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Cuyahoga River watershed News Archive

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed open-lake disposal of dredged sediments from the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River into Lake Erie. Currently, dredged material is placed in confined disposal facilities. The Ohio EPA does not feel that the sediment quality will meet the open water placement criteria, and hopes to hold a public hearing in March. A Plain Dealer editorial called the proposal an "affront to environmental stewardship."

Update: the Ohio EPA's public meeting will be held on March 6. The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a web meeting on March 4.

Update 2: the Akron Beacon Journal also described the disagreement, and a second Plain Dealer editorial urged citizens to attend the Ohio EPA meeting and "speak out against open-lake dumping."

The $7.7 million reconstruction of Fleet Avenue in Cleveland includes $1 million in green infrastructure improvements. The complete and green street will feature bike lanes, tree plantings, bioswales, and pocket parks.

Removal of two Cuyahoga River dams in Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to begin in June. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plans in December. The City intended to remove the dams last year, but legal and regulatory issues created delays.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal described the process.

Project partners celebrated the completion of major restoration work on an unnamed tributary of Tinkers Creek in Hudson. The restored 2,000-foot stream near Hudson High School will improve water quality and reduce flooding, while serving as a living lab for students.

In Portage County, the City of Aurora will receive $4.7 million through the state's Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program to restore and protect more than a mile of the Aurora branch of the Chagrin River. The City will purchase 186 acres of the Aurora Golf Club to restore stream banks, forested areas, and wetlands.

The City of Parma and the Cleveland Metroparks received a $149,164 state grant for a constructed wetland project in the Big Creek Reservation. The Metroparks plan to design the wetland this winter and create it next summer.

The Port of Cleveland formally commissioned its two debris-removal boats in mid-October. Flotsam and Jetsam will be operated by crews from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and will patrol the Cuyahoga River's 6.5-mile shipping channel and about five miles of Lake Erie shoreline (PDF). Shortly after their launch, crews used the boats in the cleanup efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

A consultant for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority said that drying and mounding dredged sediment could add 20 years of capacity to existing confined disposal facilities, alleviating the need for new disposal sites. The Port also continues to explore opportunities for reusing the material.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation completed the sale of 2.4 acres at Rivergate Park to the Cleveland Metroparks. The park district will operate its Institute of the Great Outdoors at the new park in the Flats.

More than 250 supporters celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 0.6-mile stretch of the Towpath Trail on the Scranton Peninsula in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County posted video of the event. The $9.1 million project will also restore 2,800 feet of natural shoreline and create new fish habitats. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and a late summer 2013 opening is planned. A Plain Dealer editorial offered praise.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hired Lake Assault Boats of Wisconsin to build two aluminum work boats. They will be used to remove floating debris (PDF) from the Cuyahoga River and downtown Cleveland shoreline, and will be named Flotsam and Jetsam. The boats are expected to be ready by late summer.

A consultant for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is preparing a study that will recommend storage and reuse options for dredge material from the Cuyahoga River. The Port's Cleveland Harbor Dredge Task Force continues to meet quarterly.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is seeking bids (PDF) from boat builders for a pair of debris-removal barges. Port Authority staff hope to have them operating on the Cuyahoga River this summer.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation will transfer ownership and operations of a 2.8-acre portion of its Rivergate Park in the Flats to the Cleveland Metroparks. It is part of an existing and planned network of greenspaces and trails along the lower Cuyahoga River. The Rowing Foundation will continue its boathouse and rowing operations on the remainder of the 6.5-acre site.

Update: WKSU and Fresh Water reported on the new park, and the Metroparks posted video of the press conference.

On World Water Day, Environment America released a report titled Wasting Our Waterways 2012. It used Toxics Release Inventory data to identify the states and waterways with the most industrial pollution, and said industrial facilities released 9,184,661 pounds of toxic materials into Ohio waterways in 2010.

Cleveland City Council committees reviewed lakefront plans in a joint meeting last week. The plans would delineate responsibility for bulkhead maintenance along the lower Cuyahoga River.

The U.S. EPA approved the City of Akron's revised combined sewer overflow control plan. The plan also needs the approval of the Ohio EPA and a federal judge. The Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing on February 29. The federal judge rejected an earlier version of the plan last year.

The City of Cuyahoga Falls is preparing to remove two dams on the Cuyahoga River next year. Removal of the downtown dams is expected to be completed in July or August.

Republican and Democratic congressmen have different ideas for addressing the decrease in dredging of the lower Cuyahoga River.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman testified before the U.S. House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He urged Congress to take up a comprehensive reform of the Water Resources Development Act. The port authority would like the ability to manage its dredge material without waiting for approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Several local residential projects are under construction or being planned.

Three types of fish habitats are being tested in the lower Cuyahoga River through the green bulkheads project. In addition to the plant pockets (CHUBs), Floating Islands and Beemats are in place.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "it shows the kind of stewardship and initiative that have turned what was once a burning river into an environmental movement."

Research conducted by a Cleveland State University student indicates that the slope at Irishtown Bend shifted by more than six feet between 2006 and 2010. Sherrod Brown recently called attention to the slope subsidence problem to promote proposed federal investments in infrastructure.

The U.S. EPA collected a second set of Cuyahoga River sediment samples from behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Tests of the sediment are needed to determine the feasibility of removing the dam.

Cleveland Magazine looked at how rowers, environmentalists, and others are working to make the Flats more appealing and active by adding greenspace like the new Rivergate Park.

