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Lake Erie 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."

Ideastream hosted conversations about waterfront plans in Cleveland, discussing the issues on The Sound of Ideas, and continuing with a Cleveland Connects community conversation. The keynote speaker at the Cleveland Connects event was Lisa Schroeder of Riverlife in Pittsburgh. Participants discussed the opportunities and potential for lakefront development.

The City of Cleveland, meanwhile, unveiled plans for a new transient marina at North Coast Harbor. It's scheduled to open this fall. The City also issued a request for qualifications for developers interested in managing and financing development at Harbor West and North Coast Harbor.

The federally-funded Wildwood Lacustrine Refuge Stream and Wetland Restoration Project in Cleveland is in its final stages. The Euclid Creek Watershed Program Partners planned a July 10 celebration, but it was rescheduled due to inclement weather, and will now be a part of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District's annual Conservation Day on September 21.

LEEDCo received the first installment of a $4 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, and has one year to develop detailed plans for its Lake Erie wind farm in Cleveland. The project is in competition with six other projects for up to $46 million in federal funding. Fresh Water interviewed Dave Karpinski, LEEDCo's vice president of operations.

Due to unresolved legal questions, Cuyahoga County postponed issuing a request for proposals for the planned wind farm in Lake Erie. The County intends to issue the request for geotechnical services next year.

via GLIN

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci issued a ruling (PDF) in Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie property lines case, which was remanded to his court by the Ohio Supreme Court last year. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is appealing the decision. Lakefront property owners praised the ruling and denounced the decision to appeal.

Through its Wildwood Stream and Wetland Restoration Project, the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District is working to establish a 2.5-acre wetland and several smaller wetlands in Wildwood Lakefront State Park in Cleveland. The project is funded by a $1.4 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.

In its annual Testing the Waters report, the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked water quality at Ohio beaches as the second-lowest of the 30 states with coastlines. Villa Angela and Euclid Beach were included in the report's list of "repeat offenders" for having contamination problems in each of the past five years. Most Great Lakes states scored poorly. The NRDC released the report at the Great Lakes Science Center to recognize the area's investments in green infrastructure. Previous reports: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005.

Update: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Executive Director Julius Ciaccia wrote about his agency's efforts to improve the situation.

The Ohio Senate passed Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation by a 20-12 vote, opting not to make changes to the bill. Environmentalists and other groups said that the standards it establishes fail to provide adequate protection for Lake Erie and its tributaries. Governor Kasich quietly signed the bill over their objections. The Ohio Environmental Council said that "Ohio has left Lake Erie with an uncertain future," and a Plain Dealer editorial said that the Governor has the opportunity to address the its flaws through "strict monitoring and enforcement of the new limits and by tweaking the law".

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission voted 6-2 to deny a $5 million grant to LEEDCo for its proposed Lake Erie pilot wind farm project. To reduce construction costs, LEEDCo is considering smaller turbines for the project.

Update: Ed FitzGerald and Ronn Richard urged the Third Frontier program to "reconsider funding the LEEDCo application."

By a vote of 59-38, the Ohio House of Representatives approved implementing legislation for the Great Lakes Compact. The bill, which includes limits on water withdrawals from Lake Erie and its tributaries, now moves to the Ohio Senate. Environmental groups maintain their objections to provisions of the legislation, calling it "an unbalanced bill". An editorial in Toledo's Blade said the bill is "not good enough", while Plain Dealer editorials encourage the Senate to "examine deficiencies glossed over in the House" and criticize State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann's involvement.

Update: another Plain Dealer editorial says that "lawmakers must dig deeper and fix the flaws" in the bill and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "Ohio Senate still has an opportunity to craft improved legislation".

Environmental groups continue to express concerns about the Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation under discussion in the Ohio House of Representatives. Editorials in the Akron Beacon Journal and the Blade reflected those concerns. Governor Kasich and Representative Wachtmann, the bill's sponsor, announced that they reached an agreement (PDF) about the legislation. Details of the agreement are not yet available.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial identified opportunities for improving the legislation. A Plain Dealer editorial said that if Governor "Kasich is serious about legislation to protect Lake Erie, he needs to find a more credible sponsor than State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann."

Update 2: the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. A floor vote may be held soon. Environmentalists continue to object to provisions in the bill.

The Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee is considering the Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation recently introduced by Representative Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon. Business interests said they have "serious reservations" about the bill.

