Cuyahoga River Towpath Trail Extension


Location: Cleveland, OH

The Cuyahoga Area of Concern (AOC) is located within the armored and dredged Ship Channel in the lower 5.5 miles of the Cuyahoga River, which connects Lake Erie and the upstream natural river. The Ship Channel had become a source of impairment to the Cuyahoga River because of its dredged depth, slow flow, armored shoreline, and absence of a functional riparian edge. It therefore proved a difficult environment for fish migrating through this section on their way to and from Lake Erie to up-stream spawning beds. 

The Cuyahoga AOC Restoration project provided 3,000 linear feet of new fish habitat and transformed two adjoining properties that had historically served local industry as a rail yard and coal storage area into a restored native habitat. Following completion, the Towpath Trail was constructed through the site, adding visitor amenities and educational exhibits. Michael Baker International provided habitat restoration services and preliminary, intermediate, and final design for a 0.8-mile portion of the Towpath Trail. Habitat restoration activities included development of alignments, evaluation of drainage impacts, and preparation of best management practices (BMP). 

Michael Baker also provided a Phase II environmental site assessment, a remediation work plan, and an asbestos and hazardous materials investigation to address areas where soil and/or groundwater contamination would interfere with or affect the proposed restoration. A remedial action plan and soil management plan were recommended, based on Ohio Voluntary Action Program criteria. The plan included disposal of 5,000 cubic yards of soil dredged from the river in a confined disposal facility; hotspot removal and disposal offsite of 7,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils; reuse of remaining excavated soils on site; and addition of 1 foot of clean cover on remaining exposed areas of the site.

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