The City of Cuyahoga Falls is studying the possibility of removing two Cuyahoga River dams. Removal probably would not begin until next year.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $25.6 million in the second round of the Ohio New Markets Tax Credits, including $2 million to the Cleveland New Markets Investment Fund II. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded $300,033 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants, including $13,545 for Rocky River sub-watershed protection and restoration plans and $21,000 for the Tinkers Creek Watershed Community Engagement Project.

The U.S. EPA's research vessel Mudpuppy will return to Northeast Ohio in July to conduct tests on Cuyahoga River sediment behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park and in the old channel of the Cuyahoga River near its mouth in Cleveland.

The Ohio EPA awarded 10 grants through its Section 319 program to help communities address nonpoint source pollution. The $2.8 million in grants included a $184,429 grant (PDF) to Mayfield Village for the Chagrin River watershed, a $478,075 grant (PDF) to the City of Aurora for the Upper Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River, a $169,000 grant (PDF) to the Medina County Park District for the Chippewa Lake watershed, and a $57,078 grant (PDF) to Bath Township for the Yellow Creek watershed.

The agency also declared that brownfield remediation has been completed (PDF) at the Steel Slitting site on Aetna Road in Slavic Village, and issued a covenant not to sue.

Update: the Sun Messenger has more details about the grant received by Mayfield Village.

The Ohio EPA continues to support the removal of the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Costs could be as high as $10 million.

U.S. District Judge John Adams rejected the proposed consent decree intended to address Akron's combined sewer overflow issues. A civil trial is now scheduled to begin in his court on May 31. Akron officials say they are "extremely disappointed" and that they will appeal the ruling.

In Greater Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will hold a series of public meetings about proposed rate increases that would fund work identified in its combined sewer overflow consent decree. The NEORSD Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the changes in June.

Update: Mayor Plusquellic of Akron held a news conference on Friday. The Akron Beacon Journal summarized his remarks.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the judge should have allowed the City of Akron and the U.S. EPA more time to revise the agreement.

Tests conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that Cuyahoga River sediment is getting cleaner. If the results are confirmed in subsequent tests, it could enable the Army Corps to dispose of dredge material in Lake Erie or on land instead of in confined disposal facilities. The Army Corps dumps dredge material from Toledo's harbor into Lake Erie, a practice that is being challenged by environmentalists.

Monday's flooding destroyed a 104-year-old lowhead dam on the Chagrin River in Gates Mills. It was the last remaining dam between the river's mouth and Chagrin Falls. The storm also damaged the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights and led the sewer district to temporarily divert untreated wastewater directly into the Cuyahoga River.

Update: the Gates Mills dam probably won't be rebuilt. Its absence is expected to improve water quality and fish populations.

Update 2: repairs are underway at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A group of local paddlers is developing a plan for a Cuyahoga River water trail, and held a day-long workshop in Cuyahoga Falls. Officials in Cuyahoga Falls also anticipate that the removal of two dams will create conditions for whitewater rafting.

After incorporating input from Broadview Heights residents, the Elsa Drive Wetland Restoration and Protection Project (PDF) now calls for expanding the existing 1.9-acre wetland to 3.15 acres.

U.S. District Judge John Adams said he has "grave doubts" about the plans to reduce combined sewer overflows in Akron. He is concerned about the timing and lack of certainty, and could reject the proposed settlement between the City and the U.S. EPA. Members of Akron City Council are also unhappy about the consent decree, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial characterized their reactions as "predictable sticker shock."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that Judge Adams should allow the agreement to stand.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a $120,000 grant to Heidelberg University's National Center for Water Quality Research to monitor water quality of four Lake Erie tributaries, including the Cuyahoga River. Cleveland State University received a $34,983 grant to continue its support of the Ohio Balanced Growth Program's Best Local Land Use Practices guidance.

A Plain Dealer editorial dismissed the idea of straightening the Cuyahoga River. It added that Rock Ventures should share its plans for narrowing the river and discuss the proposal in public. Meanwhile, the Lake Carriers' Association suggested that narrowing the river would be acceptable to them if a nearby area was dredged, which would require removing the closed Eagle Avenue Lift Bridge.

Update: a second Plain Dealer editorial encourages the business community to publicly discuss the issues.

Update 2: the Greater Cleveland Partnership issued a response.

In response to Rock Ventures' proposal to narrow the Cuyahoga River at Collision Bend, the Flats Oxbow Association revived the idea (PDF) of straightening a portion of the river to bypass the river bend. The group did not propose a method of funding the concept.

Parma Heights City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Big Creek Watershed Balanced Growth Plan, a document completed earlier this year by the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization.

Update: Parma City Council also passed a resolution of support. The plan recommends preserving an 168-acre greenspace in southern Parma.

Update 2: It also makes recommendations for the Brook Park portion of the watershed.

The Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation is conducting riparian restoration at two sites along Big Creek's Chevy Branch. In Broadview Heights, the City will hold a public meeting on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming Elsa Drive Wetland Restoration and Protection Project.

Update: the Sun Star Courier summarized the meeting in Broadview Heights.

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures proposed narrowing the Cuyahoga River at Collision Bend behind Tower City Center in order to create additional room for parking and to provide a buffer for the planned downtown Cleveland casino. Alterations to the federal navigation channel require an act of Congress. Rock Ventures intends to break ground for the casino next year.

Brecksville City Council decided to halt a study of Cuyahoga River flooding issues. Members agreed that the funds should be used for other stormwater projects.