A revised Great Lakes Compact implementation bill was introduced in the Ohio House by Representative Lynn Wachtmann. Governor Kasich, who vetoed an earlier version of the bill, said that the legislation has issues that remain unresolved. Environmental groups said that the bill is improved, but should be strengthened in some areas, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial also made some suggestions. Joe Koncelik concluded that it would move "Ohio much closer to the other Great Lakes States in how it regulates future water withdrawals from the Great Lakes Basin."

Update: in an article, the Plain Dealer looked at the issues, and in an editorial said that Rep. Wachtmann is the wrong person to lead the process.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin said that it may be "time to rein in expectations" for offshore wind turbines in Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer described the status of the planned Lake Erie ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario.

Update: the News-Herald provided additional perspectives. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the "ferry is still an intriguing idea," while Bill Callahan pointed out some details.

Congress approved $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2012. It also authorized $533 million in low-interest loans for Great Lakes states to address combined sewer overflows. The National Wildlife Federation called it "a significant victory for fish, wildlife and the Great Lakes," while an editorial in Toledo's Blade said "it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

Update: a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial adds that it "sounds like a substantial sum, but it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

Officials in Central Elgin, Ontario say that the planned Cleveland-to-Port Stanley ferry will not begin operations before 2013.

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary)

Governor Kasich proposed a new Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. It would set lower limits on water withdrawals from Lake Erie and its tributaries than the legislation he vetoed in July. The bill may be formally introduced in December or January.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the proposed legislation is stronger than the vetoed bill.

Update 2: Tom Henry offered some analysis.

Chicago's WBEZ reported on the challenges facing the proposed offshore wind farm north of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority President William Friedman spoke at the City Club (MP3, 52.1 MB) about the Port's plans and accomplishments. The Port Authority has also identified a preferred provider for the planned Lake Erie ferry.

Update: Bill Callahan posted more information about the ferry plans.

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie property lines case. The court reversed a lower court decision, and said that public's land "extends to the natural shoreline, which is the line at which the water usually stands when free from disturbing causes." Environmental groups and property owners both claimed victory.

Update: the Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, and Blade published editorials on the decision. Ken Kilbert of the University of Toledo analyzed the ruling.

Frank Jackson advocated for the construction of the Lake Erie wind farm in a Plain Dealer op-ed, saying it represents "a vision of our regional economy as a national leader in renewable energy and a major economic growth sector."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz explored the current situation.

Three potential operators of the proposed Lake Erie ferry submitted proposal packages by the August 15 deadline. Officials in Cleveland and Central Elgin are reviewing the submissions.

Update: Bill Callahan shared his perspective and called for a public discussion of the plans.

Several companies have expressed interest in operating a Lake Erie ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario. Potential providers must respond by August 15.

(via GLIN)

The U.S. EPA announced $4.5 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for 11 projects in Ohio. The awardees include the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (PDF). Work is underway on a project at Huntington Beach, one of the projects funded last year.

The Ohio General Assembly may attempt to override Governor Kasich's veto of the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill.

(via Great Lakes Echo)

Update: PolitiFact Ohio evaluated Tim Grendell's claims about Lake Erie. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that lawmakers should listen to the "wide range of knowledgeable voices calling for improved legislation" instead of pursuing an override.

Gail Hesse of Columbus was selected as the new executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. She will begin on August 15.

Under pressure by officials from inside and outside Ohio, Governor Kasich vetoed the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill passed by the General Assembly. In a statement (PDF), he said that portions of the bill "must be improved." It was his first veto as governor. Editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal supported his decision, while Tom Henry found the entire episode embarrassing. The bill's sponsors said they would seek to override the veto.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the legislation.

Update 2: Brent Larkin said that "although Kasich's veto will not be overridden, this isn't the end of it."

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, looks at state implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. It focuses on three areas: water diversions, conservation and efficiency, and water withdrawal permitting. The Plain Dealer again urges Governor Kasich to veto the Ohio bill.

Update: the Detroit News, Morning Journal, and Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council also call for a veto. New York officials dislike the bill, too.

Using water quality and public notification data, the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked the water quality of beaches in 30 coastal states. The 21st annual Testing the Waters (PDF) report scored Ohio (PDF) as having the second-highest percentage of monitoring samples that exceeded national health standards, a poorer performance than last year. Villa Angela beach in Cleveland was included in the report's list of top 10 repeat offenders. Some Great Lakes beach and health professionals have issues with the report's methodology.

Officials from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario will jointly issue a request for expression of interest (PDF) for ferry service between Cleveland and Port Stanley.

By a vote of 25-8, the Ohio Senate passed a Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. The Ohio House approved the legislation last week. Its protections are the weakest of any Great Lakes state.

Update: editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourage Governor Kasich to veto the bill. The Ohio Environmental Council and Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation are also critical of the bill. Governor Kasich is expected to sign the bill in the next two weeks.

