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CONGRESS

LORAIN HARBOR, OHIO.

LETTER

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

TRANSMITTING,

WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORT ON PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF LORAIN HARBOR, OHIO, WITH A VIEW TO THE EXTENSION OF THE EAST BREAKWATER AND ENLARGING AND DEEPENING THE HARBOR AREA.

OCTOBER 1, 1919.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered

to be printed, with illustration.

War DEPARTMENT,

Washington, September 29, 1919. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of 26th instant, together with report of Lieut. Col. R. R. Raymond, Corps of Engineers, dated June 11, 1919, with map, on a preliminary examination of Lorain Harbor, Ohio, authorized by the river and harbor act approved March 2, 1919. Very respectfully,

NEWTON D. BAKER,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, September 26, 1919.
From: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
To: The Secretary of War.
Subject: Preliminary examination of Lorain Harbor, Ohio.

1. There is submitted herewith, for transmission to Congress, report dated June 11, 1919, with map, by Lieut. Col. R. R. Raymond, Corps of Engineers, on preliminary examination authorized by the river and harbor act approved March 2, 1919, of Lorain Harbor, Ohio, "with a view to the extension of the east breakwater and enlarging and deepening the harbor area.”

2. Lorain Harbor is situated at the mouth of Black River, which flows into Lake Erie about 30 miles westerly from Cleveland, Ohio. The existing project provides for an outer harbor about 60 acres in area, formed by converging rubble mound breakwaters; for parallel piers at the mouth of the river, 300 feet apart; and for dredging the outer harbor and channel 250 feet wide between the piers and upstream to the Erie Avenue Highway Bridge, a distance of about 3,000 feet, to a depth of 20 feet at low-water datum for Lake Erie, which is taken at 570.8 feet above mean tide level at New York. To May 31, 1919, expenditures on the existing project amounted to $916,213.66, and on all projects $1,208,416.54. The existing project has been completed except the extension of the west breakwater to shore, and dredging in the outer harbor outside the entrance channel. As indicated by the law, the present investigation has in view the extension of the east breakwater and enlarging and deepening the harbor area. The extension of the east breakwater is desired by the city authorities to prevent the erosion of the shore and the consequent shoaling of the harbor area, it being claimed that this breakwater is the cause of the present erosion. The district engineer is of opinion that no extension of the east breakwater short of connecting it with the shore would prevent erosion, and that the cost of such full extension would be out of proportion to any possible benefits. With reference to enlarging and deepening the harbor area, the district engineer states that the project depth of 20 feet at low-water datum has been obtained in the entrance channel through the outer harbor and in the river up to the Erie Avenue Bridge by dredging recently completed, and it appears from correspondence accompanying the report on preliminary examination that this situation is now satisfactory to the city authorities. The existing depth compares favorably with depths at the lake ports where most of the cargoes of iron ore originate, and the district engineer believes that unless a general increase of depths at all ports is contemplated, an increased depth at Lorain Harbor is not warranted. He therefore expresses the opinion, in which the division engineer concurs, that this harbor is not worthy of improvement by the United States to a greater extent than is authorized by the existing project.

3. This report has been referred, as required by law, to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited to its report herewith, dated July 15, 1919, concurring in the views of the district and division engineers.

4. After due consideration of the above-mentioned reports, I concur in the views of the district engineer, the division engineer, and the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and therefore report that the improvement by the United States of Lorain Harbor, Ohio, with a view to the extension of the east breakwater and enlarging and deepening the harbor area is not deemed advisable at the present time.

W. M. BLACK, Major General.

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS.

(Third indorsement.]

BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

July 15, 1919. To the CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:

1. The following is in review of the district engineer's report authorized by the river and harbor act of March 2, 1919, on preliminary examination of Lorain Harbor, Ohio, with a view to the extension of the east breakwater and enlarging and deepening the harbor area.

