MIDDLE BASS ISLAND
It’s crunch time for construction at the Middle Bass Island Marina.
Crews have only a small window to do heavy work at the renovation site to avoid disrupting local wildlife.
Scott Doty, Lake Erie Island Parks Manager, said construction crews have to work around Lake Erie water snake hibernation season from mid-October to mid-April. Work also is limited from mid-April through June for fish spawning.
That leaves crews with about three months to do as much work as possible.
“This time of year is the time we hope we can be moving quickly and accomplishing a lot of stuff,” Doty said.
Last week, workers at the site finished draining water from the marina and will soon begin work reshaping and deepening the basin and entrance.
Native fish caught in the draining process were relocated by Division of Wildlife personnel. Doty said non-native species such as carp and gobies were disposed of.
Wildlife workers have also safely moved away more than 240 water snakes from the construction site. Ohio Department of Natural Resources project manager David Kieffer said a cloth fence is helping keep the endangered snakes clear of the site.
As construction gets under way, Doty said park visitors should be aware of large equipment that will be moving across Fox Road and through the construction zone.
Kieffer said crews plan to get the marina walls reconstructed with sloped rock and dock supports installed so water can be returned to the marina in October.
Material removed from the marina basin will be used in other areas of the 141-acre Middle Bass State Park, Kieffer said.
He said the project is on schedule to open to boats in June 2009. Three contractors have submitted low bids to install the 240 dock slips, and Kieffer said an agreement should be reached on the docks soon. The marina will have the capacity to add an additional 100 dock slips in the future.
He said amenities at the marina such as the showers and bathrooms may still be under construction when the marina opens in June.
Working around the needs of the local wildlife has made this project especially challenging, Kieffer said.
“It’s been more unique than any job I have worked on,” he said.