Update 2: Great Lakes Echo analyzed the situation, while a Detroit Free Press editorial objects to the bill and a Plain Dealer editorial says it could lead to an increase in toxic blue-green algae.

In a party-line vote, the Ohio House passed the Republican-backed Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. The Ohio Senate is now considering the legislation, and former Governor Bob Taft testified against it in a committee hearing.

Update: George Voinovich and Sam Speck also oppose the bill. Editorials in the Plain Dealer, Blade, Akron Beacon Journal, Repository, Dayton Daily News, and Morning Journal urge Ohio senators to vote no.

NPR's All Things Considered reported on the plans to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The project north of Cleveland could be the first offshore wind farm in the nation. Developers now hope to have it in place by 2013.

Democratic lawmakers introduced alternative bills for implementing the Great Lakes Compact in Ohio. The legislation sets lower limits on the amount of water that can be extracted from Lake Erie than the bills introduced last month by Republican legislators. Environmental groups support the lower limits and business groups back the higher limits (PDF). An editorial in Toledo's Blade says that the Republican-backed bills "would threaten surface and ground water affecting Lake Erie."

Meanwhile, an Akron Beacon Journal editorial calls for bipartisan congressional support of full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Update: the Blade published more information about the fast-tracked Republican bill. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourages a bipartisan approach.

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.

Environmental advocates in other Great Lakes states are worried about the proposed Lake Erie water withdrawal limits recently introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. The proposed limits provide less protection than those established by other states.

Update: the proposal is also receiving criticism within Ohio.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the legislation "fails to meet the compact's spirit and letter," and Gary Wilson of the Biodiversity Project cites it as an example of the region's failure to protect the Great Lakes.

Update 3: a Plain Dealer editorial strongly opposes the bills.

Two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would implement the Great Lakes Compact in Ohio. The enabling legislation includes limits on water withdrawals from Lake Erie. Industry groups support the bill, but environmental advocates say that it provides insufficient protection.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the Euclid Creek Tunnel. Construction of the $197 million project, designed to reduce combined sewer overflows, is scheduled to begin this month and continue for four years.

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.

Leaders of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Central Elgin, Ontario soon may begin formal negotiations on the proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry (PDF). Unlike earlier proposals that emphasized trucks, the proposed pilot program would focus on on tourism and recreation.

Update: officials may soon schedule a meeting. Discussions about ferry service between Ashtabula County and Port Burwell, Ontario are moving more slowly. Bill Callahan supplies more context.

Ken Kilbert of the University of Toledo summarized Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie shorelines case recently heard by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The new mayor of Central Elgin, Ontario expressed interest in discussing a proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry. Another group wants to establish ferry service between Port Burwell and Conneaut.

(via GLIN)

This spring, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will begin construction of the Euclid Creek Tunnel, a 18,000-foot-long, 24-foot-diameter sewer tunnel that will be up to 220 feet under Lake Erie. The work is part of the district's Project Clean Lake program.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie property lines case. Tony Yankel of the Ohio Lakefront Group recently urged new Attorney General DeWine to withdraw from the lawsuit.

Update: multiple media outlets reported on the oral arguments. The Ohio Channel has video of the arguments.

In his last official act as governor, Ted Strickland signed a lease option that grants LEEDCo the right to conduct tests and pursue a submerged lands lease within a two-square-mile area of Lake Erie for the planned wind farm pilot project.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources finalized its update of the Coastal Erosion Area maps. They include projections for recession rates over the next 30 years. In addition, ODNR's Office of Coastal Management is accepting applications for two lakefront land acquisition programs, the Great Lakes Areas of Concern Land Acquisition Grant program and the Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

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.

The Ohio Great Lakes Compact Advisory Board issued its final report (PDF, 9.8 MB) on Wednesday. The Ohio General Assembly is expected to consider the report's recommendations in 2011. The Ohio Environmental Council called it (PDF) "a critical first step toward preserving one of Ohio's greatest natural resources."

Local wind turbine initiatives have been highlighted in the media:

Workers have begun removing a Euclid Creek dam at the Cleveland Metroparks' Euclid Creek Reservation in Euclid. Removal of the 6-foot-tall, 40-foot-long concrete dam should be completed by May.

The Ohio Great Lakes Compact Advisory Board published its draft recommendations for implementing (PDF, 17.3 MB) the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house at the Bay Village Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on November 19, and will submit the final recommendations by December 15. The Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club has issues with the recommendations.