The U.S. EPA postponed plans to conduct additional sediment testing behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park, because its research vessel has been occupied with cleanup efforts for the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan. It will not be available until next year.

Akron officials expect that federally mandated sewer improvements will cost $650 million over the next 18 years, up from earlier estimates of $500 million. Residents already face a series of rate increases. The City will hold a public hearing on Wednesday evening in the Morley Health Center auditorium.

Update: AkronNewsNow summarized the meeting.

On Monday, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation closed a deal to purchase seven acres on the Columbus Road Peninsula for its planned Rivergate Park. The $3 million acquisition was done in partnership with The Trust for Public Land. The park is expected to open next summer.

The U.S. EPA awarded the first competitive grants under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The awards include a $1 million grant to the Ohio EPA for Cuyahoga River cleanup efforts. Next year's funding level for the program remains in question.

Participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the future of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and shipping issues in Cleveland. The guests, including new port CEO William Friedman, also discussed dredging plans.

The U.S. EPA extended the boundaries of the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern to include the 34-acre pool behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. The designation makes the area eligible for federal funding for testing and possible cleanup of contaminated sediment behind the dam.

The National Park Service selected Abcon Inc. of Youngstown to build the replacement Tinkers Creek Aqueduct on the Ohio & Erie Canal in Valley View. The $1.8 million project (PDF) will be funded by a federal stimulus grant.

FEMA awarded a $1.17 million grant to the Village of Valley View to protect houses from Cuyahoga River flooding. Thirteen homeowners are eligible to use the funds from FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program to elevate their houses. The grant will cover 75% of the costs.

Thirteen water quality improvement projects (PDF) in Cuyahoga County will receive a total of $2.3 million in grants (PDF) from Ohio's Surface Water Improvement Fund and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Ohio EPA and the Cuyahoga River RAP asked the U.S. EPA to extend the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern to include the dam in the Gorge Metro Park. The change could make the area eligible for federal funding to clean up contaminated sediment behind the dam.

Restoration of a Tinkers Creek tributary near Hudson High School is expected to begin this fall. Students in the school's environmental education program will participate in the project.

The closed Kellstone Quarry on Kelleys Island is being considered as an alternative to building a confined disposal facility for dredge material from the Port of Cleveland and Cuyahoga River. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials estimate that the 200-acre quarry has enough capacity to last 28 years.

Update: the Ohio EPA rejected the proposal and said that the site is unsuitable for storing contaminated sediment.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial said that "the quarry warrants further study."

The U.S. EPA announced the finalists for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant funding. The EPA is expected to spread $161 million across 270 projects, including $17.2 million for 28 projects in Ohio. The Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office received two $1.5 million grants for Cuyahoga River habitat restoration.

Update: Jane Goodman described the Cleveland-area projects.

The Plain Dealer looked at the history of the Cleveland Metroparks' West Creek Reservation in Parma and the projects underway at the park.

Update: the Parma Sun Post published more details about the planned $14 million of improvements.

Kent State University recently opened a canoe and kayak livery on the Cuyahoga River. The livery in Kent is the second on the Cuyahoga, joining Camp Hi in Hiram.

This year's RiverDay will be celebrated on Saturday and will feature a variety of events along the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries.

The Ohio EPA awarded grants for restoration of stretches of the Chagrin River and Little Cuyahoga River (PDFs). The Geauga Park District received $400,000 and the Lake Metroparks received $349,584 for projects along the Chagrin River, and the City of Akron received $400,000 for work along the Little Cuyahoga River.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal published more information about the project in Summit County and WKSU has more details about the Geauga County work. The Ohio EPA also awarded a $394,000 grant (PDF) to the West Creek Preservation Committee.

Preliminary tests of the sediment behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park found moderate contamination but no major toxic issues. The U.S. EPA wants to collect more samples.

In a letter to Governor Strickland, a top administrator with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that his office will be forced to stop dredging the Port of Cleveland and Cuyahoga River in five years unless a new confined disposal facility is built. Also available is the final report (PDF) from the dredging summit held in February. The Cleveland Dredge Task Force will hold its next meeting on May 5.

Update: Save Our Shore posted a copy of the letter.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation, with assistance from the Trust for Public Land, is nearing an agreement to purchase the former Commodore's Club Marina on the Columbus Road Peninsula for its proposed Rivergate Park. The group has raised $1.9 million of the $3.2 million needed to buy the seven-acre property, and the deadline has been extended to July 31. Mayor Jackson wants the City of Cleveland to offer a $300,000 low-interest loan for the acquisition.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a two-day Cleveland Harbor dredging summit (PDF) earlier this week.

The Plain Dealer concluded its Year of the River series with a look at the Cuyahoga River valley as a living laboratory. Industrial design students at the Cleveland Institute of Art used biomimicry to develop proposals for creating fish habitats in the river's shipping channel.

Akron City Council approved a series of sewer rate increases to pay for improvements identified in the settlement with the U.S. EPA. The first increase will be a 25% hike in 2010. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that while the higher rates will be painful, the work they fund will benefit the City.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is leading a project to restore a tributary of Tinkers Creek near Hudson High School. Hudson City Council recently approved an agreement for the project.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission approved six Balanced Growth Strategy grants for local watershed plans, including two in the Lake Erie watershed.

The Cleveland Rowing Foundation has an opportunity to purchase the former Commodore's Club Marina property on the Columbus Road Peninsula for a new boathouse and Rivergate Park. The organization has a March 31 deadline to raise $3.2 million for the seven-acre site.

