Mussel Survey and Relocation – ASD-42-9.43 Jerome Fork Bridge Replacement Project – Ashland County, Ohio

STONE performed a mussel survey and relocation in the vicinity of the State Route (SR) 42 bridge over Jerome Fork in Montgomery Township, Ashland County, Ohio. The survey was led by STONE Principal Ecologist Dr. Michael Hoggarth, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved mussel surveyor and Teagan Loew, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved mussel surveyor.

The bridge carrying SR 42 over Jerome Fork was to be replaced. The existing structure was a continuous reinforced concrete slab with capped pile abutments and piers. Due to the years of service and weathering conditions, a full replacement was needed. The proposed structure was a composite prestressed precast box beam bridge with integral pile-supported reinforced concrete abutments. The replacement activities required instream construction. Jerome Fork in Ashland County is a Group 1 stream according to the Ohio Mussel Survey Protocols (ODNR & USFWS, 2018) and has a Designated Aquatic Life Use of Warmwater Habitat (Ohio EPA).

Upon arriving at the site, the reach of stream at the existing bridge was divided into the following areas:

• Area of Direct Impact (ADI); 30 meters, centered on the downstream edge of the existing bridge (the construction will stage slightly downstream).
• Upstream Buffer (US); 10 meters upstream of the upstream end of the ADI.
• Downstream Buffer (DS); 25 meters downstream of the downstream end of the ADI.

The ADI was determined once we had access to the site. This reach encompassed the entire footprint for reconstruction of the bridge

Water conditions were fine. However, due to high turbidity, all mussels were collected by touch. Two species of mussels were found during this survey. Two specimens each of Anodontoides ferussacianus (cylindrical papershell) and Lampsilis siliquoidea (fat mucket) were found alive. Three of these were found outside the SA and one specimen (L. siliquoidea) was found within the SA. That specimen was relocated to a reach where a single dead specimen of the same species was found on a gravel bar. This species is one of the two most abundant and most widely distributed mussels in the state. No Ohio or USFWS endangered or threatened species were found. Furthermore, as all live mussels found in the salvage area were relocated, the construction project as designed was not anticipated to impact the mussel resources of Jerome Fork.

“We are pleased with your team’s responsiveness and plan design efforts on ROS-23-19.46 intersection improvement project.  Keep up the good work!”