Officials in Northeast Ohio and Ontario continue to discuss plans for a Lake Erie ferry. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO William Friedman is interested, as are leaders in Lake County and Ashtabula.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the idea.

Update 2: the London Free Press presents a Canadian perspective.

Both parties in Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie property lines case, have submitted written arguments to the Ohio Supreme Court. Attorney General Cordray filed his brief in July, and the Ohio Lakefront Group submitted theirs earlier this week. Supporters of each side also have filed amicus briefs with the Court. On Thursday, the litigants discussed the case on WCPN's Sound of Ideas program.

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation selected a team of three companies to develop the pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, Cavallo Energy of Houston, and Great Lakes Wind Energy of Youngstown will build and own the five wind turbines in Lake Erie. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2012.

The Ohio EPA approved a permit for mercury discharges from FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Plant in Cleveland. The permit allows the plant to continue discharging mercury-tainted wastewater into Lake Erie. The EPA did not require the company to install equipment and instead ordered it to develop a pollutant minimization plan.

The Natural Resources Defense Council published its 20th annual Testing the Waters report today. The survey of water quality at U.S. beaches ranked Ohio's (PDF) beaches 27th of the 30 states in the survey, an improvement over last year's rank of 29, but still among the nation's worst. Urban runoff and combined sewer overflows contribute to the pollution problems.

Cleveland hosted a national conference on freshwater wind power earlier this week. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. also held its first public meeting, and said that they hope to announce a developer for the Cleveland pilot project within four weeks.

Channel 3 aired part six of its Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface series. It looked at threats to water quality, actions that residents can take, and cleanup efforts.

The conversation on today's Sound of Ideas program was about the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm and for encouraging the local wind turbine industry. The guests were Lorry Wagner of LEEDCo, Rebecca Bagley of NorTech, and George Sterzinger of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, who recently wrote an op-ed in which he described how the federal government could support the initiative.

The Plain Dealer looked at how local government agencies intend to use Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding to reduce bacteria levels at area beaches. Meanwhile, the ODNR Office of Coastal Management awarded $311,835 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could impact the Lake Erie property lines case currently before the Ohio Supreme Court. The high court ruled that a Florida beach restoration program does not violate the rights of waterfront property owners. The Ohio Environmental Law Center considered whether the decision has implications for the Ohio case, while lakefront property owners asserted that the ruling is not relevant.

Update: WKSU's Jeff St.Clair spoke with property law professor Ben Barros about the case.

Biologists with the Ohio EPA have begun running tests to determine the ecological and environmental conditions of Lake Erie's coastal waters. They will survey 26 near-shore locations this summer, and their data will be incorporated into the National Coastal Conditions Assessment.

The final report of the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force identifies sources of phosphorus loading and makes recommendations for management practices designed to reduce nutrient runoff.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial concluded that "the task ahead involves fulfilling the panel's call for further study and following through to ensure the sound stewardship of a most valuable resource."

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation will work with General Electric to build five wind turbines in Lake Erie, about six miles north of downtown Cleveland. The $100 million pilot project would be the first first freshwater wind farm in the U.S. and would have a generating capacity of 20 megawatts. LEEDCo plans to have the turbines, the largest in nation, generating power by the end of 2012. By 2020, they hope to have hundreds in place, generating 1,000 megawatts of power.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers interested in constructing an offshore pilot wind farm near downtown Cleveland. LEEDCo hopes to select a company in May and have the wind turbines operating by late 2012. Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland are backing federal and state legislation that would support research and create tax incentives for wind power.

The Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of Merrill v. Ohio, the Lake Erie property lines case. The date for oral arguments has not been set.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force will count migrating birds and bats around the area of the planned offshore wind farm pilot project north of downtown Cleveland. The group also wants to establish a partnership with a turbine manufacturer.

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

A study released (PDF) by the Municipality of Bayham, Ontario examined the feasibility of ferry service between Bayham and four potential ports on the American side of Lake Erie: Ashtabula, Cleveland, Fairport Harbor, and Erie, Pennsylvania. It concluded that Cleveland and Fairport Harbor were the most promising destinations, but that while "service is feasible, it must be viewed as speculative."

Update: Bayham Council decided to cancel the second phase of the study.

A draft of the Ohio 2010 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report found that water quality of the state's rivers and streams has improved since the last report was completed in 2008. Some of the improvement may be due to a change in methodologies. The report is open for public comment until March 31. Panelists on the most recent NEOtropolis show discussed the importance of watersheds and the Great Lakes Compact.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch has more details.

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

The efforts of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force to build offshore wind turbines expanded beyond Cuyahoga County, as Lorain County joined the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo).