The City of Cleveland applied for $219 million in federal funds to resolve the slope instability issues along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the application.

Through the West Creek Confluence Project, the West Creek Preservation Committee is reclaiming eight acres of urban wetlands where West Creek meets the Cuyahoga River in Independence (PDF).

Members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board revealed today that they are reconsidering plans to relocate to new facilities north of East 55th Street and efforts to attract container shipping. They also indicated that the Port Authority faces a budget shortfall this year and reflected on recent events. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Port Authority that failure to establish a new confined disposal facility by 2015 could halt dredging of the Cuyahoga River and the Port of Cleveland.

The owners of the Quay 55 apartments asserted that board member John Carney has conflicts of interest and called for his removal. Longtime port staffer Rose Ann DeLeon resigned on Wednesday, becoming the third official to leave in the last six weeks.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Ohio Attorney General, and Akron City Council approved the settlement of the lawsuit over the City's combined sewer overflows. It is subject to a 60-day public comment period and approval by a federal judge. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial assessed the repercussions of the agreement.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District issued two reports: a survey of water quality and habitat in the middle Cuyahoga River (PDF) and an assessment of West Creek (PDF).

The National Park Service completed (PDF) its environmental assessment for the proposed replacement of the Tinkers Creek Aqueduct in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It recommends the construction of a replacement aqueduct. The assessment's public comment period ends on November 29.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is compiling a list of projects (PDF) for potential funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It includes funding for the removal of two dams on the Cuyahoga River.

An industrial design class at the Cleveland Institute of Art is using a biomimicry approach for devising improvements to fish habitats in the lower Cuyahoga River.

The City of Akron and the U.S. EPA reached a tentative agreement on the combined sewer overflow lawsuit brought by the EPA. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the City will build additional sewer separation projects, upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, help fund the removal of Canal Diversion Dam on the Cuyahoga River, and pay fines. Sewer rates could rise substantially.

Updates: sewer rates may double or triple during the 19-year sewer project. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial asserts that federal clean water mandates should be "backed by a reliable funding stream to local governments.."

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is beginning (PDF) an environmental impact statement for the modification or removal of the Canal Diversion Dam on the Cuyahoga River in Brecksville. The dam provides water for the Ohio & Erie Canal, but impairs the river's water quality. The study will attempt to balance the historic preservation and environmental perspectives. The public is invited to provide input at a meeting at the Happy Days Lodge on October 28.

As anticipated, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended building a new 157-acre confined disposal facility north of East 55th Street in Cleveland. The $277 million project would provide capacity for 20 years of dredge material from the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor.

The U.S. EPA's research vessel Mudpuppy is sampling the sediment behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Results of the tests should be available early next year. The Ohio EPA wants to remove the dam, but FirstEnergy would like it to stay.

Jim White of the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization spoke at the City Club today "about the recovery of the Cuyahoga River as a part of a new regional economy (MP3, 54.1 MB)."

Freshwater mussels were recently found in the lower Cuyahoga River, just upstream from the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. Because mussels are sensitive to pollution, their presence is seen as a sign of the river's continued environmental recovery.

On Thursday, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO Adam Wasserman and architect Stanton Eckstut described the downtown Cleveland port redevelopment plan at the City Club (MP3, 55.8 MB). On Friday, they presented the plan to the Cleveland City Planning Commission, where members had many questions about the concept. Adam Wasserman and the Port's Luke Frazier outlined the plan on Channel 3. Also on Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave its tentative approval to the Port's relocation plan, issuing a 241-page draft of its Cleveland Harbor Dredged Material Management Plan & Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 8.4 MB). A Plain Dealer editorial says that the relocation and redevelopment plans need "a good deal more attention to detail". The Port Authority is preparing My Cleveland Waterfront, a website about the plans.

Update: Port Authority Chairman Steven Williams disputed several items in a Plain Dealer story.

The Akron Beacon Journal looked at the legacy of George P. Smith of Cuyahoga Falls, an advocate for the Cuyahoga River in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is conducting an environmental assessment for the second phase of the Tinkers Creek Aqueduct rehabilitation and replacement in Valley View. Phase 1, the construction of a pedestrian bridge and the routing of water through temporary pipes, was completed in 2007. The proposed phase 2 includes the installation of new aqueduct structure, and would be funded with $1 to $2 million of federal stimulus funds. The National Park Service will accept public comments until July 31.

Update: the Sun Courier has more details.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the U.S. EPA should delist portions of the Cuyahoga River, saying that "the insistence that delisting come only after all segments of the 112-mile river are pronounced pristine defies common sense." The paper also published historic photographs of the polluted river from the 1960s.

The July issue of Cleveland Magazine features a set of articles about the 40th anniversary of the the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire.

On the 40th anniversary of the famous fire on the Cuyahoga River, some of those involved with its cleanup shared their memories with the Plain Dealer. Others appeared on WCPN's Sound of Ideas program this morning. The U.S. EPA praised Ohio for its progress in restoring the river, but declined to remove portions of the Cuyahoga from its list of Areas of Concern. The agency wants to see environmental recovery along the entire length of the river.

A Plain Dealer editorial recognized the anniversary and the cleanup of the river, while the paper's Joe Frolik cited examples of what makes the Cuyahoga's comeback a success story. Jeff Opperman said that "Cleveland must redouble its efforts to recast the burning river story" as "a symbol of hope" for the world. The U.S. EPA's Mark Moloney also added his thoughts. Chris Varley, on the other hand, said that we still have a long way to go and that there "is remarkably little to celebrate."

