky Bay, other Lake Erie harbors, and throughout the Great Lakes.
The project is meeting its goals of expanding fish and wildlife habitat, improving the water quality in Sandusky Bay, reusing dredge material in a beneficial way, and reducing the risk of disrupting shipping of 1.8 million tons of cargo transported through the Sandusky Harbor each year.