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.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said he intends to join in the appeal of the Lake Erie property lines case to the Ohio Supreme Court. A Plain Dealer editorial strongly supported his choice, and an editorial in Toledo's Blade is even more unequivocal about the decision and need to appeal. An earlier Akron Beacon Journal editorial made similar points.

Update: Cordray filed the appeal, saying that the "ruling by the appeals court undermines the attorney general's authority and duty to represent the people of Ohio."

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.

David Jones of the News Herald summarized the history of the Lake Erie property lines case and considered how it may proceed.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is no longer pursuing a proposed Lake Erie ferry from North Coast Harbor to Port Stanley, Ontario, at least partly due to issues on the Canadian side. However, planning continues for the initiation of ferry service between Lake County and Port Burwell, Ontario. Port Authority officials instead want to proceed with modifications to the Port of Cleveland and the development of cargo container shipping. The Port Authority will apply for federal stimulus funds to establish a containerized shipping line between Cleveland and Montreal.

In addition to upholding the lower court decision, the recent appeals court ruling in the Lake Erie shoreline case also said that the Ohio attorney general had no standing in the case. The Ohio Environmental Council called the decision a "gross misinterpretation of the [Ohio] Revised Code".

University of Toledo professor Ken Kilbert disagrees with the recent shoreline ruling by the Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals, while a lakefront property owner supports the decision.

The Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a 2007 lower court decision, and ruled that private property lines along Lake Erie extend to the water's edge, shifting as the water level changes. The ruling (PDF) pleased property owners and disappointed environmentalists, who are expected to file an appeal.

For the second consecutive year, the Natural Resources Defense Council's annual Testing the Waters report ranked the water quality at Ohio's beaches as the second-worst in the nation. Bacteria levels at the state's Lake Erie beaches exceeded acceptable levels approximately 19% of the time in 2008. There were 783 health advisory days at Ohio beaches last year, up from 657 in 2007.

About 150 people attended the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative stakeholder meeting in Cuyahoga Heights on Monday evening. Agency officials heard feedback about the proposed $475 million restoration program. The EPA is also gathering suggestions online.

Update: Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer summarized the recurring themes of the meeting.

Monday's Plain Dealer included updates on the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Medical Center campus in Buckeye and the plans to restore a portion of Doan Brook in Cleveland.

The fifth Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface special on Channel 3 looked at the ecosystems of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.

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 Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force released the final Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Feasibility Study (PDF, 14.2 MB) on Friday. The report prepared by juwi GmbH of Germany recommends building three to eight wind turbines in Lake Erie about three miles from shore. The demonstration wind farm would cost between $78 million and $93 million. NewEnergyNews describes the report as "a tour de force of the technical, environmental, regulatory and financial issues pertaining to offshore wind development."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the "mix of 'green' industrial innovation with a broad public-private research partnership should set Cleveland apart and make the city a go-to destination for wind-energy manufacturers and innovators." Bill Callahan is decidedly less enthusiastic.

The City of Euclid will proceed with the second phase of planning for the Harbor Town Marina project. Consultants JJR will continue to develop plans and the City will begin applying for federal and state permits.

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.

Northeast Ohio water quality experts continue to suspect that increases in the area's Canada Goose population are contributing to the high bacteria counts at Lake Erie beaches.

Scientists continue to collect data for the proposed demonstration Lake Erie wind farm. They recently positioned a sonar device that will gauge the thickness of ice on the lake and used a LIDAR unit to measure wind shear above the lake. The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force announced the receipt of $672,000 from the Cleveland Foundation and that Steve Dever will take a leave of absence from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to serve as the Task Force's executive director.

The City of Euclid published the Euclid Harbor Preliminary Marina Feasibility Analysis (PDF). The report prepared by JJR, LLC "summarizes the current status of the planning, design and permit application efforts for a new marina in Euclid, Ohio and offers an evaluation of the current design program."

Update: the News Herald reported on the release of the study.

Cuyahoga County leaders are seeking federal stimulus money for the proposed offshore wind turbine demonstration project in Lake Erie. A European wind turbine manufacturer is willing to pay for half of the project, so the County is requesting $28 million to erect the turbines and $17 million for a warehouse that would be used to assemble and ship turbines.

Grants of up to $3 million are available to communities seeking to acquire land for preservation or recreation within Ohio's Lake Erie watershed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will refer up to three projects to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for consideration. The application deadline is February 17.

Update: WKSU shares more details.

Consultants recently released the second part of a study of the planned marina at the proposed Harbor Town development in Euclid, and City officials remain confident that the project will proceed.