Update: NPR's All Things Considered also aired a report on the anniversary.

Monday, June 22 will mark the 40th anniversary of the last fire on the Cuyahoga River. As part of the Year of the River celebrations, a variety of events will be held along the River on Saturday, from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to Settlers Landing in the Flats. At 9:00 this evening, WVIZ will show Walking the River, an hour-long documentary first aired in November.

Update: Jim White of the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization spoke about the cleaner river on WCPN.

The Cuyahoga River's water quality and fish populations are improving, and it also is increasing in popularity as a recreation destination. The middle Cuyahoga's Class IV rapids attract whitewater kayakers.

Advanced Hydro Solutions' Metro Hydroelectric subsidiary dropped its plans to reestablish hydroelectric power generation at a Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. The company surrendered its preliminary permit (PDF) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday.

Update: WKSU has more information.

The Plain Dealer's Year of the River series looked at the steadily improving health of the middle Cuyahoga River and the increasing quantity and diversity of its fish. Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District staffers conduct electrofishing surveys to assess the fish populations.

The Ohio EPA awarded nine 319 grants, including a $329,208 grant to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to restore an unnamed tributary of Tinkers Creek (PDF) in Hudson and a $249,984 grant to Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to restore sections of Furnace Run (PDF) in Richfield. Meanwhile, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission gave a $15,000 grant to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute for a land use planning project, and gave a $14,900 grant to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners to develop a clean water web portal.

The Ohio Nowcast, a system that provides water quality data for area beaches, is operating for the season. Information is available for Edgewater Beach, Huntington Beach, and new for 2009, the Cuyahoga River at Jaite.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported on the apparent early success of the CHUBs installed in the Cuyahoga River's navigation channel and the efforts to obtain delisting for four of the identified environmental impairments in the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern.

Tim Grendell and Chris Varley discussed Northeast Ohio's water resources at the City Club today (MP3, 55.3 MB). It was the final event in the "Water–Our Region's Biggest Asset" series.

On Monday, Brooklyn City Council voted to accept the Big Creek Trail and Neighborhood Connector Plan, and reassured apprehensive residents that a trail would not run through their back yards.

The Plain Dealer's recognition of the Year of the River continues with a look at how the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped to advance the environmental movement at a national level and the myths that surround it. The resulting 1972 Clean Water Act has played a large role in the improvement of the River's water quality.

The Plain Dealer continues its series on the Year of the River with a look at the Cuyahoga River's ongoing environmental recovery. While it still fails to meet eight of the U.S. EPA's 14 criteria, the river is becoming cleaner and healthier.

The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization appointed Maia Peck as its first watershed coordinator for the Middle Cuyahoga River. She will advocate for and build partnerships around a 12-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries in Summit, Portage, and Stark counties.

Now that the Lower Big Creek Valley Greenway Redevelopment & Restoration Plan has been adopted by the City of Cleveland, backers have begun seeking funding for the implementation of the $11 million plan.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission today unanimously approved the Lower Big Creek Valley Greenway Redevelopment & Restoration Plan (PDF, 79.1 MB). It calls for investments of nearly $11 million in a trail network and environmental restoration projects. The new trails will connect Brookside Reservation and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with the Towpath Trail.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers shared findings about the Cuyahoga River slope instability problem above Irishtown Bend in Cleveland. This summer, the Corps will offer several plans for addressing the problem.

Environmentalists want to remove the canal diversion dam on the Cuyahoga River in Brecksville in order to improve the river's health. However, the dam supplies water to the Ohio & Erie Canal, a National Historic Landmark. The Ohio EPA and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are studying ways to remove the dam and keep water flowing through the canal. A Plain Dealer editorial supports their efforts.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the hillside subsidence problem above Irishtown Bend in Cleveland needs to be addressed now.

On February 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will present preliminary findings about the slope instability problems along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend. Mayor Jackson listed the area as one of his priorities for obtaining federal infrastructure dollars.

Update: WKSU has more details.

This June will mark the 40th anniversary of the best-known fire on the Cuyahoga River. In recognition of the ongoing environmental recovery of the River, the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization declared 2009 as the Year of the River. A Plain Dealer feature explored the history of the Cuyahoga's pollution problems, its role in the dawn of the environmental movement, and its subsequent cleanup.

Runoff from increased exurban development around the Cuyahoga Valley National Park continues to cause erosion problems along the Cuyahoga River. Park officials are developing natural systems approaches to controlling erosion.

The Ohio Department of Development will distribute more than $83 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to communities across the state. Cuyahoga County will receive $1.3 million, the City of Cleveland will receive $9.4 million, and Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Lakewood, and Parma will also receive awards. The dollars are in addition to the appropriations directly awarded to cities and counties in September. The Ohio Department of Development also announced that Cuyahoga County will receive a $2.15 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant. It will be used to remediate property along the Cuyahoga River's Old Channel and prepare it for Great Lakes Towing Company's $23 million ship building project.

Update: Cuyahoga County and the Great Lakes Towing Company will supply local matches for the Clean Ohio grant.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded a $27,000 grant to the City of Parma from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund. It will be used for the acquisition of a 2.85-acre riparian site near West Creek.

A USGS study of Tinkers Creek and its tributaries detected "a total of 12 antibiotic, 20 pharmaceutical, 41 wastewater, and 22 hydrophobic compounds" in the water at one or more sites. It did not identify whether their presence poses a threat to plants, wildlife, or humans. Further testing is planned.

