OHIO RIVER ENDANGERED SPECIES
AMP Partners and City of Hamilton, Ohio
Kentucky and West Virginia
Since 2007, EA has conducted mussel surveys at four proposed hydroelectric project sites on the Ohio River for AMP Partners and the City of Hamilton, Ohio. The surveys were needed to obtain Section 404 permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Louisville District for construction of hydroelectric power plants at the following existing lock and dams: Smithland Lock and Dam, Cannelton Lock and Dam, and Meldahl Lock and Dam, Kentucky; and Willow Island Lock and Dam, West Virginia. These assessments of existing conditions in the project areas were required as part of the permit application prior to construction or dredging activities. These surveys were requested by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Section 7 (a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The mussel surveys were conducted to ensure that project activities would pose no harm to federally listed mussel species.
EA submitted study plans for each facility to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state agencies for review and incorporated their input into the surveys. Quantitative and qualitative searches were conducted at each site to assess the mussel population in the proposed construction areas which might be directly affected by the projects and also at downstream buffer areas that might be affected by changes in sediment deposition or hydrology of the Ohio River. The assessment results were submitted to the agencies; and, following consultation, depending on the findings of the surveys, measures were agreed upon which would be protective of any listed species in particular and in some cases all mussels affected by a project. Relocation of all mussels was conducted at one project to avoid destruction of the mussels which were going to be eliminated by direct construction effects. At the Smithland Lock and Dam where a federally listed species was collected, EA, working with the agencies on behalf of AMP Partners, has initiated an arrangement with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Center for Mollusk Conservation, to have specimens raised in their culture facility to replace any take which results from the project. In addition, working with various partners, funding will be provided to replace the listed species habitat which will be altered by the project.