Happy Rebirthday Cuyahoga River!

You’ll be forgiven if today’s June 22 anniversary of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire has snuck up on you. Last year’s 50th anniversary was a tsunami of events culminating in the City of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga50 celebration. This year? Well, it’s just another day on the river!

The Cuyahoga River continues to get healthier as projects like the Brecksville Dam removal return the river to its natural state. This project removes one of the last remaining impediments to fish being able to migrate completely up the river.

Another Cuyahoga River infrastructure project that had a major impact on the vitality of the river was the Scranton Flats portion of the Towpath Trail extension project, where a former steel-jacketed section of the river was converted into a fish-friendly naturalized riverbank. The project delivered on a number of fronts including:

  • Restoring 2,800 feet of natural shoreline
  • Creating a major fish habitat – transforming a boat marina site into two-acre habitat that has fostered juvenile walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and greenside darter.
  • Providing the first publicly built 2/3 mile section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cleveland
  • Remediating and restoring nine acres of upland into meadowland
  • Positioned the Cuyahoga River fish habitat as a national model for urban shipping lanes
  • Fueled momentum for completion of the Towpath Trail in Cleveland and the development of Canal Basin Park -a signature destination for Cleveland, NEO and the National Heritage Area

This section now provides a place for migratory fish to rest and feed as they make their way from Lake Erie to the upper reaches of the Cuyahoga River.

For evidence of the positive impact the Scranton Flats riverbank restoration project has had, all you have to do it walk up to the edge of the river!