2. Lorain Harbor is located at the mouth of Black River about 30 miles westerly from Cleveland, Ohio. The existing project provides for an outer harbor formed by converging breakwaters, the west breakwater extending to the shore; for an entrance 500 feet wide between pierheads; for parallel piers at the mouth of the river 300 feet apart; and for dredging to a depth of 20 feet at low-water datum, 2 feet below mean lake level, 1860-1875, the outer harbor within designated limits and a channel 250 feet wide between the piers and extending upstream from the outer ends of the piers a distance of about 3,000 feet to the Erie Avenue Bridge. The project has been completed, except the shoreward extension of the west breakwater and dredging in the outer harbor outside the entrance channel. The United States has expended on the harbor and river below the Erie Avenue Bridge $1,208,416.54. The city of Lorain has expended approximately $598,000 in dredging and maintaining a 20-foot channel in Black River above the Erie Avenue Bridge to the plant of the National Tube Co., located about 3 miles above the mouth of the river, with a turning basin at the upper end, and in constructing a public wharf.

3. The commerce of Lorain Harbor has in recent years averaged about 7,115,000 tons, having a value in excess of $25,000,000. It consists almost entirely of iron ore and coal, all handled in the river, either above or below the Erie Avenue Bridge, the outer harbor being used only as a turning basin.

4. The present breakwaters serve to protect the entrance to the river. Any commercial development of the outer harbor east of the piers would entail a considerable extension of the east breakwater. General conditions of currents and sedimentation in the outer harbor will be much improved when the west breakwater has been extended to the shore. The extension of the east breakwater is apparently desired to prevent erosion of the shore line and the consequent shoaling of the harbor area. The district engineer's study of conditions here leads him to the conclusion that no extension of the east breakwater short of connecting it with the shore would prevent erosion, and that such full extension would involve a length of breakwater of about 4,000 feet, at a cost entirely out of proportion to any possible benefits. Moreover, he questions the propriety of the United States undertaking the construction of breakwaters for the prevention of shore erosion. With reference to deepening the harbor area, the report shows that the project depth has been obtained in the entrance channel through the outer harbor and in the river, and that this depth compares favorably with the depths at other lake ports where most of the cargoes of iron ore originate, and, unless a general project for increased depths at all lake ports is contemplated, no increase at Lorain Harbor is warranted. For these several reasons the district engineer expresses the opinion that improvement beyond that authorized by the existing project is not advisable at the present time. The division engineer concurs in this view.

5. Interested parties were informed of the tenor of the district engineer's report and invited to submit statements and arguments to the board, but no communications on the subject have been received.

6. Under authority of the river and harbor act of March 4, 1915, an investigation of this harbor was made, with a view to preventing erosion of banks, if any, caused by the extension of the Government breakwaters on either side of the harbor. Report on this subject is printed in House Document No. 980, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session. The conclusion was then reached that erosion on the west side of the harbor was caused by the breakwater construction, but that erosion on the east side was not due to the breakwaters. Recommendation was made for extension of the west breakwater to the shore to correct this condition, and an appropriation for the work is contained in the river and harbor act of August 8, 1917. No conclusive evidence has now been presented to show that the east breakwater is responsible for the erosion complained of, while the location of this breakwater with respect to the shore line, as well as the configuration of the latter, are both such as to negative the assumption that the breakwater has had any harmful effect. As stated by the district engineer, an extension of no less than about 4,000 feet would be required to protect the shore line now subject to erosion, at a cost out of reasonable porportion to resulting benefits. The depth authorized by the existing project conforms to the depth obtaining generally at the Great Lakes harbors and required by the ore-carrying vessels, and there is no apparent reason why it should be increased, nor is there any probability of such commercial use of the outer harbor as would warrant an enlargement of the area now under improvement. The board, therefore, concurs in the opinion of the district and division engineers that it is not advisable at this time for the United States to undertake the improvement of Lorain Harbor to a greater extent than is authorized by the existing project.

7. In compliance with law, the board reports that there are no questions of terminal facilities, water power, or other related subjects which could be coordinated with the suggested improvement in such manner as to render the work advisable in the interests of commerce and navigation. For the Board:

PETER C. Hains,
Major General, United States Army (Retired),

Senior Member of the Board.

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