This week, the American Wind Energy Association held its national Supply Chain Workshop in Cleveland, and Case Western Reserve University will hold a conference on offshore wind turbine development. The Plain Dealer published an overview of the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm three miles north of Cleveland, WKSU examined the wind turbine industry in Northeast Ohio, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked at offshore turbine proposals from across the region.

Update: Governor Strickland addressed the workshop on Tuesday.

The Ohio 11th District Appeals Court heard oral arguments in the Lake Erie property lines case on Tuesday. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources earlier attempted to have one of the three judges disqualified because of a potential conflict of interest, but was rebuffed by the Ohio Supreme Court. A decision is not expected for several months.

FirstEnergy is seeking a variance that would allow its Lakeshore Power Plant to continue wastewater discharges into Lake Erie with mercury levels in excess of permitted amounts. Company officials say that installing equipment to meet the standards could cost $10 million or more.

The Euclid Beach Fishing Pier Feasibility Study (PDF, 8.9 MB) is now available. It concludes that construction of a new pier is feasible, and estimates that design and construction would cost approximately $4 million.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission released the Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Plan 2008 (PDF) last week. It lays out ten priorities for preserving and restoring the Lake between now and 2014 and says that "we must fundamentally change the manner in which we make land use, energy use and development decisions in the Lake Erie watershed." The first Protection & Restoration Plan was published in 2000.

The first of three reports revealed "no major hurdles" in the feasibility of building a demonstration wind turbine project in Lake Erie. The entire study should be completed by next April. Meanwhile, Case Western Reserve University hired Dianne Anderson as the first executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.

A study conducted for the City of Euclid says that there is enough demand for a marina in the planned Harbor Town development.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold three public meetings in September about proposed changes to the policies regulating development along the Lake Erie coastline. The Cuyahoga County meeting will be held on September 18 at the Don Umerley Civic Center in Rocky River.

The National Resources Defense Council rated the water quality at Ohio's beaches as the second worst in the nation, an improvement over last year's last place ranking. The annual Testing the Waters report placed the beaches (PDF) at Villa Angela State Park and Euclid Beach State Park among the worst ten for exceeding public health standards.

In the fourth and final part of the Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface series of specials, WKYC looked to the future. The show examined lakefront plans, legislative initiatives, economic opportunities, and our drinking water. All four shows are available online.

State and local health officials began summer water quality tests at area beaches this past weekend. Instead of closing the beaches when bacterial levels are high, officials issue no-swim warnings. The Nowcasting system has been expanded to issue advisories for Edgewater as well as for Huntington beach.

Participants at a meeting last month viewed a conceptual design for rebuilding the Euclid Beach Pier at Euclid Beach State Park. URS Corporation is conducting a feasibility study funded by a grant from ODNR's Office of Coastal Management.

The Ohio EPA awarded grants for the lowering of a Chagrin River dam in Chagrin Falls and for the removal of a Euclid Creek dam in the Cleveland Metroparks' Euclid Creek Reservation, as well as other grants in Greater Cleveland.

The U.S. EPA and Environment Canada issued biennial plans for each of the five Great Lakes. The 2008 Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan is available for download.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Kelly Ferjutz profiles Ed Hauser and imagines how Cleveland's lakefront might appear in 2020.

In the third and final article in its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer examined ways that the Cleveland area could utilize its wealth of water for economic advantage, and noted the recent Global Water Ventures of Cleveland feasibility study.

Meanwhile, a pair of newspaper editorials weighed in on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Morning Journal says that "best thing [State Senator Time Grendell] can do for Ohio is drop his objections entirely and help get the Great Lakes pact approved as soon as possible." The Plain Dealer called Grendell's proposal for a constitutional amendment "a laughable idea designed to prevent or slow passage of the water deal."

A board committee of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recommended reopening the Dike 12 confined disposal facility located northeast of Burke Lakefront Airport. The facility has not accepted new dredge material since it was closed in the mid-1970s, but settling of the fill has created more space.

In the second part of its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer looks at the legislative debate surrounding the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and adds an infographic and a FAQ on the Compact.

Toledo's Blade includes a look at John Austin's suggestions for improving the Great Lakes economy, and a column by Tom Henry that says that Lee Fisher "should have known better" than to suggest that Ohio might "sell Great Lakes water to thirsty parts of the country".

(via Great Lakes Blogger and Economic News from Ohio's Regions)

At a Lake Erie development summit in Toledo, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher mentioned the possibility of selling Great Lakes water, but quickly retracted the statement. At the same event, John Austin of the Brookings Institution spoke about the new Vital Connection report. A Morning Journal editorial says that "the main impressions left by the conference are that communities throughout this region must work in unison to the benefit of the entire Great Lakes area".