The City of Solon is developing a long-term stormwater management plan that will replace a plan written by consultants last year.

WVIZ will broadcast the television premiere of the documentary film Walking the River tonight at 10:00 p.m. It will be shown four more times over the next week.

Ohio EPA officials are not satisfied with the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a Twinsburg medical campus, and suggested further modifications. The Clinic submitted a second revision on Friday.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

The developers of the rejected Oak Knoll subdivision are suing the City of Independence. A judge dismissed two of the developers' claims, but a third suit is still pending.

Channel 3 shows how a Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District water assessment squad tests Cuyahoga River water quality by examining the fish population.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting $100,000 Flood Risk Management Studies for the Cuyahoga River valley communities of Brooklyn Heights, Independence, Valley View, and Walton Hills. Congressman Kucinich said that the studies will create a better understanding of the causes of flooding and approaches to flood risk mitigation.

The Twinsburg Planning Commission approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a medical campus on Darrow Road near I-480.

Preliminary results of a study of the upper Cuyahoga River indicate that much of it will meet Ohio EPA standards for fishability. The number of fish and aquatic insect species identified was a significant improvement over the previous study, conducted in 2000. High bacteria levels still prevent the river from being declared swimmable.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted revised plans for a new medical complex off of Darrow Road in Twinsburg. The changes are intended to lessen the impacts upon the 86 acre site's wetlands and springs.

The Ohio EPA remains concerned about the effects of a proposed Cleveland Clinic facility on wetlands and streams in Twinsburg. The Clinic is seeking permission to fill in some of the property's high-quality wetlands and rare cold-water springs. The two sides are continuing negotiations.

Voters in Brecksville may have the opportunity to vote on riparian setback rules in a spring election.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati reversed a lower court decision that had granted Advanced Hydro Solutions access to the Gorge Metro Park in Summit County. The Court of Appeals returned the case to U.S. District Court in Akron with instructions to dismiss it (PDF) for lack of jurisdiction.

Crain's Cleveland Business reports on the green bulkheads project and the installation (PDF) of CHUBs in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel. The coverage includes a story and a video report.

Local government agencies are collaborating to address the slope instability problems along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend in Cleveland.

The green bulkheads project will proceed this week with the installation of up to 400 plant pockets in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel.

Walking the River (PDF), a new documentary about the Cuyahoga River from Blue Hole Productions, will premiere on August 15 at the Happy Days Lodge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. WVIZ plans to broadcast the film this fall.

Update: WKSU interviewed the filmmakers.

FEMA awarded the City of Valley View approximately $1 million through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The funds will be used to elevate up to 21 homes and for the acquisition and demolition of two others that have suffered repetitive flooding.

Close to 200 people attended the concrete-breaking ceremony for the West Creek Confluence Project on Friday. The restoration of the ten acre site in Independence will be completed in three to five years.

The cities of Brecksville, Broadview Heights, and North Royalton passed legislation in support of the Chippewa Creek Balanced Growth Initiative.

The Gund Foundation announced its latest round of grants, which include $50,000 to the West Creek Preservation Committee for the West Creek Confluence Project.

The Free Times examines the potential for the blockage of the Cuyahoga River Federal Navigation Channel and critiques local and federal efforts to address slope subsidence and bulkhead failure issues that threaten the shoreline.

A concrete-breaking celebration (PDF) for the West Creek Confluence Project will be held on July 11 in Independence.

Update: the Plain Dealer supplies more information.

As part of its preparations for a regional stormwater management program, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is conducting an extensive study of the Cuyahoga River watershed.

A land use study was released for the Route 8 corridor in Northern Summit County yesterday. It includes an analysis of 918 acres in Macedonia, Boston Heights, and Northfield Center Township. Less than half of the area is developable because of environmental restrictions on the land. Among other items, the study identified opportunities that a restoration of Brandywine Creek could create.

Update: Silverlode Consulting Corp.'s slideshow (PDF, 1.9 MB) is now online.

Advanced Hydro Solutions still wants to build a hydroelectric plant at the Cuyahoga River dam in the Gorge Metro Park. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated the application for the project last June, but the company is now seeking a renewal of the permit.

Twinsburg City Council rejected a proposed riparian setback ordinance that would have established a 120 foot buffer along Tinkers Creek.

The construction of a wastewater storage basin in Akron reduced combined sewer overflows from 40 in 2006 to 17 in 2007. City officials are also working on a sewer separation plan.

Members of the Cuyahoga Valley Regional Council of Governments have begun discussing the possibility of collaborating on watershed-wide stormwater planning efforts.

While cleanup efforts have resolved most point source pollution problems facing the upper Cuyahoga River, nonpoint source pollution and combined sewer overflows continue to be a challenge to improving water quality. On Thursday evening, the Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting about the possible impacts of a proposed water treatment plant in Mantua.

The documentary The Return of the Cuyahoga and current Cuyahoga River restoration and conservation efforts were the subjects of this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN. The guests were filmmakers Larry Hott and Len Materman, and also CPC director Paul Alsenas and Jane Goodman of the Cuyahoga River RAP.

Reminder: WVIZ will air the documentary film The Return of the Cuyahoga on Tuesday, April 22 at 9:00 p.m., in conjunction with Earth Day 2008.

Work on the West Creek Confluence Project in Independence is scheduled to begin this summer, and the restoration of the site should be completed by 2010. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is also involved in several related projects in Parma and Brooklyn Heights.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will spend $150,000 on efforts to reduce the impacts of increased stormwater runoff on Furnace Run and its Rock Creek tributary.

