New Hydro Project for Cuyahoga (OH)
The Cuyahoga River played a pivotal role in the birth of the nation's river conservation movement. The river experienced several fires throughout the 20th century that were fueled by industrial pollution, but it was the 1969 fire that focused national attention on the problems of water pollution affecting our rivers. Groundbreaking legislation soon followed including the Clean Water Act. For its role in the environmental movement, the Cuyahoga River was designated an American National Heritage River in 1998.
The good news is that the Cuyahoga has come a long way over the past 35 years and although much work remains, progress has been made towards meeting the objectives of the Clean Water Act to make the river "fishable and swimmable". In this time, paddlers have discovered some fun whitewater on the river and talk always turns to what might lie below the waters of the reservoir held back by the Ohio Edison Gorge Dam which has kept potential class IV rapids buried since 1912.
New Hydro Proposed: Action Needed!
Despite the positive gains that have been realized, a new hydropower project (FERC 12484) at the Ohio Edison Gorge Dam has been proposed by Metro Hydroelectric Company. This 2.4 MW project (an extremely small project that that would only serve a couple thousand homes) would delay for another 50 years the opportunity that currently exists to restore this river by removing the dam. This dam removal alternative would expose a recreational and aesthetic resource that would be unique to the region and if you want to have a shot at it in your lifetime the time for action is now!
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be coming to Cuyahoga Falls to hear from the public at a scheduled scoping meeting. This is your chance to speak up and make your concerns heard and make the case for the future potential of a restored river to have signicant recreation, economic, and aesthetic benefits that are important to the community. Active participation from the local boating community is important if we want any chance of killing this project before it grows legs.
There will be a couple opportunities for meetings this week. A strong turnout from the paddling community is critical.