An editorial in the Plain Dealer says that the Republicans in the Ohio Senate who have been blocking approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact "should find the uproar over Fisher's comments instructive". The Plain Dealer also prepared a presentation that summarizes the Compact.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved names for five tributaries of Euclid Creek yesterday: Claribel Creek, Redstone Run, Stevenson Brook, Verbsky Creek, and the East Branch of Euclid Creek.

Last week, Euclid City Council passed a resolution calling for public funding of a Lake Erie breakwall. Mayor Cervenik objected to the resolution, calling it "very disturbing."

Two Euclid councilmen introduced a resolution that calls for municipal funding for a proposed breakwall. The breakwall is viewed as essential to the construction of a marina and related lakefront development.

The City of Richmond Heights will purchase from Cuyahoga County 13 acres along the East Branch of Euclid Creek as part of the City's environmental protection strategy that also included the naming of tributaries of Euclid Creek.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Sarah Taylor relates how plans to develop an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland have prompted Canadian officials to renew their interest in building a Great Lakes wind farm.

On Saturday, Channel 3 aired part three of Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface, which tells the environmental story of the lake. Parts one and two are also available online. In addition, the station shared a 1964 report on Lake Erie pollution.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission will hold a free half-day workshop on best local land-use practices on March 12 in Valley View.

A lack of ice on Lake Erie has extended the shipping season. The warmer waters have been attributed to global warming, which has also been linked to lower water levels.

Yesterday, Green Energy Ohio released A Wind Resource Assessment for Near-Shore Lake Erie (PDF, 9.8 MB), the results of a two year study of the winds over Lake Erie. In 2005, a wind monitoring system was installed at Cleveland's water intake crib, 3½ miles off the shore of downtown Cleveland. The analysis found an average wind speed of 16.4 mph, the strongest ever measured in Ohio. Cuyahoga County Economic Development Director Paul Oyaski says the report "lays the foundation" for the upcoming 13-month wind turbine feasibility study.

A group of port authority and municipal officials met in Mentor to discuss the proposed Cleveland to Port Stanley ferry and the proposed Fairport Harbor to Port Burwell ferry. A working group will assess possible collaborations on several issues.

(via Brewed Fresh Daily)

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a contract yesterday with a subsidiary of Juwi International to study the feasibility of offshore Lake Erie wind turbines. It will include research on a possible Cleveland-based wind turbine certification body.

Ohio Attorney General Dann, the Ohio Environmental Council, and the National Wildlife Federation are all appealing Lake County Common Pleas Judge Lucci's decision in the Lake Erie property lines case. They say that the "ruling goes against more than 100 years of Ohio legal precedent".

Update: the Blade and WCPN have more details.

This morning, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unanimously designated a site in Lake Erie north of East 55th Street as the port's future home. Creation of the proposed 200 acre peninsula cannot proceed without approval from the City of Cleveland. Neighbors of the proposed site were not pleased by the announcement.

Bay Village City Council delayed voting on a riparian protection ordinance until March. The proposed legislation covers properties located within 75 feet of a creek or those within the 100 year flood plain, whichever is larger.

Editorials in the Blade and the Plain Dealer are critical of Judge Eugene Lucci's decision in the Lake Erie property lines case. The Plain Dealer says that it was "a faulty ruling" that "essentially transfers the public trust in managing Lake Erie's shore", while the Blade says the decision "gives unwarranted life to the elitist claim of lakefront property owners that they can prohibit what an age-old line of legal reasoning has established - the right to walk along Great Lakes shores in front of private homes."

(via Great Lakes Blogger)

Update: an editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal agrees with the other papers, saying that the ruling lacked the "necessary legal precedent."

Plans for a ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario remain on the drawing board, despite several years of planning and nearly $1 million spent. Officials with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority attribute the slow progress to complications on the Canadian side.

A Lake County Common Pleas judge ruled yesterday (PDF) that lakefront property along Lake Erie extends to the water's edge, a partial victory for a lakefront landowners group. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources had argued that property rights ended at the lake's historic high water mark, while the landowners argued that their rights extended to the historic low water mark, now about a foot underwater.

The Bay Park Beach Association wants to build a 775 foot stone revetment and a timber pier off the Lake Erie coast of Bay Village. The Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting on November 14 to obtain public input on potential water quality impacts.

The City of Richmond Heights submitted names for five Euclid Creek tributaries to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. A decision is expected in several months.

Canadian officials budgeted $315,000 to study the proposed Lake Erie ferry that would link the Mentor Headlands Beach State Park area to Port Burwell, Ontario.