Brook Park officials say that they are cooperating to develop a plan for easing flooding concerns.

The Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan will hold three day-long community workshops for local officials and residents. The first, on January 19, will be on the Brandywine Creek watershed. Workshops on the Mud Brook and Furnace Run watersheds will follow on February 16 and March 1. All will be held at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Happy Days Visitors Center.

Beavers have recently made a home at Whiskey Island near downtown Cleveland, a sign that environmental restoration efforts are showing progress.

Work will begin next summer in restoring a 10 acre site at the confluence of West Creek and the Cuyahoga River in Independence. The City of Independence and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are also planning Hemlock Trail, a 1.5 to 1.7 mile long multi-purpose trail through Independence and Valley View that would connect the Towpath Trail to Brecksville Road.

The City of Solon has begun developing a long-term stormwater management plan. The City's director of public works says that the process is "going to take a long time."

At a public meeting late last month, residents provided input and ideas in the planning process for the Lower Big Creek Valley Greenway Redevelopment & Restoration Plan.

Increasing suburban development in the Furnace Run watershed in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties has created additional runoff, which is causing more erosion and sedimentation downstream, according to a report from the Ohio EPA (PDF).

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the region shares responsibility for protecting the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and that park officials have made a compelling case for cooperation.

Plans for Hathaway Park in Garfield Heights will affect up to 0.21 acres of wetlands and 3,285 feet of stream. The Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting about the potential impacts on November 15 at the Garfield Heights Civic Center.

John Debo, Superintendent of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, says that the biggest problems the park faces are "flooding, flooding, and flooding." Increased runoff from recent exurban development in communities surrounding the Park has worsened the problem. In response, the Park has begun working with the communities to improve their stormwater management techniques.

The City of Seven Hills has begun experimenting with permeable paving in an effort to reduce runoff and flooding.

North Royalton City Council is considering a measure that would require wetlands or riparian areas lost to development to be remediated within the City. If suitable sites are unavailable, mitigation could be done outside of the City.

Wade Trim completed the Stream Assessment for Chippewa Creek (PDF) it prepared for the City of Brecksville. City officials say that it will take three years to implement the first phase of the report's recommendations, and six to seven years to complete them all.

Now that Broadview Heights enacted fees to fund stormwater projects, City officials will begin to prioritize the projects.

Peter Annin, the author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, was recently in town, and he spoke to WSKU's Karen Schaefer about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Akron's water diversions.

Several municipalities in Cuyahoga County are attempting to address stormwater issues in different ways:

Meanwhile, grass-roots efforts are spurring different approaches as illustrated by South Euclid's and Broadview Heights' examination of "green infrastructure" methods such as rain barrels and Brecksville's construction of a stormwater facility.

With funding in place, work on the first phase of the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan is beginning. It's expected to continue through spring 2008.

Brooklyn Heights' leaders plan to use the Cuyahoga Valley, the Village's central location, and the Towpath Trail (including the West Creek Greenway) as the linchpins of the Village's redevelopment plans.

Last month, North Royalton City Council extended the development moratorium for in Chippewa Creek watershed for an additional six months. A management plan is being developed for the watershed.

Broadview Heights City Council's Stormwater Committee is preparing for a public hearing on proposed fees to fund stormwater projects. It will be held on August 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Broadview Heights City Hall.

The first phase of the Tinkers Creek Aqueduct project in Valley View was completed, and the section of the canal was reopened. Phase two is under design, and the National Park is seeking $1 million for construction.

Broadview Heights City Council will not vote on the proposed stormwater funding fee until August 13 at the earliest.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refused to reconsider its termination of a permit for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park.

The Stormwater Committee of Broadview Heights City Council recommended charging residents and businesses a monthly fee to fund stormwater projects. The full council is currently discussing the proposal.

Advanced Hydro Solutions asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its application for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park. The federal agency terminated the application last month.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District committed $3 million for the construction of the planned Watershed Stewardship Center at the Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation in Parma. Meanwhile, the City of Independence purchased the former Seaman's Furniture Warehouse at the confluence of West Creek and the Cuyahoga River. The structures on the 10 acre property will be demolished and the site will be used for parkland, open space, riparian restoration, and flood control.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a $10,000 grant to Cleveland State University to study the nutrient structure of the Cuyahoga River, and a $9,999 grant to the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District to establish riparian buffers on residential properties in the Rocky River watershed.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated Advanced Hydrosolutions' application for a hydroelectric project in the Gorge Metro Park because the company was unable to gain access to the park. Company President David Sinclair says they are reviewing the decision and are still pursuing the project.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is soliciting public input on the environmental assessment for proposed modifications to the Virginia Kendall Dam in northern Summit County. The deadline for feedback is June 30.

Mittal Steel donated $30,000 and close to an acre of land along the west bank of the Cuyahoga River for the development of green bulkheads. The land will also be used for the extension of the Towpath Trail through Cleveland.

The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded grants to local initiatives and economic development organizations, including $90,000 to the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association for a study of regional tax sharing and other collaborations, $200,000 to NorTech for work with the Cuyahoga County Energy Task Force on the Lake Erie wind turbine feasibility study, and $335,000 to the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office. In addition, the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization received a $49,954 grant from the Ohio EPA to conduct a public awareness campaign about watersheds.

Removal of the historic Tinkers Creek aqueduct is underway, and should be completed in July. Cuyahoga Valley National Park officials have not obtained funding to build the planned replacement, but hope that in can be built in 2008.

