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Cuyahoga Restoration (OH)

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An application for a new hydroelectric license has been filed with FERC (Docket No. P-12484) by Advanced Hydro Solutions for an electric generating project that includes the construction of a new powerhouse and penstock on MetroParks property.

This licensing application is in direct opposition to the goals/efforts of Ohio EPA, MetroParks Serving Summit County, Friends of the Crooked River, local paddling groups and many others. The Cuyahoga River has been the butt of many jokes over the years (catching on fire, etc.), but this dam issue is no joke. If this license is approved then the numerous projects totaling tens of millions of dollars over the last 20 years to improve water quality in this watershed will be for not. In addition, the proposed future projects for reducing combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharges into the gorge and watershed will escalate in cost. But most importantly, any chance for removal of the Ohio Edison dam will be lost and the paddling community will miss an opportunity to open up 2 miles of 100 fpm whitewater in an urban surrounding.

This section of the Cuyahoga River starts at the base of the Ohio Edison Dam and extends ~1 mile to the Cascade Valley Park making up the lower gorge. The upper gorge actually begins at the Class IV-V Sheraton section and continues below the dam pool created by the Ohio Edison Dam which has submerged many drops/rapids.

The Ohio Edison dam is a 60-foot monstrosity which, since the early 20th century, has formed a pool and flooded the rapids that Cuyahoga Falls, OH was named for. The dam has had no power-generating raison d'etre for almost 30 years; yet, it remains as a hideous example of man's inhumanity to nature. Unfortunately, a new license is being evaluated, so you can either wait…and hope for a breaching flood, or get in your boat and paddle this gem. Paddlers can help out by using this section of the gorge to raise public awareness for our sport and participate in the upcoming recreational use study. This recreational use study is required as part of the licensing process and will focus on data from the proposed 800’ dewatered area from the dam to below Butterfly Rock. Check back here for details, but in the meantime log your trip information for future reference.

Update: This project encountered many legal problems and was abandoned ca. 2007. This is great news for the river! As of 2012, more great improvements to the river are in the works. Two dams in Cuyahoga Falls are scheduled for removal in 2013; and the Brecksville Dam (a true symmetrical Drowning Machine) will be removed within a few years. There is movement afoot to remove the Ohio Edison Dam, also; the best current estimate is that it will come down by 2020.

In addition, the City of Akron has entered a Consent Decree to fix its system of CSOs. this multi-million-dollar project has begun and is expected to be completed in 2028. That sounds like a long time–it is!–but fixing a hundred-year-old infrastructure doesn't happen overnight. The Cuyahoga River will be cleaner, and Akron's stormwater/sewer system will be a model for other municipalities across the nation.

Things are looking up for the Crooked River!

The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.

Title Name City
Thomas O'Keefe Seattle WA Details...
Kevin Colburn Asheville NC Details...
David Hill Cuyahoga Falls OH Details...
Matt Muir Fairport NY Details...

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