Researchers are trying to identify the sources of high bacteria counts at Greater Cleveland beaches. Some suspect that droppings from Canada geese may be part of the problem.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners yesterday selected a team led by Juwi International of Germany to conduct a feasibility study for the Lake Erie Wind Energy Center, the proposed 20 megawatt offshore wind turbine demonstration project. The Commissioners also approved an agreement that authorizes CWRU to operate the research center.

The contentious Doan Brook restoration project has been scaled back because of higher than expected costs. The most recent proposal calls for restoring two sections covering one mile of the brook through Cleveland.

Case Western Reserve University offered to lead research on the proposed Lake Erie Wind Energy Center and to pay $200,000 towards the $800,000 feasibility study. The Lake Erie Wind Energy Task Force has identified three teams as finalists to conduct the study.

On Friday, Governor Strickland reversed state policy and announced that he will have the Ohio Department of Natural Resources institute a new policy which specifies that property lines extend to Lake Erie's low water mark, instead of the previously recognized high water mark. Property owners will still need to seek ODNR approval before building breakwalls, docks, or other structures. Attorney General Dann says that the new policy does not align with current Ohio laws, and will continue to defend the state against a lawsuit brought by a group of lakefront property owners.

(Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "The governor's 'compromise' would be less dismaying if he had included in his announcement a reaffirmation of the right of public access to the shoreline.")

On Saturday, Channel 3 aired the local special Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface, part of a year-long effort to "showcase our region's most vital natural resource". The program is available online.

Governor Strickland says he will direct the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to develop a new coastal management policy. The revised policy will be friendlier to lakefront landowners who want property lines shifted from the high water mark to the low water mark.

The State Role in Guiding Land Use Change in the Ohio Lake Erie Basin, a new report, identified "which land planning and management policies and mechanisms have been used to effectively shape land development processes to achieve a more sustainable or balanced outcome, and what policy and program changes and incentives would likely prove most effective in changing land development and conservation patterns".

Bill Callahan shares updates from the Port Stanley News on the status of the planned Cleveland to Ontario Lake Erie ferry.

A new report from Environment Ohio says that over 10 billion gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into Lake Erie due to Ohio combined sewer overflows in 2005. Almost half of the total amount came from CSOs in Greater Cleveland. A bill introduced in the Ohio House yesterday would establish notification requirements for overflows.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources was awarded $1.014 million by NOAA for the purchase of two properties in Bratenahl totaling 19.5 acres. The Lake Erie Coastal and Riparian Forest Preserve, a partnership between the Village of Bratenahl and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, will include mature forest, a riparian corridor, and the 100-year floodplain of Dugway Creek. Acquisition of the land will cost $2.2 million.

(Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.)

The second edition of the Ohio Coastal Atlas is now available online. Prepared by the ODNR Office of Coastal Management, it's intended to provide decision makers in northern Ohio with a complete picture of Ohio's coastal resources. The 2005 first edition is also online.

Officials from Lakewood and Rocky River are discussing alternatives for improving water quality by reducing combined sewer overflows. Prices for the options range between $1.3 million and $3.1 million.

The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed reopening Dike 12 near Burke Lakefront Airport as a confined disposal facility for Cuyahoga River dredge material. They mistakenly included Dike 14 in their application, upsetting supporters of a nature preserve there, but the Corps reassured them that Dike 14 is "off the table." A public meeting will be held on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Carnegie West Branch of the Cleveland Public Library.

As expected, the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force officially proposed the Lake Erie Wind Energy Center, which would feature a demonstration project of up to ten wind turbines in Lake Erie as well as a research center. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners and the Cleveland Foundation pledged to help fund a study that will examine the project's feasibility and lay out a strategy for moving forward. The Task Force hopes to complete a global search for a project manager within six months.

Global warming could cause Northeast Ohio temperatures to rise 3-4° F over the next century. Evaporation caused by the higher temperatures may cause Lake Erie water levels to drop by a much as three feet in the next 100 years.

(Update: The Muskegon Chronicle has more information on how global warming could affect the Great Lakes.)

An Ohio Department of Natural Resources biologist raised objections to the proposed Lake Erie wind turbines, citing concerns about their impacts on migratory birds. The Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force is reviewing research on the environmental effects of the turbines.

(Update: WKSU has more details.)

Next month, the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force will recommend the construction of a Lake Erie wind turbine demonstration project. It would consist of four to ten turbines located at least three miles offshore. In an Akron Beacon Journal op-ed, Amy Gomberg of Environment Ohio urges Ohio leaders to pursue wind power initiatives.

(Update: Channel 3 posted a video interview with Task Force Chair Bill Mason.)

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