The City of Brecksville may purchase 3.27 acres in Broadview Heights to create a stormwater detention basin. Approvals from the Broadview Heights Planning Commission and City Council are needed for the project to proceed.

The Ohio Department of Natural resources awarded $250,000 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants. The awards included $19,950 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to conduct the Big Creek Watershed Management Plan, and $11,000 to Northeast Shores Development Corporation for the Euclid Beach Fishing Pier Feasibility Study.

This morning's edition of the The Sound of Ideas on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of rivers in Northeast Ohio, canoeing, and related subjects. The guests were author John Manuel, Cuyahoga Valley National Park biologist Lisa Petit, and activist Ed Hauser.

Many events are scheduled for the 17th annual RiverDay tomorrow, and Christopher Knopf of the Trust for Public Land writes about the organization's conservation efforts around the Cuyahoga River.

Developers of Bridgeview Crossing have obtained some, but not all, of the stormwater permits needed to resume construction of the shopping center.

About 100,000 gallons of contaminated water remain in Solon after an industrial fire at Erico on Solon Road. Hazmat crews erected earthen barriers to contain the spill, but some oil has reached a Tinkers Creek tributary, and Ohio EPA officials are concerned that forecasted rain may cause the water to overflow the barriers.

Feedback from residents was positive at the first in a series of meetings convened by the West Creek Preservation Committee. The final meeting will be held at the Parmatown Conference Center in Parmatown Mall on May 7 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

A federal appeals court rejected Advanced Hydrosolutions' suit to gain access to Gorge Metro Park, overturning a lower court and indicating that the case belongs in state court. The company is seeking access to the park to conduct environmental tests for a proposed Gorge Park Dam hydroelectric project, which is opposed by the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Frances Whitehead and Lisa Norton have proposed the idea of the "superorg" as a model for integrating the artist's perspective, ecological design, and industrual regeneration in the public planning of the Towpath Trail Extension. Their work is being shown at SPACES gallery as part of the Shrinking Cities exhibition.

The City of Brecksville hired Wade Trim to conduct to assess the middle branch of Chippewa Creek. The study will examine the overall condition of the riparian area and provide suggestions for addressing the stability of the banks and channel.

Broadview Heights City Council hired a company to design two stormwater projects and study another. The work should be completed by July 1, and City Council hopes to have a funding mechanism in place by then.

Although demolition work continues, construction of the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center in Garfield Heights remains halted while a stormwater management plan is reviewed. Developer Snider-Cannata Interests submitted a plan on April 6.

The West Creek Preservation Committee will host a series of public meetings about the planned West Creek Greenway, which would link the West Creek Reservation to the Towpath Trail. The first meeting will be held on April 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Brooklyn Heights Community Center.

The Broadview Heights City Council Stormwater Committee met for the first time last week. They hope to craft a plan for funding stormwater improvements in the City that does not involve the previously rejected assessments.

Early last week, the City of Garfield Heights shut down construction of the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center because the builders had no plan for stormwater management at the construction site. Developer Snider-Cannata plans to submit plans soon.

The latest round of grants from the Cleveland Foundation includes $4.2 million for Neighborhood Progress Incorporated, $450,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and $200,000 to help fund a feasibility study for Lake Erie wind turbines. Also, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded $9,974 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to inventory land use regulations of communities in the Cuyahoga River watershed.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Ohio EPA, to be released later this year or in early 2008, may answer some questions regarding unhealthy fish populations in upstream Tinkers Creek. The questions involve levels of turbidity, as well as the presence and effect of pharmaceutical products in the stream.

By a vote of 4-5, Broadview Heights City Council rejected a proposal for assessing residents to fund stormwater projects. Some favor creating a stormwater utility, which they say would be fairer to residents and help pay for future projects.

(Update: the Sun Courier offers more information.)

Cuyahoga County cities impacted by last summer's flooding have adopted a variety of policies and funding mechanisms to deal with the problem, but many of the efforts are too late to protect against possible flooding this spring.

Prompted by last summer's flooding, Brecksville officials identified 40 residential and 24 industrial retention basins in the city, and will notify owners of their maintenance responsibilities. The City of Broadview Heights recently took a similar action.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park does not support the proposed retail and residential development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club, because it would cause increased flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems along Brandywine Creek, and also create traffic congestion, ruin the area's rural character, and degrade the National Park.

North Royalton activists were unable to obtain a grant to create the proposed Chippewa Creek Preserve, so the North Royalton Board of Education sold the 10 acres to Zillich Homes for $285,000 and 3 acres of land.

As part of their efforts to address stormwater issues, Broadview Heights City Council is discussing a proposal to evenly split the costs of storm sewer repairs with affected property owners.

The Chippewa Creek Watershed Planning Partnership is beginning the process of identifying the necessary steps to restore and maintain the watershed.

As part of their stormwater management program, the City of Broadview Heights will begin requiring inspections of retention basins to make sure they are working properly.

The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization has launched a new website. It includes information about their three main programs, the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, the Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative, and CLEERTEC, as well as other information, including presentations from the Cuyahoga River Connections symposium held in October.

(via GreenCityBlueLake)

Yesterday, Ohio Citizen Action released Smoke and Mirrors (MS Word, 4 MB), a report accusing Mittal Steel of failing to accurately disclose the emissions from its Cleveland mill. Mittal officials countered that the plant meets federal regulations and employs standard reporting methodologies.

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